Flexibility,  Yoga Poses

10 Hip Opening Yoga Poses

Hip opening yoga poses can be physically and emotionally beneficial.

They are able to strengthen the hips, loosen the muscles and joints surrounding the hips, improve posture, and maintain proper alignment in the hips and spine.

They are emotionally beneficial because they are also known to reduce stress, anxiety, and insomnia.

Every year, hundreds of thousands of people require hip replacements. By building strength and flexibility in the hips, we can prevent the need for hip replacements and keep our hips healthy for life!

Here we’ll explore 10 hip opening yoga poses to keep those hips strong and flexible!

Who can benefit from these poses?

  • Those who suffer from hip pain
  • People who need to improve their posture
  • Beginners looking to strengthen the pelvis and hips
  • Those with anxiety, stress, or insomnia
  • Anyone looking to gain flexibility and range of motion in the hip flexors

Through regular practice, these poses can build strength, and flexibility in the hips.

Especially with the hips, remember to listen to your body’s internal voice and don’t push yourself too far. A stretch is good, but pain is not!

Hold each pose for 3 – 5 long breaths each.

Ok, let’s stretch those hips!

#1 Butterfly Pose

Butterfly pose at the gym against a white wall.

A great way to stretch the hamstrings and the inner thighs, butterfly works to loosen all of the muscles surrounding the hips!

  • Starting seated, bring the bottoms of your feet together and as close to your torso as is comfortable
  • Straighten your spine and pull your shoulders away from your ears,  making your neck long
  • Relax your knees toward the ground with each breath
  • For more of a stretch, fold forward over your feet

#2 Pigeon Pose

Pigeon pose at the gym against a white wall.

Pigeon is the perfect stretch for the hamstrings, inner thighs, and the sciatic. While it loosens the hip flexors, it increases the flexibility and range of motion in the hips.

  • Start on hands and knees
  • Bring one leg forward, place the knee directly in front of the hip
  • Place your calf parallel with the front of your mat
  • Rest hips to the floor and stretch the back leg out long behind you
  • Plant fingertips on the mat in front of your leg. Stretch into a gentle backbend
  • Repeat with the other leg

#3 Frog Pose

Frog pose at the gym against a white wall.

Frog pose is an intense hip opener, but luckily it can be modified wherever you feel the stretch. Feel free to use blocks or books under the forearms to support yourself if the stretch is too intense at first.

  • Begin on hands and knees in tabletop
  • Slide knees outward until you feel a stretch in the hips and inner thighs
  • Slide the hands out in front and plant into the palms
  • Flex the feet and spread them wider than the knees
  • Relax the hips back toward the floor
  • Engage the core

#4 Low lunge

Low lunge against a white wall.

Low lunge is great way to open the hips, thighs, and groin. It can be very beneficial for anybody who sits frequently and needs to loosen the hips.

  • Start by standing
  • Step one foot forward into a wide stance, keeping the knee directly above the ankle
  • Lower your back leg to plant the knee on the ground with toes pointing straight back
  • Raise your arms to the sky
  • Sink the hips forward and toward the floor to deepen the stretch in the hamstrings
  • Look straight forward to keep the spine in line
  • Repeat on the other side

#5 Cow Face Pose

Cow face pose is a good pose for stretching the hips and hamstrings as well as opening the chest.

It also works to strengthen the knees and prevent future knee problems!

  • Start by sitting with legs crossed
  • Adjust the top leg until the knee is stacked on top of the other
  • Wiggle your feet up as close to your hips as possible
  • Reach one arm up and over the shoulder as the other arm reaches up behind to meet fingertips
  • Lengthen the spine and look straight forward in order to keep the neck in line
  • Repeat with the other leg on top

#6 Double Pigeon Pose

Double pigeon pose against a white wall.

Like pigeon pose, double pigeon is a lovely stretch to loosen the hips and stretch the inner thighs and groin.

If this is too much of a stretch, rest your top knee on a block or a book to make it less intense.

  • Begin by sitting with legs loosely crossed
  • Place one the on top of the other, stacking knee on top of foot, and foot on top of knee
  • Stack shin bones on top of one another
  • Lengthen the spine and sit up tall
  • Place fingertips on the ground in front of you and lean forward until you feel a nice stretch in the hips
  • Repeat with the other leg on top

#7 Rock the Baby

Rock the baby pose against a white wall.

A relaxing hip stretch, rock the baby allows you to pull your leg to the point where you feel a nice pull in the hamstring and hip, creating a variation for all levels!

  • Start by sitting with legs loosely crossed
  • Lift one leg and cradle the calf with your forearms
  • Pull the leg closer to your chest until you feel a nice stretch in the hip
  • Straighten the spine and sit tall
  • Repeat with the other leg

#8 Happy Baby Pose

Happy baby pose against a white wall.

Happy baby is a wonderful hip opener that any yogi should keep in their toolbelt of poses. When your hips need a nice calming stretch, happy baby is perfect!

It is also very effective for relieving pressure on the lower back and helps to relieve fatigue and anxiety.

  • Begin by laying on your back
  • Lift the legs straight into the air toward the sky
  • Bend the knees to a right angle and pull the knees toward the chest
  • Splay the knees to either side of the torso
  • Reach up on the outside of the feet and grab the arch of the foot
  • Relax into the stretch, allow the knees to sink closer to the ground with each breath

#9 Triangle Pose

Triangle pose against a white wall.

Your body will thank you for doing triangle pose!

It strengthens and stretches the hip flexors, loosens the hamstrings and leg muscles, and also works wonders for the digestive system because it is a spinal twist!

  • Start by standing
  • Step one foot forward into a wide stance with toes pointing forward
  • Turn the back foot to be parallel with the back of your mat
  • Bending from the hips, reach for your front ankle
  • Reach toward the sky with the top arm and look up toward your fingertips
  • Rotate your chest to open toward the wall
  • Repeat on the other side

#10 Head to Knee

Head to knee is the perfect stretch for loosening the hips, sciatic, and hamstrings! It also aligns the spine and improves digestion by massaging the internal organs.

  • Start by sitting with legs straight out in front of you
  • Bend one leg and plant the foot against the outstretched thigh
  • Square your hips directly over the extended leg
  • Reach up to the sky
  • Bending from the hips, reach toward the foot of your outstretched leg
  • Relax the head toward your leg, resting a little bit deeper toward the toes with each breath
  • Repeat on the other side

Woo! Are your hips feeling nice and stretched?

When practiced regularly, these poses can help to improve the flexibility, strength, and range of motion in the hips.

What do I need before I get started?

You don’t need anything in order to start practicing yoga except for your own motivation!

However, having some of these things can be helpful, and can make us feel more motivated and confident in our practice!

Here are some of my favorites! :

I hope you’ve enjoyed this series of hip opening yoga poses!

Which one of these poses is your favorite? How has your practice changed after incorporating these poses? Inspire others by commenting below!

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