Yoga Poses for Hip Pain

Last Updated On July 18, 2021

A vast majority of us spend a good portion of our days in a seated position. We're in a seat whether we're commuting, sitting at our desks, eating meals, or binge-watching Netflix. The problem is that sitting for so long is bad for your health and can cause hip pain, sciatica pain, and other serious discomfort.

Sitting for extended periods of time causes our hips to be in flexion. That's a fancy way of saying that the muscles around our hips are shortening more frequently than they should, which can lead to tight hips.

Hip pain can range from mild to intense and lucky for you, yoga stretching is some of the best ways to relieve hip pain quickly and safely. 

Yoga Poses for Hip Pain

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Common Causes of Hip Pain

Tight hips can be a problem that develops just by doing everyday things like carrying a heavy bag on one side, sitting or standing for long periods, or doing any physical activity with poor form.

When all of those factors tighten the hip muscles, it can cause hip pain that can manifest in a lot of different ways. Sometimes tight hips can also cause poor posture and lower back pain.

Whether you experience simple inflexibility, pinching feelings, or something more (like tendonitis or arthritis), the beginner yoga sequence below can help bring some hip pain relief!

Yoga, an age-old health practice, can help relieve hip pain, according to doctors, because it can strengthen and stretch muscles that are important in supporting aching joints.

"Some of my patients enjoy yoga as a healthy exercise," says Steven Morgan, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at Denver Health Medical Center and a spokesperson for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. "It has to do with maintaining the flexibility of the joints and strengthening the muscles around the joint. The literature also says the meditation and biofeedback contained in yoga are excellent ways to manage pain for some patients."

hip pain yoga

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Yoga for Hip Pain Can Help

Aside from helping with hip pain, yoga is an ancient mind-body therapy that can help with overall well-being, lung capacity, and body composition. Yoga for hip pain is beneficial because it:

Supports the joints. The fine movements and exacting poses required by yoga for hip pain help strengthen the small muscles used to move and stabilize your hip joint. The better supported the joint is, the less stress is placed on it by your own body weight — and the better it feels.

Stretches the muscles. Flexibility can give you a greater range of motion, making your hip joint more usable and free of pain. Yoga for hip pain is one of the best stretches exercises around.

Opens up the joints. Chronic hip pain can lessen the range of motion, restricting the hip joint and placing more weight on a smaller portion of the joint. Yoga for hip pain opens up the hip joint, spreading the load across a greater surface area as your body's natural range of motion is restored.

Types of Yoga for Hip Pain

Experts recommend that people using yoga for hip pain perform more gentle forms of therapy that focus on postures and breathing.

1. Hatha yoga

This is one of the most popular types of yoga in the United States, and it is the type most associated with hip pain relief. Hatha yoga practitioners move slowly through a series of gentle stretches, flowing calmly and effortlessly between each pose. Participants in yoga for hip pain breathe slowly and deeply, which is a form of meditation that relieves stress and can help with chronic strain.

2. Bikram yoga

Also known as hot yoga, Bikram yoga can help with hip pain. A series of postures are practiced in a room heated to about 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The heat helps warm muscles, ligaments, and tendons, allowing them to stretch more easily.

The more strenuous forms of yoga that emphasize strength training over meditation and gentle stretching are not recommended by doctors. Ashtanga yoga, also known as power yoga, is one such form that provides a physically demanding workout in which the practitioner constantly changes positions. Iyengar yoga focuses on holding positions for long periods of time, which may be harmful to your hip pain.

types of yoga for hip pain

Yoga Poses for Hip Pain

All of the yoga poses provided below are great for beginners and should be fairly simple to perform.

Standing Yoga Poses for Hip Pain

1. Mountain Pose with Block | 5 breaths

Mountain pose helps build balance and reminds you to engage your core. It is a very effective yoga pose to start your practice with because it is beginner-friendly and allows for complete breath and centering.

  1.  Place a block between your thighs and squeeze it.
  2.  As you press your thighs into the block, also use them to press the block slightly back (try not to move your legs or hips).
  3.  Take deep breaths and try to relax the mind

2. Mountain Pose with Step Downs | 5 Breaths per side

Mountain pose helps strengthen your gluteus medius, which helps stabilize your pelvis. It is an approachable and relaxing pose for most.

  1. This time, place a block on the ground.
  2.  Put your left foot on top of it and your right foot on the ground.
  3.  Focus on keeping that neutral alignment of your pelvis here as you add in some simple movement.
  4.  Firm your left outer hip (your gluteus medius) and slowly lift your right foot to the height of your left.
  5.  While keeping the neutral pelvis and engaged outer hip, slowly step your right foot back down.
  6.  Repeat 4 times (5 total) then switch sides.

3. Mountain Pose with Leg Lifts | 5 breaths per side

Mountain poses with leg lifts help strengthen your hip flexors and improve balance.

  1.    Put your block off to the side and stand in Mountain Pose.
  2.    Shift your weight onto your left leg while firming your left outer hip, just like the last exercise.
  3.    Slowly raise your right leg until your knee is directly out from your hip and your ankle is directly beneath your knee (a 90-degree angle).
  4.    Hold for a full deep breath, then exhale. Repeat 4 times more (5 times total), then switch sides.

standing yoga poses for hip pain

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Reclined Yoga Stretches for Hip Pain

4. Fire Hydrants | 6 breaths per side

The fire hydrant pose helps to increase hip joint range of motion.

  1.    Come to a table pose.
  2.    Lift your right knee off the ground while keeping your knee bent, and begin to make small circles from your right hip.
  3.    Gradually progress from smaller to larger circles before switching directions.
  4.    After 6 deep breaths, switch sides.

5. Boat Pose | 3 – 5 breaths

The boat pose is a great pose to build core strength while also strengthening the hip flexors.

  1.    Come to a seat with your feet flat on the ground, and your knees pointed up.
  2.    Sit tall so your spine is long, and then extend your fingertips forward.
  3.    To go deeper, keep your knees where they are as you float your feet off the ground.
  4.    Eventually, you’ll be able to bring your legs to a 90-degree angle.
  5.    You can also go straight there and place your hands on the backs of your thighs for extra support.

6. Seated Twist | 5 – 10 breaths per side

This yoga pose is excellent for stretching the hips and spine.

  1.    From a seated position with your legs out long in front of you, place your right foot on the ground outside of your left leg.
  2.    Bring your right hand to the ground behind your back, and use it to help keep your back upright, lengthening your spine.
  3.    Then, as you twist your torso to the right, hug your right knee with your left forearm.
  4.    The head/gaze can also move over the right shoulder to take the twist into the upper spine.
  5.    If you want to go deeper, hook your left elbow outside of your right knee.
  6.    For tight hips, you can modify by sitting on the edge of a blanket. Hold for 5-10 breaths then switch sides.

7. Bridge Pose | 5 – 8 breaths

Bridge pose stretches (and lengthens) the hip flexors while also strengthening the legs and extending the spine.

  1.    Start on your back with a block nearby.
  2.    Make sure your feet are underneath your knees then put the block between your thighs.
  3.    With your arms long beside your body, palms facing down, start to squeeze into the block.
  4.    Continue to squeeze the block as you lift your hips off the ground, coming into the bridge pose.
  5.    Hold the pose for 5 to 8 breaths then slowly release down and rest.

8. Reclined Figure Four | 5 – 10 breaths per side

This pose stretches the piriformis, glutes, and lower back, and relieves tension in the muscles surrounding the lower back.

  1.    Start on your back the same way that you did for the bridge pose.
  2.    This time, put your right ankle on top of your left knee, making sure the foot completely clears the knee.
  3.    Flex your right foot and gently press your right thigh away from you.
  4.    If that feels ok and you want to go deeper, thread your right hand through the center of your legs and bring your left hand to meet it on     the back of your left thigh.
  5.    Then, raise your left leg to a 90-degree angle and draw a figure four shape toward your chest.
  6.    Hold for 5-10 breaths then gently release and switch sides.

9. Reclined Cobbler’s Pose | 10 breaths

This is a nice and relaxing stretch for the hips and the groin area.

  1.    Lie on your back.
  2.    Bring the soles of your feet together and let your knees open out to the sides.
  3.    Place a block under each knee for support if your hips are tight.
  4.    Hold for at least 10 breaths before gently bringing the knees back together.

reclined yoga stretches for hip pain

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