Yoga Poses for Hip Pain
Last Updated On July 20, 2021
Last Updated On July 20, 2021
A vast majority of us spend a good portion of our days in a seated position. Whether we’re commuting, sitting at our desks, eating meals, or bingeing Netflix, we’re in a seat. The problem is, spending so much of our time seated isn’t great for you and can cause hip pain, sciatica pain, and some serious discomfort.
Sitting too much means that our hips are in flexion for really long periods of time. That’s a fancy way of saying that the muscles around our hips are shortening more often than they naturally should and that shortening can cause 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.
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!
The age-old health practice of yoga can help relieve hip pain, doctors say, because it can help 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 flexibility of the joint 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."
Yoga for Hip Pain Can Help
Besides using yoga for hip pain, this ancient mind-body therapy can help improve an overall sense of well-being, lung capacity, and body composition. Yoga for hip pain helps 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 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 the therapy that focus on postures and breathing.
1. Hatha yoga
This is one of the most popular forms of yoga in the United States, and the type most associated with yoga for hip pain. People participating in Hatha yoga slowly perform a series of gentle stretches, flowing calmly and effortlessly between each pose. As participants perform yoga for hip pain, they breathe slowly and deeply, an act of meditation that relieves stress and can help alleviate 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.
Doctors do not recommend the more strenuous forms of yoga that focus on strength training over meditation and gentle stretching. Ashtanga yoga, or power yoga, is one such form, providing a physically intense workout in which the person constantly changes positions. Iyengar yoga focuses on holding positions for long periods of time, an activity that might not be good for your 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.
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.
3. Mountain Pose with Leg Lifts | 5 breaths per side
Mountain pose with leg lifts helps strengthen your hip flexors and improve balance.
Reclined Yoga Stretches for Hip Pain
4. Fire Hydrants | 6 breaths per side
The fire hydrant pose helps increase your range of motion in the hip joints.
5. Boat Pose | 3 – 5 breaths
Boat pose is a great pose to build core strength while also strengthening the hip flexors.
6. Seated Twist | 5 – 10 breaths per side
This yoga pose is a great stretch for the hips and spine.
Bridge pose stretches (and lengthens) the hip flexors, strengthens the legs, and extends the spine.
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.
9. Reclined Cobbler’s Pose | 10 breaths
This is a nice and relaxing stretch for the hips and the groin area.