yoga for tight hip flexors

5 Yoga Stretches For Tight Hip Flexors

“When we push for immediate results and instant healing, we never inhabit the important in-between phase, which is where much of the learning and growth actually happen.” ― Bo Forbes, Yoga for Emotional Balance

OK — we’ve all been there. So determined to recover that we ironically neglect giving the body the rest it needs to heal and try to force a quicker bounceback by testing our limits.

I remember in one high school English class a poster on the wall that said, “If you don’t have time to do it right, you must have time to do it again.” Ha! Isn’t that true? We know when we rush through our work, whether it’s writing an essay or solving equations, we’re bound to make mistakes or produce less than quality work.

In the end, we have to go back and correct our errors or completely start over and we haven’t saved ourselves any time at all. The same theory applies to how we heal. Wouldn’t you agree?

Something else I read once said something like, nature’s wisdom is her patience; she doesn’t hurry and still everything is accomplished. We have to take a lesson here and adopt this practice of patience. We have to respect the *process* of healing.

The process is where we learn the lessons. The “problem” is a gift because it offers us lessons. Honor your process and your healing. Create space for the process to unfold. Create space to allow yourself to see what lessons you need. Practice gratitude by thanking your body and your circumstances for giving you the opportunity to know yourself more deeply and for the lessons that will improve your future circumstances. Honor this process! Practice with love.

childs pose vector







 5 Stretches For Sore Hips

Before we jump into our stretches for sore hips, please be sure that you’ve warmed up the body and have your blood circulating nicely. Often times soreness and inflammation are occurring because of a lack of oxygen flowing, so get it flowing by taking a few sun salutations or maybe doing a little dance before getting started.

These postures are great for a restorative yin practice, so if you decide to hold these postures for an extended time, please be sure the muscles are quite warm and practice in a warm space. We’re here today to relieve soreness, not create more, so practice with loving awareness!

Stretches For Sore Hips Infographic

stretches for sore hips

Instructional Stretches For Sore Hips

Low Lunge Pose - Anjaneyasana

The first posture I’ll recommend is a simple Low Lunge Pose, also called “Runner’s Lunge”. This posture is great for opening the front of the hips and finding more range of motion in the hip joints. It can be modified for any level of flexibility. By extending the back foot further away from the body you can deepen the stretch, or, bring the back knee closer to the body for a less intense stretch.

However deep you decide to go, be sure to keep the front knee over the front ankle. Press into the foot and extended long through the arms, fingertips and tailbone reaching in opposite directions.

Low Lunge Pose - Anjaneyasana

Garland Pose - Malasana 

For opening the outside of the hips and groin, even the ankles, Garland Pose is a simple, yet effective pose. Garland is essentially a squat. You can come into it by standing with the feet a little wider than the hips, then squat down, bringing the tailbone and heels as close to the ground as possible. With hands in Anjali mudra, press the elbows and knees against each other while bringing the pelvis forward.

Try to hold this for ten breaths, really pressing into the feet and pulling up energy from the earth.

Garland Pose - Malasana

Bound Angle Pose - Baddha Konasana 

Come to a kneeling position with toes tucked under the glutes. Inhale and reach both hands behind the body to cup the heels with thumbs on the outside of the foot. Exhale the chin towards the chest and fold forward bringing the crown of the head to the floor with the forehead coming as close to the knees as comfortable. Inhale and lift the hips to the sky allowing the arms to extend. Breathe deeply into the back body, especially focusing on the thoracic spine.

Be careful not to place too much weight on the head. Allow the legs to support the posture. Release the posture by lifting the head and rolling the torso up one vertebrae at a time. 

Bound Angle Pose - Baddha Konasana

Cow Face Pose - Gomukhasana  

Cow Face Pose is our fourth posture and it’s one of the best for relieving soreness and opening the hips. We want to try to align the knees with the sternum while maintaining the sit bones against the mat.

It may be enough of a stretch for you to simply stay seated with the spine erect, but if you want to get a deeper stretch in the hips, you have the option to fold the body forward and rest the belly on the knees.

cow face - gomukhasana

Supine Pigeon Pose - Supta Kapotasana  

Supine Pigeon Pose is a great hip opener. To get into the pose start in a seated position, lower the body down, leave the knees bend and the feet flat on the ground, lift the right leg and cross the ankle over the left knee. Here you are in figure four pose. Now raise the left foot off the ground, bringing the hands behind the left thigh and pull the left thigh gently into the chest. You feel a nice stretch on the outside of the right hip, on the outside of the right glute and even along the side of the right leg.

To get deeper into the stretch you can lift the head and the chest towards the knee and bring the knee towards the chest. Always keep the back of the body flat on the mat. Repeat on the other side.

Supine Pigeon Pose - Supta Kapotasana

Featured Video: 5 Amazing Yoga Stretches For Sore Hips

 How to Release Tight Hips

In this study by Laurentian University in Ontario, researchers compared yoga to static stretching for increasing range of motion in the hip and shoulder and found yoga to be more effective overall.
Well, it may seem a little obvious that these would be the results considering the very word static implies a lack of motion, which is the opposite of what this study aimed to accomplish with its participants. So how can you use yoga to create more movement and release tight hips? Keep things flowing!

Although going into deep stretches with tight areas of the body seems like the obvious solution for releasing tension, the fact is that this often adds fuel to the fire when done without proper preparation. Warming up is critical to deep, static stretching because it increases circulation, moving blood and thus carrying oxygen to the muscles. This is what allows muscles to relax and prepares the muscles for safe and effective stretching.

I’m a sucker for deep, juicy stretching and most of the population would benefit to do a little more of it, but you better believe I’ll always be preaching about the power of a proper warm-up. Don’t leave OM without it!

So, what can you do to get warmed up before deep stretching? Personally, I like putting on a good jam and busting out some moves, no lie, but that’s just me. It’s truly a fantastic warm-up that only takes about three and a half minutes (my estimate of the length of the average song). But, if you want to stay a little more traditional in your practice, get into a good habit of starting each day and each practice with a few rounds of sun salutations.

Take a Hatha variation of sun salutations, taking knee-down lunges for a crescent warrior that is a bit more stretching and stabilizing than strengthening. Move through the sun salutations with a continuous flow, combining your breath with each movement, avoiding any temptation to linger your stretching. Warm up the body well to get the most release in the hips for your practice!

Hip Stretches for Seniors 

One study reviewed the prevalence of pain in adults between 60 and 90 years old and found that hip pain was reported among 23 percent, with women making up a greater portion of this percentage. Finding ways to stay mobile and reduce dependency on pain relievers alone can be a challenge for anyone, especially aging seniors. Chair yoga is a solution increasingly on the rise Florida Atlantic University researchers found chair yoga to be effective in reducing pain and its interference with daily activities for seniors. But it’s not just for seniors! Chair yoga still offers the range of challenge and restoration of any yoga practice and is perfect for any person who wants a supporting alternative to a conventional practice.

For yogis looking for an effective stretch in the hips with extra support, taking a variation of pigeon pose is a great option. To practice this chair pose, place a pillow on the seat of the chair to cushion the knee. Stand facing the seat of the chair, move the foot of your extended leg back a little for a supportive stance, with hands on the chair back, bring one leg onto the seat of the chair for modified pigeon. Use your hands on the chair back and the stance of your extended leg to support the stretch. Try to hold this pose for five full breaths, breathing into the hip spaces, then repeat on the opposite side.

 Tight Hip Abductors Stretches

For tight hip abductors, a figure four pose is a pretty intuitive stretch to release tension in that space between the hip and leg joint. Sometimes this is referred to as reclined pigeon pose, other yogis will name it a variation of thread the needle.

For a more restorative posture, try supine spinal twist and adjust the height of your top knee accordingly to find the best stretch for your body. To open more through the shoulders and back of the body, keep the arms wide in a T shape. For a deeper stretch in the hip, bring the opposite hand to the top leg and gently pull the leg closer toward the ground.

For relief at your desk, or in any chair, cross one leg over the other in a figure four shape, bring the opposite hand to the outside of the crossed thigh and twist the torso and chest in the direction of the top leg. Try to keep the hip points forward and turn the gaze over the shoulder.


When the hips are tight, tension can show up in seemingly unrelated areas of the body; the back, the legs, even a headache can be attributed to what is going on in the hips, so keep them fluid and stretch them regularly!

Hopefully, if you’ve followed along through this instruction, you’re already feeling some relief from those sore hips. If you find yourself regularly suffering from pain in the hip area, try incorporating some of these stretches into your practice, or in any stolen moments of your day. Regularly practicing even just one of these poses will make a huge difference, helping you create more space and flexibility in the hips, consequently relieving any held pain and soreness.

Remember to have the body very warmed-up before getting into these deep poses, especially if you want to go through all of the poses at once. For today, start where you are, with what feels good, and keep showing up everyday to continue your journey discovering your body.



Hillary is a natural-born wanderer and wonderer. A digital nomad and pilgrim of the heart, she often feels herself a poster child of the Spiritual Millennial. As a writer, health coach and yoga instructor Read More..

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