We are a nation of sitters. We sit at our desks, in the car, on the train, and crammed into airline seats. Inevitably, this leads many of us to have stiff, tight hips. I am no exception – I sat as a student, I sat at my desk job for years before I became a PT, I sat during graduate school. Couple that with years of running and less than perfect posture for most of my life, and I wasn’t the first volunteering to sit cross-legged on the floor.
The problem is, when your hip muscles are tight and restricted, the muscles aren’t able to activate the way they need to in order to stabilize your pelvis and core. This can lead to hip pain, back pain, knee pain, ankle pain and more. In addition to working some of the restricted tissues with a foam roller or a lacrosse ball (more on that in another post!) I’ve found yoga to be an easy and enjoyable way to incorporate mobility and stability into my workouts. Here’s a few basic yoga poses that I’ve learned from yoga classes over the years that have helped me get deeper into my hips and counteract some of that sitting.
Don’t forget, you should always begin with a general warm-up before you move into a more challenging position. Sun salutations are a good choice. Also, listen to your body, and never push yourself into pain or discomfort
1. Pose: Standing forward fold (Uttanasana)
Tip: Bend your knees as much as you need to, and stop if you feel discomfort in your lower back.
2. Pose: Kneeling warrior (Anjaneyasana)
Target: Hip flexors
Tip: Keep your torso tall and push forward through your hips, keeping them squared forward. Don’t bend at the waist.
3. Pose: Bound angle pose (Baddha Konasana)
Target: Inner thighs and rotators
Tip: You can place a yoga block or a rolled up towel under your sit bone to make this more accessible. To make it more restorative, try lying on your back.
4. Pose: Lizard pose/runners lunge (Utthan Pristhasana)
Target: Inner thighs and hip flexors
Tip: You can do this pose with the back knee on the floor or lifted, whichever is most comfortable for you.
5. Pose: Half pigeon pose
Target: Deep hip rotators and glutes
Tip: Make sure that you’re not just twisting through your knee to get the hip rotation here. You can place a rolled up towel under your thigh to support your leg, or do this pose seated or lying on your back in a figure four position.
6. Pose: Wide legged forward fold (Prasarita Padottanasana)
Target: Inner thighs and hamstrings
Tip: You can place yoga blocks or a stool under your hands to make the floor closer, or just place your hands on your shins. Like in forward fold, be mindful of your lower back.
For more information on these or other yoga asanas, Yoga Journal’s website (yogajournal.com) is easy to navigate and chock full of information for yogis of all levels.
*Missy is our resident yoga fanatic, but is not a yoga instructor. She recommends checking with a yoga instructor for any additional adjustments or modifications.
Copyright 2015 React Physical Therapy