Let's face it, sometimes our hips just feel tight. It's so important however to maintain flexibility in the hip joint for lower back health and the ability to sit for long periods of time. Here is a good standing routine that I read about in Yoga Journal. I included only the standing poses of this sequence.
- Sit in easy pose and lengthen your spine with every inhalation. Straighten your arms and lean forward, staying on the fingertips for 5 breaths.
- Downward Facing Dog - Work on straightening your legs and moving your heels towards the earth. Stay for several breaths.
- Forward Fold - From down dog, walk your feet up between your hands to forward fold. Stay in forward fold (with bent knees if need be), for 5 breaths.
- Extended Side Angle - Lengthen your torso and open your hip (bent knee leg), by using your arm to press you knee open. Hold for several breaths and repeat opposite side.
- Tree Pose - Make sure your pelvis is even in all direction, as you hug the outer hip in toward the mid-line (standing leg), Connect your eyes to one point and grow your hands overhead. Stay for 5 breaths and repeat opposite side.
- Warrior 2 - From down dog move your right foot between your hands and turn your back toes in slightly toward the left side of your mat, then rise to stand and bring both arms parallel to the earth. Root down through the back leg, squeeze the pelvic floor, lift the lower belly slightly. Move the right knee towards the 2nd and 3rd toe and continue to root down. Build a strong foundation hugging muscle to bone and let the upper body float into grace. Hold for 5 breaths and repeat opposite side.
- Triangle Pose - From warrior 2, straightened your front leg and shift the front hip back as you reach forward and grab your right ankle with your right hand (right side perspective). If props are needed by all means go for it. Float your spine over the front leg and open your chest. Let your heart shine towards the heavens. Send your gaze upward or if any neck tension look down towards the earth.
- Standing Half Moon - From triangle pose, look down and slide your right hand about a foot in front of you, a little to the right of your right foot. Step the left leg up and hug your right hip toward the mid-line. Stack your shoulders and lengthen both sides of your waist, draw the ribs and navel inward. Take your gaze to the mat, to the side or upward. Hold for several breaths.
- Horse Stance- Place your feet 3-4 feet apart, with toes turned out at 45 degrees. Squat down so your knees track towards the second toes. With af lat back, extend your chest as you pull your hips back. You can take any arm position that feels comfortable to you while in this pose. Hold for 5 - 8 breaths.
- Bound Side Angle - From down dog, place your right foot between your hand and turn your back toes slightly inward, bend your right knee, place your right elbow on your right knee, and lift your arm skyward. Internally rotate the top arm and bring it behind your back, then bring your right arm under your right leg to bind. Get long in the spine and pull the right hip underneath you. Hold the pose for 5 breaths and repeat other side.
Other hips release ideas:
- Butterfly pose
- Head of the knee pose
- Seated forward bend
- One legged king pigeon