Yoga Poses That Can Stretch Your Hip Muscles

Moves to improve flexibility in the muscle group surrounding the hip

Contributor: Certified yoga instructor Patti Kopasakis, PT, DPT, SCS, RYT-200

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Many people do a tremendous amount of sitting throughout the day, often because of work. As a result, many find that the muscles of their hips become limited in flexibility. When muscles are less flexible, they can cause painful or abnormal movements in other regions of the body and impact the way that we move.

The poses below address flexibility in the major muscle groups that surround the hip. These muscle groups assist in preserving the hip joint’s range of motion for activities such as walking, standing and climbing stairs, to name a few.

Try to hold each pose for five to eight breaths. On the one-sided poses, be sure to repeat on the other side!

Note: Poses should be entered into and moved out of slowly to protect muscles and joints. If you are having specific pain that has been ongoing for longer than two weeks or you have a specific injury, it is always best to consult a qualified health care provider, such as a physical therapist, who can develop a plan specific to your needs.

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Crane Pose

  • From a standing position, lower yourself to kneel on one knee. Make sure the other knee lines up over your ankle.
  • Pull the hip of your kneeling knee back so that it is in line with your opposite hip.
  • Lift your arms overhead and overlap your thumbs.
  • Pull your tailbone downward to avoid overarching your lower back.


Lizard Pose

  • From a standing position, lower yourself to kneel on one knee. Make sure your forward knee is over your ankle, and roll your foot slightly to the outside to open your bent leg.
  • Lean forward and place your hands on the mat to the inside of your foot.
  • For a less intense stretch, keep the forward foot flat on the mat rather than rolling onto the outside edge.
  • For a more intense stretch, lean forward further and place your elbows on the mat


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Reclined Half Pigeon

  • From a sitting position, lie on your back, knees bent.
  • Place the ankle of one leg on the knee of the other.
  • Bring your legs toward your chest and hold the bent leg with your hands.
  • Keep toes of both feet flexed
  • For a deeper stretch, reach for the bottom leg and pull toward your chest gently


Reclined Cobbler’s Pose

  • Lie on your back with the soles of your feet together, knees splayed to the outside.
  • For a less intense stretch, slide your feet away from your body.
  • For a more intense stretch, walk your feet closer to your body and place your hands on your inner thighs.
  • To move out of the pose, use your hands to guide your knees together.


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