If your hips and back hurt, you should try these yoga poses to loosen those hips and relieve lower back pain.
You don’t have to go far to hear someone complaining about tight hips and lower back pain. Back pain is the third most common cause of doctor visits in the US, with a surprising 25–30% of people actually seeking treatment for their pain.
You’re not alone, in a typical working week, people spend on average 5 hours and 41 minutes sitting at their desk every day day. This is inevitable if you work in an office. Luckily, there are some lower back stretches and hip openers that can help to take the pressure off this area and lower your chances of experiencing lower back pain.
Here are six yoga poses that can help loosen tight hips and relieve lower back pain:
- Child’s Pose
- Eye of the Needle Pose
- Reclined Twist Pose
- Cat and Cow Pose
- Lizard Pose
- Garland Pose
Like any pain, there are many potential causes, and lower back pain is no different. However, when it comes to hip tightness, one of the most commonly cited causes is from sitting for several hours a day. The health of your lower back region can be directly affected by hip flexors and hamstrings.
When you sit for long periods of time, hip flexors can get tight. This effect increases the likelihood of lower back pain. Your hip muscles are in a shortened position for a prolonged time which doesn’t do you any favors. If you don’t have the time to step away during a work day, you can still reap the benefits and do yoga at your office desk.
Tight hips not only feel uncomfortable but they can affect your workout and your range of motion. This can impact everything from how low you can squat to your running. Yoga is a great way to open up your hips, take the pressure off, and loosen up the lower region. Hip-opening stretches can relieve tightness and strengthen your hips. Stretching not only helps your hips but is beneficial to your overall health.
As with any body movement, always listen to your body. A stretch may feel sore to begin with, but this will eventually lead to relief. If you feel any sharp pain whatsoever, then slowly move out of the pose.
Hip-Opening Yoga Poses and Stretches for Tight Hips and Lower Back
Who doesn’t love sinking into a deep child’s pose after a yoga session? This position stretches your knees, shins, hips, arms, and spine.
On your mat, start on your hands and knees with your toes pointing behind you. Spread your knees wider than your hips but not wider than the mat. Then sink back on your heels and lower your stomach to your legs while reaching your arms out straight in front of you. Breathe deeply for 10–15 counts and then release.
Eye of the Needle Pose
This pose is ideal for stretching out your lower back, glutes, knees, and hips. It’s can also be helpful in relieving sciatica pain.
Start by laying on your back with your knees pointing towards the ceiling and feet on the mat, hip-width apart. Raise your right foot and place on top of your left thigh.
This is where you thread the needle, put your hands around your left leg and hold the back of your left thigh. Finally, pull both legs towards your chest for as long as you can, then release. Be sure to keep your back flat on the ground. Take a breath and then switch legs.
Yoga can be deceptively uncomfortable, but the rewards on the body and mind make it worth it. This post-yoga chai green smoothie is a good motivator to keep you hitting the mat.
Reclined Twist Pose
This spinal twist is a comfortable and supportive pose, especially on the lower back and hips. It also stretches your neck, shoulders, and chest.
Lie on your back and hug your knees into your chest. Breathe deeply and on the exhale, let your legs fall gently to the left. Position your arms to the side of your head or just the right arm for a deeper stretch. Relax your shoulders to the floor and shift your gaze over the right shoulder. Hold the position, close your eyes, and breathe deeply. Repeat on the other side for a full body stretch.
Cat and Cow Pose
Transitioning between cat and cow pose stretches your entire back, hips, core, neck, and chest.
Start on your hands and knees on the mat with your shoulders above your hands. Make sure your fingers are spread wide. Breathe in and arch your back, look up to the ceiling and lift your tailbone. As you breathe out, round your spine and tuck your tailbone and chin against your chest. Switch between the two positions for 10–15 breaths.
The perfect pose for tight and uncomfortable hips, Lizard Pose stretches the hips, hamstrings, and quadriceps.
Begin in Downward-Facing Dog. Take a deep breath in and on the exhale, step your right foot forward to the outside edge of your right hand. Both of your arms should be to the left of the right leg. Lower your left knee onto the mat. Your right knee should be directly over your right ankle. Sink your weight into your body, balanced evenly on both hips.
If it feels comfortable, lower onto the elbows, keeping the chin lifted. For a deeper stretch curl the left toes and press up onto the ball of your foot. Hold the pose for 5–10 breaths then repeat on the other side.
Another great hip-opener, this pose strengthens and increases motion in the ankles and hips, stretches the back muscles and abdomen.
Start by squatting with your feet close together. If you can’t keep your feet flat on the mat, use a folded mat or blanket to support them. Separate your thighs so they are wider than your torso. As you exhale, lean your torso forward so that it’s between your thighs. Place your hands in a prayer position and push your elbows out to the side, pressing your knees open. Hold for at least 5 breaths.
Practice these poses daily to increase blood flow and loosen your lower back and hips.
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