If you’re suffering from stiff, inflexible, sore or aching hips, then yoga could be just the thing – with a few key moves designed especially for loosening tight hip joints.
‘Your hips are probably not the first body part you think about when looking to get into shape, but keeping them healthy can have a plethora of benefits,’ says yoga expert and author of Thrive Through Yoga (£12.99, Bloomsbury), Nicola Jane Hobbs. ‘Aside from the obvious improved range of motion and decreased pain in your lower back from overuse of your spine, opening the hips can create a feeling of lightness and energy. Yoga, specifically the poses opposite, is a fantastic way to keep your hips in tip-top health.’ Try these moves for yourself.
Triangle pose engages your whole body and helps strengthen your core, open your hips and stretch your legs. Stand with feet a metre apart. Rotate your right foot out 90 degrees and your left in about 45. Spread your arms out and reach over your right leg, hinging from your hips. Point your right hand down to grasp your shin, ankle or toes and point your left arm up. Hold for 5-10 breaths, stretch from fingertip to fingertip with each inhale, and rotate your chest open with each exhale. Repeat on the other side.
This is a deep hold, to open up your hips, spine, and shoulders. Sit cross-legged and slide your left foot under your right leg so your left heel is on the outside of your right buttock. Stack your right knee on top of your left knee and bring your right heel to the outside of your left buttock. Anchor your bottom to the floor and bring both feet as far forwards away from your buttocks as you can. Hold for 2-3 minutes. Repeat on the other side. Variations: If you have any knee issues then stay in half shoelace with the bottom leg straight.
This pose uses core strength to keep your hips level and open. It also helps stretch your thighs and groin. Begin on all fours and bring your right knee to the outside of your right wrist and your right foot towards your left wrist. Lift your left knee back until you feel a stretch in your inner thigh or the outside of your hips. Hold for 5-10 long
deep breaths. To exit, raise your chest and lift yourself back to all fours. Repeat with the left leg bent in front.
This pose provides a good stretch for your inner thigh and groin. Begin seated and bring the soles of your feet together, with your heels about a foot away from your groin. Drop your chin to your chest, let your spine round and rest your hands in front of you. Focus on relaxing the muscles in your hips and thighs by visualising your knees sinking closer to the floor. Hold for 2-3 minutes and then roll slowly back up to seated.