Previously, as you may know, we have discussed the relevance of mobility and flexibility to your body. In this post, we are going to discuss the priority of continuing to increase flexibility in your hips to relieve any back pain you may be feeling.
Nowadays, we spend most of our time sitting, whether that be behind a desk, at the dinner table, or on a couch watching television. Research has shown that remaining seated for extended periods of time can cause the hips to tighten. Over time, your mobility may also become drastically impaired.
All of this can happen just from being seated down!? Unfortunately, the answer is yes.
Why Are Tight Hips so Bad?
Tight hips are no laughing matter. They can lead to some very serious health issues that only get worse over time. Tight hips can cause:
- Back Pain: When sitting for long periods of time, your pelvis begins to slide into an unnatural forward tilt. This, in conjunction with tight muscles, can cause strain on the muscles in the lower back. This, in turn, causes serious pain. This is the symptom of tight hips that most people struggle with. If you do not do anything to alleviate your pain, it will only get worse.
- Bad Posture & Balance: You hip flexor is the primary stabilizer of your pelvis. If your hip flexors are weakened, your balance and posture will both become impaired as well. Having bad posture and balance can also lead to different, greater back problems in the future. If you do not take care of the root of the problem (your tight hips) first, the health issues will continue to stack up.
- Imbalance in the Muscles: While you are sitting, your hip flexors, which are located at the front of your hips, will begin to tighten and shorten. At the same time, your hip extensors, your gluteus muscles, and the back of your hip muscles are being stretched. Though your muscles are being worked out, stretched, and tightened, it is not beneficial to either muscle groups. They will continue to weaken because they are not being utilized properly.
Setting aside time daily to stretch out your hips can make all the difference in counteracting all the time spent behind your desk. It is a simple way to combat these health problems before they get out of hand. As an added bonus, stretching daily can help increase your body strength which is beneficial in regular workouts.
The 8 Best Yoga Poses for Back Pain
Because of its many different hip-opening poses, yoga is the most popular method of increasing hip strengthening and flexibility. Here are step by step directions for performing the 8 best hip-opening yoga poses.
1.) The Frog Yoga Pose
Warning! This pose can be intense, so make sure you are prioritizing your safety. Grab a blanket or towel for extra padding for your knees.
- Start on all four with your knees on your mat and your hands directly in line with your shoulders.
- Slowly move your knees apart until you feel a stretch in your inner thighs. Keep your ankles aligned with your knees. Your calves and feet should be entirely grounded.
- Lower down onto your forearms if you can.
- Stay in the pose for 30 seconds.
2.) The Butterfly Yoga Pose
- Sit up on your mat. Bring the bottoms of your feet together and open your knees out the either side.
- Your hands should be placed on either side of you.
- For a more intense inner thigh stretch, slide your feet in towards your body. You can also bend forward and stretch your arms out in front out you.
- Hold for 30 seconds.
3.) The Low Lunge Yoga Pose
- Begin standing with your right foot forward. Bend your right knee and place your hands on either side of your right foot.
- Gently lower your left knee and shin down to the floor.
- Lift your chest up and place your hands on your right thigh.
- Do not arch your back. Instead, ensure that your abdominal muscles are doing most of the work.
- For a more intense stretch, stretch your arms straight up over your head and lean forward a little bit.
- Hold this pose for 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
4.) The Half Pigeon Yoga Pose
- Begin by getting into a lunging position. Place your right foot ahead of your left and bend your right knee. Your hands should be placed on either side of your right, front foot.
- Place most of your weight onto your hands. Slide your right foot towards your left hand and lower your knee down on the right. Your right calf should now be flat on the mat parallel to the top edge of your mat.
- Lower your left knee and shin to the mat. Try to keep your hips as square as possible.
- For a basic stretch, your arms should be straight and your hands should be flat on your mat.
- For a more intense stretch, lower down by placing your weight on your forearms. For an even more intense stretch still, lower all the way down so that your torso is laying on top of your front leg.
- Hold the pose for 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side. You should be able to feel this stretch on the outside of your hip and your glutes.
5.) The Happy Baby Yoga Pose
- Lay flat on your mat and pull both your knees towards your chest.
- Put your hands on inside of your feet’s soles.
- Open your knees so that they are out further than your shoulders. Keep your shoulders and back pressed flat on the mat.
- You can create more resistance pushing your feet and hands against each other.
- Hold this position for at least 30 seconds.
6.) Thread the Needle
- Lay flat on your back with your knees bent upwards toward the ceiling and your feet flat on your mat.
- Place your right ankle on your left knee.
- While keeping your lower back pressed onto the mat, gently pull your left knee towards your chest. Interlock your fingers underneath your left knee.
- Keep your right knee open for a deeper stretch.
- Hold this position for 30 seconds. Repeat the same on the other side.
7.) The Double Pigeon
- Sit straight up on your mat.
- Cross your legs with the left leg in front. Using your hands, grab your left ankle and put it on top of your right knee. Your shins should now be stacked with the left on top.
- For a more intense stretch, stretch your arms forward slightly.
- Hold the position for 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
8.) The Crescent Lunge
- Begin standing with your right foot forward, your knee bent, your left leg outstretched behind you, and your hands on either side of your right foot.
- Lift your hands slowly off of the mat and let them rest on your right thigh. Let your hips sink down lower into the stretch. Also, don’t forget to keep your hips square.
- Lift your arms towards the ceiling and engage your stomach muscles.
- Your focus should be on extending and lengthening your back, left leg.
- Hold this position for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
Including even one of these hip stretches into your daily routine can make a world of difference. If you choose to do all of these yoga poses every day, you will consistently be helping to maintain and improve your hip strength, health, and flexibility. In no time at all, you will notice and feel the difference. You will be more mobile and stronger than ever before.