Stiffness and restriction in the hips are very common and can be the source of many issues in the back and shoulders. This sequence takes you deeper into the hips to deeply target any stiffness or restriction.
We work into the hips using the wall for support, moving through a variety of standing and sitting poses. A useful sequence for anyone with lifestyle-related stiff hips, arthritis or minor injury.
Step by step sequence
Let’s take the hip opening poses a little further.
Lie back in Supta Baddhakonasana using a bolster for the back and a belt for the legs. Then come up for simple cross leg forwards, resting the forehead onto the bolster, and changing sides to release both hips evenly. Come up to standing for Uttanasana, feet as wide as your mat to feel the lift this gives to the inner legs.
Placing two blocks horizontally against the wall, step into Adho Mukha Svanasana with the heels up onto the blocks, balls of the feet on the floor. Feel the lift of the hips when practising this way. Bend the knees and rest forward in Virasana.
Now a few standing poses to come into the legs, some with the back foot to the wall and some with the front ball of the foot up the wall. Start with Trikonasana, placing the front foot up the wall and taking the top hand over the head to the wall, elbow bent. Now change to have the back foot to the wall to feel the different action this brings.
Follow with Ardha Chandrasana, using a block for your front hand and placing the back foot against the wall to create more balance and a stronger hip opening. Finish the standing poses with Parsvottonasana, front foot up the wall and using blocks for the hands as needed.
Now try Vrksasana, with the bent leg kneecap placed firmly against the wall to help stabilise and open the bent leg hip further. Turn the waist so that both sides of the chest face forward.
Now come down to the floor to continue with your hip work in sitting poses.
Start with Virasana, using a support under the buttocks as needed, and placing the arms in Parvatasana, taking the elbows toward eachother to straighten the arms fully.
Follow with Baddha Konasana, back to the wall, using a strap as needed to hold the ankles, keeping the spine erect.
Continue the sitting poses with UpavisthaKonasana, placing the feet against the wall and the hands behind you to lift the spine upwards as you open the inner thighs more.
Then to continue your hip session with floor support for the back, lie on your back for Supta Padangusthasana 2. Use a support just next to the hip of the outstretched leg if needed for extra support as you extend the leg out to the side.
Release the back by coming up for Virasana forward, resting the head to or towards the floor.
Finish your session with Savasana, and feel how the body has responded to this hip session, whilst you also quieten the breath and release any holding or hardness in the body.
Save PDF and print
You are welcome to download the PDF of the sequence and print and distribute it freely. You may have to wait up to 30 seconds for the PDF to generate. Please credit the teacher who created it. All illustrations from Dona Holleman’s ‘Yoga Darśana’, RIMYI Institute texts and Yoga Vastu illustrators for original asana drawings.