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Working with stiffness in the hips and upper thighs



Class description

Stiffness and restriction in the hips are very common and can be the source of many issues in the back and shoulders. Part 1 of a 3 part collection walks you through a class focused on alleviating stiffness and restriction in the hips and upper thighs.

The goal is to allow you to get into your practice while working directly with the hips that may need a little extra work to loosen up. We will work with some poses that will be modified and will also give you some support as well as getting into the hips and giving mobility and flexibility to your capacity.

Step by step guide to the sequence

Begin the session by setting up in Supta Baddhakonasana, using a belt around each top thigh and shin to hold them in and together. Come up and go into Virasana forward, using a blanket between the buttocks and heels as needed to bring the buttocks down onto a support.

Now stand and go forward in Uttanasana, using a brick between the upper thighs for extra hip support. This is followed by Adho Mukha Svanasana, with the feet taken wider, almost to the edges of the mat. Bend the knees and go into Virasana forward to release.

Now come up for a few “diagonal” standing poses. With your mat placed against the wall, and back foot to the back edge of your mat against the wall, step forward for Trikonasana, with the front foot close to the opposite side of the mat. Change sides.

Using the same diagonal set-up, move into Virabhadrasana 2, and then into Ardha Chandrasana, back foot to the wall, a little behind the front leg.

To rest the legs, but still working on the hips, sit for Baddhakonasana on a support and with back and buttocks right up against the wall. Loop a belt around the sacrum and the ankles.

A few more passive hip opening poses follow: Lie on your back with the legs up against the wall. Then after a few minutes move the legs into Baddha Konasana, and then into Upavistha Konasana.

Finish your session with Setu Bandha supported over “T” shape bolsters: one for the feet and one along the spine, shoulders and head on the floor. The belt around the feet will help to keep the legs straight without effort.

Slide back off the bolster for Savasana, keeping the legs in cross leg resting onto the bolster.

View sequence

Supta Baddhakonasana
Reclining Bound Angle Pose
Join your feet together, your heels pressed to your pelvis. Lie back over a bolster or other form of support. Relax and let your chest open. If necessary, use a strap to hold your feet in place.
Virasana Forward
Downward-Facing Hero Pose
Join your feet together under your buttocks and keep your knees far enough apart for your ribs to fit in between your legs as you fold forward. You can rest your forehead on the floor or on a block.
Standing Forward Bend
Starting in Tadasana, exhale and reach down towards your feet. Let your spine release downwards. You can bend your knees or place your hands on blocks if you lack the necessary flexibility.
Adho Mukha Svanasana
Downward-Facing Dog Pose
Press evenly into your hands and feet. The main aim is to elongate the back of your body and lift your hips up as high off the ground as possible without losing the stable foundation created by your hands and feet. If you lack the hamstring flexibility, bend your knees a little.
Virasana Forward
Downward-Facing Hero Pose
Join your feet together under your buttocks and keep your knees far enough apart for your ribs to fit in between your legs as you fold forward. You can rest your forehead on the floor or on a block.
Utthita Trikonasana
Extended Triangle Pose
Keep the toes and kneecap of your left leg pointed forward and, keeping your spine straight and long, stretch over your leg. Place your left hand on your ankle or on a block next to your foot. Look up towards your extended right arm.
Virabhadrasana II
Warrior II Pose
Angle your back foot out slightly and straighten out the leg. Bend your front knee into a lunge, pointing it forward so that it's aligned with your hips, shin, and toes. Stretch your arms out in a parallel line. Lengthen through the crown of your head.
Utthita Parsvakonasana
Extended Side Angle Pose
Bend your front leg and place your hand by of your foot as you stretch your other arm up and over your head. Pull your waist away from the floor, keep your back straight. Place a block under your hand if necessary.
Ardha Chandrasana
Half Moon Pose
Get rooted through your left foot, point your toes and kneecap forward. Then, place your left hand on the floor or a block in front of you as you stretch your other right leg back in line with your straight back. You can use the wall for support if you lack the balance. If possible, lift your right arm up.
Mountain Pose
Stand up tall and straight, place your feet close together, with your heels and big toes touching. Imagine as if you are standing with your back against the wall. Extend your whole body from the heels up through the crown of your head.
Baddha Konasana
Bound Angle Pose
Bring your feet as close as possible to your pelvis and join them together. Straighten your back and let gravity pull your knees down toward the floor. If necessary, use a strap to hold your feet in place.
Staff Pose
Point your sit-bones down and extend your spine upwards through the crown of your head. Use support under your buttocks or bend knees if needed to get your back straight.
Viparita Karani
Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose
Bring your hips up to the wall and lift your legs up against it so that they're perpendicular to the floor. You can use a bolster or other form of support under your hips and lumbar spine to incorporate a mild backbend into the pose.
Supported Setu Bandha Sarvangasana
Supported Bridge Pose
Lie down over support placed under the whole of your body from the thoracic spine down to your knees. The shoulders swoop down to touch the floor. Spread your arms outward or slightly at your side. Activate your feet and press them into the wall.
Supta Swastikasana
Simple Cross Legs Lying Back
Cross your legs and lie back over support or straight onto your mat.
Corpse Pose
Lie down on the floor. Spread your arms and legs slightly at your side. Relax and concentrate on your breath.