The hips hold everything. Along with being the core of our physical body, they’re where we store emotions, pain, and stress. Goddess statues with large hips have long represented fertility in many different cultures, and the connection between hips and fertility is real. While fertility may not seem as crucial of a benefit to you if you aren’t trying to have a baby, fertility doesn’t just mean that you can conceive but it also means liveliness and health. It means that everything is flowing well in your body. Our relationship with and awareness of our hips are indicative of how accepting and aware we are of our bodies and our reality.
Now, you may think, “My hips are tight.” But it’s not your hip bones that are actually tight but the muscles around the hips. Depending how you classify them, there are either 17 or 21 muscles connected to the hips. The hips and glutes are areas that hold a ton of tightness and they don’t often get worked out or massaged. With your gluteus Maximus being the largest muscle on your body, it’s difficult to work out the deepest parts, but if you do, you can get a physical stretch plus an energetic shift that can have a positive effect on everything you do.
Kneeling on the floor, open your knees to each side keeping your toes touching. Raise your arms up, and following them down to the floor, lay your torso down between your knees. If it’s more comfortable for you, you can let your arms rest gently behind you by your hips. Breathe into it and allow your lower back to release tension and open up. This is a resting pose, so you can stay here for a bit at the beginning and end of your practice, or if you’re really sore, simply do this for a bit to allow muscles to relax.
This pose is an amazing place to start in any yoga practice, but especially for tight hips. It uses the floor to ground yourself and open your hips in a gentle yet solid manner. Child’s Pose is so lovely for tight hips because no matter where you are or how much stretch you need, you can control it so you get enough stretch but not overdo it. This is an excellent way to prepare for deeper poses.
Standing in Mountain Pose (Tadasana), slightly bend your knees and lift your right leg up. Slowly cross it over your left leg. Hook it over the left leg until your right foot is gripping your left calf muscle. Press your left foot against the floor to maintain your balance. For the arms, taking them out in front of you, cross your left arm under your right arm and twine it around until your left palm is facing out from your right palm, though slightly lower. This gives an incredible stretch in the shoulder blades as well!
Sink into the posture, and gently raise your arms up. Use your top leg to pull your hips to stretch. Slowly come out of it and repeat on the other side.
This is a pose who’s very name in Sanskrit means to stretch out! Uthann = to stretch. It not only stretches your hips but your hamstrings as well. Start in Tabletop Pose, take your right foot and bring it your foot up until it’s on the outside of your right hand on the mat. Now, walk your left leg back as far as you can comfortably. If you can, you will have it in a plank-like leg position with the knee up. To deepen the pose, go down to your forearms. Slowly uncoil the pose and repeat on the other side.
Pigeon Pose is a useful modification or precursor to this pose.
As we age, the hips are an area that can get tighter and tighter, so that bending to pick something up, for example, can become difficult. It’s important to keep this area flexible and the rust knocked off, so to speak, so that you don’t get to a more advanced lack of flexibility.
Energetically, the hips are connected with the sacral chakra, which controls creativity. These poses may help you unblock energies you didn’t even know you needed to address!