Yoga Design Lab

Flow Through 5 Yoga Poses to Open Your Hips

Jun 07, 2024

Flow Through 5 Yoga Poses to Open Your Hips

About 95% of the time I ask students what they want in a yoga class, they request hip openers, and about 99% of folks who have never practiced yoga mention they come to my class to open their hips. Most of us living in a fast-paced and often stress-induced world, have tight, immobile, and inflexible hips. In the yoga world, many yogis believe that our hips are connected to our soul because our hips are the center of our emotional and energetic release. Despite our hips being connected to our souls, most of us store what does not serve us (anxiety, depression, grief, stress, negative energy) in our hips and jaws. Our hips are a central point of both mobility and stability. Our hips are also associated with our sacral chakra. Our sacral chakra, or Svadhisthana chakra, is the second out of seven chakras. It represents sensuality and creativity, as well as the idea of letting go and embracing change. 


Below are 5 yoga poses to help you open your hips to release any emotion that is not serving you. These yoga poses also allow you to build flexibility, mobility, and strength – all important pillars for a strong yoga practice and body!


Flow through a 5-pose sequence to open your hips. Start by laying all the way down on your yoga mat. Take a deep inhale through your nose, stretch your arms over your head, feel your low back lift off and sip in a little more air; take an open mouth exhale, release everything and melt back into your mat. Feel your spine settle in. Place one hand to your belly and one hand to your heart. 

  • Reclining Bound Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)

Start on your back with the bottoms of your feet connected. Place one hand on your belly and one hand on your heart. With each breath you take, bring your knees closer to your yoga mat and your heels closer to your sit bones. Start to feel your hips open up through deepening the pose. Take both your palms to your hip points and gently slide them down to your knee joints. With ease and softness, press your palms into your knees so your knees come a little closer to the earth. This will start to open your hips more. Slide your palms back to your belly and heart and place one hand on your heart and the other on your belly and breathe here. 

  • Half Happy Baby to Full Happy Baby (Ananda Balasana)

Staying on your back, let’s move into a half happy baby pose on each side. From a reclined bound angle pose, plant both feet back into the earth. First, extend your left leg on your yoga mat and bend into your right knee. Grab for your right shin, ankle, or foot. As you do so, energetically pull your right knee towards the earth and stack your right ankle over your knee. Stay here for a few breaths, just breathing into your right hip. You can take your left palm to your left hip point and gently press down to ensure your left side doesn’t float up from your yoga mat. You can invite a sway from side-to-side on your yoga mat to invite in some more movement and low back release. Take this on the other side. Before switching out your legs, bring both your legs into your heart and give yourself a squeeze, a hug. Reset your spine along your yoga mat. From there, take half happy baby pose on the other side. Invite what you did on your right side to your left side. Give yourself a hug with both legs in your chest. From there, take a hold of both big toes in yogi toe lock and move into the full expression of happy baby pose, energetically drawing your knees down towards the earth and breathing here. You might begin to feel the body awaken further as you experience the hip-opening benefits of the yoga pose.

  • Lizard Lunge (Utthan Pristhasana)

From happy baby pose, give yourself another squeeze and rock from side-to-side. Invite that rock up and down along your yoga mat – letting the top of your head and your tip toes hit your yoga mat with each rock. Roll up to a table top pose. Stack your shoulders over your wrists and hips over your knees. Keep your palms pressed into your yoga mat with all ten fingers spread out. Tuck your toes on your inhale, and on your exhale lift your hips up and back coming into downward facing dog pose. On your inhale, lift your right leg and bend your right knee, opening through your right quadricep. Breathe into the sensation of stacking your right hip over your left. As you open your right hip further, remember to press equal weight into both your palms. Continue to press equal weight into each palm. Take another deep inhale and on your exhale, lizard lunge. Settle in here. You can stay in this active lizard lunge pose; to deepen the yoga pose, you can lower down onto your forearms, and to modify further you release your back knee down onto your mat. You can also push your knee out to find a deeper opening in your outer hip. 

  • Yogi Squat (Malasana)

From lizard lunge pose, flow into a yogi squat pose, or malasana. Lizard lunge on your inhale and on your exhale step your left foot forward so it is outside your left palm Coming into Malasana, or Yogi Squat, ground through your sit bones and shine your heart forward. Keep your straight spine. Energetically push your elbows and knees into one another. 

  • Pigeon (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)

Starting in a downward facing dog, inhale your right leg high and stack your hips open (think about kicking your right heel towards your right glute) and on your exhale, connect your right knee to your right wrist and relax your shin and ankle down. On your next inhale, puff your chest, maybe take a gaze up, 


Our hips are sacred and in yoga, we consider them our gateway to our balanced well-being – our emotional and spiritual well-being. Try these hip-opening yoga poses out on your body. Though some of these poses might be more challenging, I encourage you to use your breath to guide you through each pose. Let every breath you take get you deeper in each yoga pose. Allow yourself to find comfort in the discomfort – that’s where our bodies need extra loving care. However, if any yoga pose feels painful, I invite you to find an alternative pose.

By Samira Agarwal

 

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