Best Yoga Poses and Stretches for Tight High Flexors

Tight Hip Flexors

Tight hip flexors are a common issue for many people. Chances are you have experienced this tightness of the hips, even though you may not have known it at the time. As a result, it’s no accident that hip opening and hip stretching exercises have become so popular.Despite this increased awareness of our hips, many of us still take our hips for granted and deprive them of attention. Our hips need attention as they play a critical role in our overall mobility. If you’re a football fan, you’ve likely heard players described as having fluid hips if they move well on the field. On the other hand, many athletes are held back if they suffer from stiff hips. It’s also no accident that more and more athletes are turning to yoga as an off-season activity to help with hips and flexibility.However, hip care and hip stretches are also important for non-athletes. Many of us spend our days sitting which is terrible for overall hip health and leads to tight hip flexors. Plus, fluid hips can help anyone with their basic daily mobility and make simple tasks seem easier.Our hips are a powerful and important part of our body. Naturally, as a yogi, there are various things to consider if you feel that your hips are suffering. First and foremost, what are the “hip flexors”, why should we open or stretch the hips, do the hips store stress or emotions, and how can yoga help the hips?

 

What Are Hip Flexors?

You may be asking yourself, “What exactly is a hip flexor?”.Basically, the hip flexors are the muscles that allow you to lift your knees and bend at the waist. There are two primary muscles that make up the flexors, these are called the “lliacus” and the “Psoas Major”. The lliacus and the Psoas Major together are referred to as the “lliopsoas”.The lliopsoas are some of the stronger muscles in the body. The muscles located in the abdomen area and front of the hips are connected to the femur. Another hip flexor called the “Rectus Femoris” is a quadricep muscle and it also helps us to straighten the knee.Another important muscle for the hips is called the “sartorious muscle”. This muscle stretches from the upper pelvic bone to the upper tibia bone. Interestingly, this is the longest muscle in the human body and it allows for the rotation of the hips.As mentioned, the primary job of hip flexors is to allow us to lift our knees or bring the knee toward the abdomen. This function is referred to as flexion. Generally, any muscle in the body that flexes a joint is called a flexor.

Of course, it’s not required that we have a deep understanding of these muscles and their functions, but it can certainly be beneficial to know the basics, especially if you’re experiencing tight hip flexors or other hip issues.

 

What Tightens Hip Flexors & Why?

Yoga Hips
Unfortunately, its very common for our hip flexors to become tightened for a variety of reasons. Believe it or not, the simple act of sitting is one of the best ways to tighten the hips. While we sit with bent knees, the hip flexors are indeed “flexed” and they can become tight or even shortened. These tightened muscles can lead to lower back pain because the pelvis is being pulled forward.As a result, many people spend their days seated and then they may head out to the gym for their work-out without stretching the hip flexors which could easily lead to injuries. It’s important to note that athletes, especially runners place much stress on the hip flexors.Clearly, its beneficial for us to use hip stretches, yoga, and other exercises to release the hips. When the hips are fluid it allows us to have better mobility in our daily lives and reduces the risk of injury for athletes. If we provide our hips this needed attention, it could also prevent lower back pain and help improve posture.Many students and teachers in the yoga community also believe that the hips are a gathering ground for stress and emotions. While this belief isn’t grounded in science, it’s worth noting that believers firmly see hip stretches as providing more than just the stretching of muscles. In other words, it’s a common belief that the hips also have emotional ties to our body and mind.

 

Do Hips Store Stress & Emotions?

As mentioned above, there are yogis who believe that the hips store emotions and stress. As a result, they believe that opening or stretching the hips is not only beneficial to our muscles but also to our mind and mental state. As a matter of fact, it’s not uncommon to hear yoga students express that hip opening yoga poses can cause them to feel emotion.Oddly enough, the hips and hip flexors are in the Sacral Chakra or 2nd Chakra. Many believe that chakras are spinning wheels of energy located throughout the body and that we must keep them in balance. Most believe that we have 7 Chakras located between our pelvis and head.It’s important to note that there’s no scientific evidence that prove the existence of chakras or that the hips store emotion or stress. However, there’s no doubt that many feel a connection between the hips and their emotional or sensual side.Individuals will have to determine their stance on chakras and whether they feel a connection with their emotions through their hips. If someone does experience this connection, then it’s simply another reason to open the hips and loosen tight hip flexors.

 

Hip Focused Yoga Poses

There are quite a few yoga poses that can aid with stretching and opening the hips. Many of the poses are simple and others will provide a challenge, especially for beginners. Regardless of your skill level as a yogi, you should be able to find some poses suitable for your practice. Below are just a few examples of postures to consider for better hip health. As always, consult your doctor if you’re new to yoga or if you have any injuries.
Hip Openers Yoga

 

Lizard Pose:

Lizard Pose or Utthan Pristhasana has become a yogi favorite. This posture is great for opening or stretching the hips, but it’s not an easy pose for many people. This posture will require some patience and sometimes it will create a love/hate relationship. It’s common to see this yoga pose in restorative style classes as a deep stretch. Like most hip openers, Lizard Pose is usually a struggle for men.

Read more about Lizard Pose!

Mermaid Pose:

Mermaid Pose would certainly qualify as one of the prettiest yoga poses, but it’s also packed with benefits and challenges. One of it’s benefits includes opening the hips and providing a nice hip stretch. Like Lizard Pose, this posture will test your patience along the way. It will also help improve spine flexibility, balance and focus.

Read more about Mermaid Pose!

Yogi Squat:

Yes, it would be accurate to describe this pose as just a squat, which would explain why Malasana Pose is also referred to as “yogi squat”. Humans have been squatting for a very long time, and it’s a great alternative to sitting in a chair, and much healthier. Malasana will stretch the hips, hamstrings, back and improve your core. Perhaps the next time you’re ready to take a seat, try a squat instead!

Read more about Malasana Pose!

Keep in mind that tight hip flexors are a very common issue. Luckily, some simple hip stretches, and hip openers will go a long way toward helping the issue. The first step is to simply acknowledge that our hips need attention like the rest of our body. A great step toward better hips would be to eliminate long periods of sitting with bent knees, try to move around during your day at the office, even if for short periods of time.Whether you choose yoga poses or other exercises to help tight hip flexors, try to give your hips daily attention and embrace them as critical to your overall wellness.Your journey to better hips may take a little time and dedication, but the results will be worth it!