If you are suffering from hip pain and want to try exercise for relief, yoga for hip pain may be the answer. Here are 12 simple poses (and five videos) to get you started!
Can yoga help hip pain?
The short answer to whether or not yoga can help relieve hip pain is yes, but knowing some hip anatomy can help you better understand why.
The hip joint is a ball-and-socket type joint that consists of the thighbone (the top of your femur bone, the trochanter, is the “ball” of the joint) nestled into the three bones that combine to make the “socket” portion (the ilium, the ischium, and the pubis).
Inside the joint itself, smooth white cartilage covers the head of the femur and lines the acetabulum (the cup that receives the femur). Synovial fluid created in the joint lining cushions and lubricates movement in the joint. This helps bones move without pain or irritation. Outside of the bones, ligaments, tendons, and muscles work together to further stabilize the joint and prevent dislocation.
Yoga for hip pain helps to strengthen and stabilize your entire hip joint while gently stretching and lengthening tendons and ligaments to increase the hip’s range of motion. It is low impact and easy to adjust for beginners and more experienced practitioners. Yoga also relieves the stress that comes with a pain condition, balancing the body and mind.
Keep reading for some good poses to help you get started!
12 yoga for hip pain poses
These yoga poses for hip pain can be done at any level of fitness, from chair yoga to more complicated and intense stretches. It is important to talk to your doctor before beginning any new fitness program. A qualified yoga teacher can also help you modify poses to your level of experience. As always, if something does not feel right in your body, back out of the pose and try something else.
Here are 12 of our favorite yoga poses for hip pain.
1. Legs up the wall
Legs up the wall is a restorative pose that can release the lower back. Lower back tension often leads to hip pain, and this simple posture is a great way to relax and unwind at the end of the day.
Sit so that your right hip is touching the wall. Lean back onto your forearms, and as you do so, swing your legs up the wall. Your sitting bones may make contact with the wall, but if that is too intense on your hamstrings, move them away as far as you need to. Allow your arms to relax at your sides and your eyes to close. Stay here for several minutes.
- Bending your knees and bringing the soles of the feet to touch, allowing knees to open
- Opening legs in a straddle up the wall
2. Chair figure 4
This posture is great for people who have difficulty getting up and down from the floor (and those who need yoga for hip arthritis).
Sit on a chair with both of your feet on the floor, directly beneath your knees. Pick up your right foot and place the right ankle on the left knee. Using your breath, place gentle pressure on the right knee to keep moving it towards the floor (but don’t press hard and back out if it hurts your knee).
Stay here for at least ten breaths, then switch sides.
3. Reclined figure 4
If you can get up and down from the floor with ease, reclined figure 4 is a great hip opening practice for you.
Lie on your back with knees bent and feet on the floor. Place your right ankle on your left knee, allowing your right knee to press away from your face. You can stay here, or, on an inhale, lift your left foot off the floor, moving your left thigh towards you. Interlace your hands around your left thigh and pull the thigh towards you as you press the thigh into your hands.
This can get intense, so go slowly. Stay here for at least ten breaths, then switch sides.
4. Baby cradle
Baby cradle is a good warm up stretch as you increase your hip flexibility. Sitting on the floor, bend your right knee and lift your right leg up so that you can wrap your right arm around your knee and your left arm around your right foot (cradling your lower leg like you would a baby).
You can move gently from side to side or in circles, exploring motion in the hip joint. Hold for several breaths, then switch sides.