It’s not very hard to find someone to commiserate with about tight hips. Tight hips are right up there with lower-back pain and knee pain as modern-day ailments many adults deal with on the reg. Like any pain or achiness, there are many potential causes. But for a lot of people, it often comes down to spending a lot of time sitting down—at work, while commuting, watching TV, whatever.

Sitting for several hours a day is commonly cited as the main source of hip tightness. That’s because when you sit all day, your hip muscles are in a shortened position for a very long time. Eventually, this can make them super tight. Tightness can feel straight up uncomfortable, and it really doesn’t do you any favors when you’re trying to do other workouts—tight hips can effect your range of motion, which can impact everything from how deeply you can squat or lunge to the ease of your running stride. Tight hip flexors (in the front) can also make it harder for your glutes to activate, which can lead other muscles to compensate and take on more work than they can handle (like those in the low back), increasing your risk of injury.

If you’re trying to get rid of hip tightness, yoga is a great option. As always, be sure to talk with your doctor before starting a new fitness routine, and if you feel any sort of pain doing these moves, stop doing them and consult a professional.

1. High Crescent Lunge/Utthita Ashwa Sanchalanasana

  • Take a big step forward with your left foot to start in a staggered stance, with your feet almost mat-length apart.
  • Bend your front knee and keep your back leg straight and heel lifted off the floor. Try to bend your front leg so that your thigh is parallel to the floor.
    Square your hips toward the front.
  • Extend your arms toward the ceiling on either side of your head and stretch up as you also press into the mat and feel the stretch in your hips.
  • Hold for at least 5 breaths and then repeat on the other side.
    Quick note: Different instructors may have slightly different interpretations of lunge variations. While some may call this Crescent Lunge, others may simply call it High Lunge, which can also mean a similar pose where the hands are placed on the mat on either side of the front leg.
    Stretches the hip flexors and quads.
  1. High Crescent Lunge/Utthita Ashwa Sanchalanasana
  2. Take a big step forward with your left foot to start in a staggered stance, with your feet almost mat-length apart.
  3. Bend your front knee and keep your back leg straight and heel lifted off the floor. Try to bend your front leg so that your thigh is parallel to the floor.
    Square your hips toward the front.
  4. Extend your arms toward the ceiling on either side of your head and stretch up as you also press into the mat and feel the stretch in your hips.
  5. Hold for at least 5 breaths and then repeat on the other side.
    Quick note: Different instructors may have slightly different interpretations of lunge variations. While some may call this Crescent Lunge, others may simply call it High Lunge, which can also mean a similar pose where the hands are placed on the mat on either side of the front leg.
    Stretches the hip flexors and quads.

2. Low Lunge/Anjaneyasana

  • From high lunge, simply drop your back knee to the floor, keeping the leg extended long and the shin flat on the mat.
  • Hold for at least 5 breaths and then repeat on the other side.
    Stretches the hip flexors and quads.

3. Lizard Pose/Utthan Pristhasana

  • From a low lunge, walk your left foot out wide to the edge of your mat. Place both your hands on the floor on the inside of your left foot.
  • You can hold there if that’s enough of a stretch for you. If you’re looking for a deeper stretch, you can place your forearms on the floor.
  • For an even deeper stretch (pictured above) roll onto the outer edge of your left foot, letting your knee open away from your body. Keep your right hand on the floor for support, and use the left to gently press your left knee away from your body.
  • Hold for at least 5 breaths and then repeat on the other side.
    This is a variation on Lizard pose that stretches the outer hip (adductor) muscles, including the gluteus medius.

4. Lizard Pose Twist

  • From Lizard Pose, roll onto your right quad and open your chest to out to the left.
  • Bend your right knee and grab your right foot with your left hand.
  • Hold for at least 5 breaths and then repeat on the other side.
    This is another variation on Lizard Pose that stretches the hip flexors and quads in addition to the outer hip (adductor) muscles, like the gluetus medius.

5. Hero Pose/Virasana

  • Kneel with your knees together, thighs perpendicular to the floor, the tops of of your feet facing down.
  • Slide your feet apart so they are slightly wider than your hips, and press the tops of your feet evenly into the mat.
  • Slowly sit down on your mat in between your feet. If this puts too much pressure on your knees or your hips feel too tight, you can place a block under your tailbone for support (as shown).
  • Use your hands to turn the top of your thighs inward and roll your calves outward to allow space for your legs. Rest your hands on your thighs.
  • Hold for at least 5 breaths.

6. Cow Face Pose/Gomukhasana

  • From all fours (tabletop position), cross your right knee in front of your left knee, so your knees are in one line.
  • Widen your knees so that you can sit your hips down on the mat in between your feet. If one of your hips is higher than the other, sit on a block or a blanket.
  • You can remain sitting upright if that’s enough of a stretch for your hips. If you feel you can go deeper, fold your body forward over your thighs and reach your arms out in front of you, pressing your palms into the mat. If you do fold forward, you may want to rest your forehead on a block in front of your knees.
  • Hold for at least 5 breaths and then repeat on the other side.
    Stretches the outer hip (abductor) muscles, including the gluteus medius.

7. Half Pigeon Pose/Ardha Kapotasana

  • From Downward-Facing Dog, extend your left leg high, and then bring your leg underneath your body and place it in front of you, with your shin parallel to the top of your mat.
  • Extend your right leg straight behind you. Rest the top of your foot on the floor.
  • Keep your left foot flexed. Try to keep your right hip as close to the mat as you can. If it lifts off the floor, bring your left foot in a little closer to your body.
  • Stay upright for three breaths. Then, fold over and rest your head on the ground for at least 5 breaths.
  • Repeat on the other leg.
    Stretches the outer hip (abductor) muscles, including the gluteus medius.

8. Supine Pigeon/Supta Kapotāsana

  • Lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor.
  • Cross your left foot over your right quad.
  • Lift your right leg off the floor. Grab onto the back of your right leg and gently pull it toward your chest.
  • When you feel a comfortable stretch, hold there.
  • Hold for at least 5 breaths and then repeat on the other side.
    Stretches the outer hip (abductor) muscles, including the gluteus medius.

9. Garland Pose/Malasana (Yoga Squat)

  • From a seated position, place your feet wider than shoulder-width apart, feet flat on the floor, toes facing out. Your torso should be upright.
  • Place your hands in prayer position in front of your chest, elbows pointed out to the sides.
    Use your elbows to press your knees open.
  • Hold for at least 5 breaths.
    Stretches the inner thigh muscles (hip adductors).

10. Happy Baby/Ananda Balasana

  • Lie faceup with both knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
    Lift your feet off the floor and grab the outside edges of your feet with your hands.
  • Gently pull your feet toward your chest and let your knees lower toward the floor on either side of your body. Keep your back flat on the floor.
  • Hold for at least 5 breaths.
    Stretches the inner thigh muscles (hip adductors).

11. Locust Pose/Salabhasana

  • Lie face down with your arms long by your sides, palms facing down, and fingertips reaching toward your feet. Your legs should be together with the tops of your feet pressing into the mat.
  • On an inhale, lift your forehead, chest, legs, and arms. Keep your gaze toward the top of your mat so that you maintain one long line with your neck and your spine.
  • Hold for at least 5 breaths.
    Strengthens the hamstrings.

12. Triangle/Trikonasana

  • Take a big step forward with your left foot to start in a staggered stance, with your feet almost mat-length apart.
  • Extend your arms so that they are parallel to the floor.
  • Bend your left knee so that it’s at or near a 90-degree angle, your thigh parallel to the floor, while keeping the right leg straight.
  • Point your left toes forward and turn your right foot out to the right so that it’s perpendicular to your left foot. Your left heel should be in line with the arch of your right foot.
  • At the same time, twist your torso to the right so that your left hip is facing toward the front of the room and your right hip is facing toward the back. Your left arm and your head should both be pointing forward and your right arm should be pointing back. You’re now in Warrior II/Virabhadrasana II.
  • From here, straighten your front leg. Then, reach forward with your left hand toward the ground. Tilt your torso forward and rotate it open to the right side.
  • Rotate your arms to 6 and 12 o’clock. Rest your left hand on your shin, or the floor if you can, and extend your top arm fingers toward the ceiling. Make sure to press your front heel into the ground to increase hamstring engagement.
  • Hold for at least 5 breaths and then repeat on the other side.
    Stretches and strengthens the hamstrings.

13. Bridge Pose/Setu Bandha Sarvangasana

  • Lie faceup, arms extended by your sides, knees bent so that your feet are flat on the floor.
  • Press through your heels to lift your hips up and walk your feet in a few steps toward your body, keeping your feet and knees hip-width apart and your feet directly underneath your knees.
  • Interlace your fingers underneath your body and press your fist into the mat.
  • Hold for at least 5 breaths.
    Strengthens the glutes.