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Yoga Poses for Hips

Updated on April 27, 2019
The Dancer's Pose or Natarajasana is a good one for strengthening hips and buttocks.
The Dancer's Pose or Natarajasana is a good one for strengthening hips and buttocks. | Source

What is the Hip Joint?

The dictionary meaning of the word 'hip' is 'a projection of the pelvis and upper thigh bone on each side of the body in human beings and quadrupeds.' The word 'hips' means 'the circumference of the body at the buttocks'. The word 'hip' refers to either an anatomical region or a joint. This part of the human body, the hips and buttocks is where one of the largest and strongest muscles in the body, the gluteal maximus. The purpose of the gluteal maximus is to extend and to laterally rotate the hip, and also the trunk.

The muscles of the hip joint are considered to be 17 in number, sometimes more. These muscles are those that cause the movement in the hip. The hip region is located lateral to the buttocks, inferior to the iliac crest, and overlying the thigh bone.

The primary function of the hip joints is to support the weight of the body in both static and dynamic postures. They are the most important part in retaining balance. The hip muscles act on either the vertebral joints on the spine or the knee joint. Different parts of individual muscles participate in very different movements. Hence the overall strength and movement of the human body depends on maintaining muscle tone of the hips and buttocks.

Bound Angle Pose - Baddha Konasana

Preparation for Yoga Poses for the Hip Region

Having considered the importance of maintaining the strength and muscle tone of the hip region let us find out how to incorporate yoga poses for hips into our yoga asana practice. It is important to remember that spot exercises are not useful unless you plan a proper schedule for overall strengthening and muscle tone.

  • Do yoga poses at least 2.5 hours after a main meal
  • Drink water 0.5 hours before the yoga session
  • Warm Up: Always start with a warm up session. A yoga asana warm up session is not about increasing the heat of the body but doing some stretches to loosen the muscles so that the yoga poses can be performed well.
  • Use a mat on which to do the yoga poses.
  • As a general rule, inhale when your body expands (lifts up) and exhale when your body contracts (moves down, bends or twists).
  • Relax into each pose. Come out of the pose and rest for a minute.
  • Don't stretch or bend to the point of pain. If your muscles shake it means you are overworking them. Do less.
  • Rest between poses in Corpse Pose or Shavasana.
  • Be gentle with yourself.

I found an excellent online resource for yoga poses. Instead of reinventing the wheel I will be mentioning the yoga poses and adding the links to the articles on how to do them. There are many schools of yoga and it is a good idea to do your research and find that is most suitable to you. The following are only my suggestions.

Sphinx Pose

Happy Baby Pose - Hip Opening

Dancer's Pose (Natarajasana)

Easy Yoga Poses for Hips

Following are suggestions for yoga poses or asanas to strengthen the hip muscles that are suitable for beginners:

Bound Angle Pose – Baddha Konasana

Bound Angle, a seated yoga pose, provides an excellent stretch to the groin muscles, increases suppleness in the tendons and muscles of the knees and hips, and improves posture. At first it might be difficult to lower the knees toward the floor but continued practice will make it possible.

Easy Pose – Sukhasana

This basic cross-legged seated posture is often used during meditation or breathing exercises. Be sure to alternate the cross of the legs on different days. This pose strengthens the back and stretches the knees and ankles.

Sphinx Pose

This is is a prone yoga pose is easy yet has many benefits. It strengthens the spine, firms the buttocks and stretches the chest, lungs, shoulders and abdomen.

Downward Dog Pose – Adho Mukhasana

This energizing pose aligns the spinal column, releases tension in the shoulders, and strengthens the arms and legs. It stretches and lengthens the hamstring muscles and Achilles tendons as well as increasing flexibility in the ankles. It also improves the complexion.

Locust Pose - (Full and Half) - Salabhasana

These two prone yoga poses for beginners and advanced students strengthen the lower back, buttocks, and backs of the thighs. They help relieve lower back and posture problems, stretch the hip flexors, energize the nervous system, increase circulation and improve concentration.

Happy Baby Pose – Ananda Balasana

In this supine yoga pose gently brings a greater awareness to the hip joints. It gently stretches the inner groins and the back spine.

Dancer's Pose – Natarajasana

This graceful standing yoga pose strengthens and tones the leg muscles and tightens the muscles of the upper arms, hips and buttocks.

For the above and other more advanced poses for the hips and creating your own sequence check out the Yoga Journal website. All the poses have multiple benefits because the various parts of the body are interconnected. Hence some asanas or poses meant to benefit other parts of the body might help the hip joint and buttock muscles as well. Create your own schedule according to what you would like to achieve.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


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