12 simple and easy yoga for hip pain poses to find relief 

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 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).

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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.

Variations include:

  • 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.

5. Happy baby

Lie on your back and draw your knees to your chest. Open your knees wider than your body, and reach between them to grab the outside of your feet (or your ankles or calves). Open your feet to “stand” on the ceiling, flexing the toes toward you.

Keep your lower back on the earth and your head and shoulders relaxed. With each exhale, allow your knees to soften towards the ground. You can also apply traction by pressing your feet into your hands as your hands pull gently down on your feet. Rocking side to side can help relieve tension in the lower back, too. Stay here for at least ten breaths.

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6. Seated twist

A seated twist releases lower back tension that may cause hip pain.

Start with both legs extended out in front of you. Sit tall with a long spine. Bend your right knee and stack it on top of your left knee. You can keep your left leg extended forward with the toes flexed, but if your hips are feeling open and you can keep both sitting bones on the ground, bend the left knee and bring the left foot towards your right hip. Hug your body towards your right knee with both arms.

Inhale and lift your right arm up and overhead, placing the palm on the ground behind you. You can keep hugging your right knee with your left arm if this twist is enough, or you can hook your left elbow on the outside of your right knee for a deeper twist. As you inhale, lengthen your spine until you feel the crown of your head lifting towards the sky.

As you exhale, pull your navel to your spine to deepen the twist. Stay here for five to ten breaths, then unwind on an inhale and shake out your legs before moving to the other side.

7. Twisted root

Lie on your back with knees folded into your chest. Open arms into the shape of a “T.” Cross your right leg over your left, twining them around each other (like a twisted root). Inhale deeply, and on an exhale, drop your legs over to the right. You can look left if your neck feels good.

With each breath, relax your left shoulder closer to the earth, and allow your legs to get heavy. Stay here for at least ten deep, even breaths, then switch sides.

8. Easy pose with a forward fold

Sit on the floor with legs crossed. If your knees are very high off the ground, you can support them with yoga blocks. Inhale and lengthen the spine, then exhale and fold forward, arms outstretched in front of you.

Stay here for at least ten breaths, then inhale to rise up, switch the cross of your legs, and fold forward again.

9. Bound angle

Sit on the floor. Bring the soles of your feet to touch and allow your knees to open to the sides. Hands can be wrapped around the feet or ankles. If your knees are very high off the ground, you can sit on a blanket or a bolster and place yoga blocks under your knees to support them.

Lengthen your spine, and on an inhale begin to hinge at the hips to fold forward. Do not round the spine, especially if you have lower back pain. This fold may be very slight, but that’s okay. Tuck your chin to your chest, close your eyes, and take ten deep, even breaths.

10. Firelog

From a seated position, bend your right leg and bring your shin parallel to the top of your yoga mat. Bend your left knee and place the left shin on top of the right so that knee stacks on ankle and ankle stacks on knee (like logs for a fire). If there is a gap between your left knee and your right ankle, use a yoga block or a blanket for support.

This can be quite intense, just like this, but if you would like a deeper stretch, inhale deeply and begin to fold forward. Hold either variation (upright or folded) for at least 90 seconds (but up to five minutes) before switching to the other side.

11. Pigeon pose

Start on all fours. Bring your right knee to the outside of your right wrist and extend your left leg long behind you. Try to keep your hips level. Adjust the intensity of the stretch by moving your right foot closer to your left hip (less intense) or more towards parallel with the top of your wat (more intense). You can also place a yoga block or a blanket underneath your right hip if it need support.

Stay lifted for a few breaths, then, on an exhale, slowly begin to fold forward over your right leg. You can come to forearms on the mat, onto blocks, or all the way to your forehead. Take your time and go slowly, following your deep, even breath. Stay here for at least 90 seconds (and up to five minutes).

Press into your hands to lift your torso slowly, then take any stretches or movements you need before moving to the other side.

12. Wall figure 4

Wall figure 4 can be extremely intense, even more so than pigeon. This is a directed opening of the hip that some practitioners find too intense.

To come into the pose, sit with your back against a wall and bend your knees, placing both feet on the ground. Pick your right foot up and place your right ankle on your left knee. Move your left foot out as far as you need to get your ankle placed, then gradually move your left foot toward your sitting bones.

You will feel an intense stretch of the muscles of the hip, including the piriformis. Hold for at least five breaths but up to five minutes, then release and move to the other side.

Yoga for hip pain programs

For those of us who prefer some guidance as you start yoga hip stretches, here are some video practices to try.

Chair yoga for hips (less active)

This gentle, short, hip opening practice is great for people with limited mobility who want to ease into yoga for hip pain.

Chair yoga for hips (more active)

This hour-long practice is more energetic but still offers excellent support for the hips, lower back, and hamstrings. Poses to build upper body strength are included, but the focus really is on hip opening, stretching, and strengthening.

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Yoga for hips and lower back release

A full (but short) practice that works the whole body with breath and stretching through the lower back and hips. Good pace for beginners.

Hip emergency for tight hips

Good for advancing beginners, this 20-minute class explores hip opening in pigeon but also in more active poses, such as three-legged dog.

Three stretches for tight hips and mobility

Another short video for intermediate practitioners that explores pigeon, shoelace, and a variation on half lotus.

Yoga poses to avoid with hip pain

While yoga is a wonderful, non-invasive way to gently relieve hip pain, there are a few things to look out for. People with hypermobility in their joints may need to increase stability or risk further injury. Hypermobility in the joints means that the tendons and ligaments are exceptionally flexible. Without building strength and stability, this flexibility can result in dislocations or other injury.

Additionally, people with hip pain from arthritis may experience painful inflammation if they place all of their body weight on the joint and hold it there for an extended period of time (as in pigeon, for example). Using props to support the body’s weight can help, as can moving in and out of the posture, slowly and following the breath, to gently increase your range of motion and strength.

The best way to avoid injury and protect yourself as you do yoga for hip pain is to listen to your body. If you feel a sharp, stabbing pain in any pose, back out of it and either use props to make it more approachable or try another less intense pose or variation.

Another indication that a pose is too deep is your breath. If your breath becomes short and shallow, and you feel like you cannot draw a deep, slow breath, the pose is too intense at this point in your practice.

Ultimately, you should feel good in your practice, even as you stretch and work your hips. This doesn’t mean there won’t be effort and some “therapeutic irritation,” but you should be able to breath and work gently through the minor discomfort that arises. If not, take a break, talk to your doctor, or head to a nearby yoga class for in-person guidance.

Other minimally-invasive hip pain treatments

If yoga for hip pain doesn’t fully relieve your hip pain, there are other minimally-invasive treatments that can help. These include:

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