Yoga for Hips and Hamstrings

Use this sequence in your home practice when you want to work on stretching your hips and hamstrings. Doing these poses at home gives you the chance to take your time going deeper into each pose. Try staying in each pose for at least five breaths.

Half Lotus Pose - Ardha Padmasana

Half Lotus Pose - Ardha Padmasana. © Barry Stone

Let's start with some hip openers. Begin in half lotus pose with the right leg on top. Move your torso in big circles as you begin to loosen up the hips. Take your circling in both directions and then come into a forward bend over your legs. Spend some time here breathing deeply into the hips. Switch your legs so that your left leg is on top and repeat the circling and forward bending.

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Pigeon Pose - Eka Pada Rajakapotasana Prep

Forward Bend in Pigeon
Forward Bend in Pigeon. © Barry Stone

Swing your leg leg all the way around so that it's outstretching behind you and you are in a pigeon with the right leg forward. Inhale and lengthen the spine, then exhale and forward bend over the front leg. Stay here and breath, working into the hips. Then come up and swing the left leg forward and the right leg back, coming into pigeon on the other side.

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Knee to Ankle Pose - Agnistambhasana

Knee to Ankle Pose. © Barry Stone

Swing the right leg forward and stack it on top of the left, coming into knee to ankle. This can be intense on the hips so use your ujjayi breath. You can take it deeper by coming into a forward bend if you want. Then come up and switch your legs so that the left leg is on top.

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Standing Forward Bend - Uttanasana

Uttanasana and Flat Back
Uttanasana and Flat Back. © Barry Stone

Now for some hamstring stretches. Come up to stand in uttanasana. Spend some time going back and froth between uttanasana and a flat back, taking your forward bend a little deeper each time, working towards getting the palms flat on the floor.

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Pyramid Pose - Parsvottonasana

Parsvottonasana. © Barry Stone

Step the left leg back about three feet. Keep your hips squared and level as you forward bend over the front leg. You can also come up into a flat back here and lengthen the spine before forward bending again a few times. Then switch the legs so that the left leg is in front.

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Standing Straddle Forward Bend - Prasarita Padottanasana

Standing Straddle Forward Bend - Prasarita Padottanasana. © Barry Stone

Now let's bring together the hip opening and hamstring stretching of the previous poses. Turn the feet to parallel and widen your stance. Keeping the back flat, take a forward bend. Depending on how open you feel, try bringing the palms flat and in line with you feet. You can work on bending the elbows or maybe even take the elbows to the floor.

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