Most of us have inevitably faced hip pain at some point in our lives. It may be a moderate stiffness, tenderness, or shooting pain making us unable to sit, stand, and even – sleep!
Apart from different acute and chronic diseases such as arthritis, various generally overlooked factors such as unhealthy food, sedentary lifestyle, poor posture, and lack of exercise can also cause hip pain.
While most hip pains originate from the hip joint, there are chances that the pain might come from several other structures that surround the joint. Research reveals that while trauma is the most common cause of hip pain, it can also result from an inflammation of muscles, nerves, or tissues at and around the hip joint.
While most people resort to painkillers to relieve their pain, most of these treatment methods are only short-term. When most conservative treatment methods prove inefficient, patients are mainly advised to practice yoga for hip pain.
Yoga not only relieves the pain but also restores mobility and increases muscle strength. Walk through this brief article to understand how you can cure hip pain with yoga.
Reasons to Choose Yoga for Hip Pain
Apart from practicing yoga for hip pain(1) relief, this traditional mind-body therapy can help you achieve an overall sense of well-being, body composition, lung capacity, and more.
You should practice yoga for hip pain because:
Supports Your Joints
Body poses and movements required to practice yoga for hip pain help strengthen the muscles used for the movement and stability of your hip joint.
Stretches Your Muscles
Stretching exercises help alleviate pain, increase your range of motion and muscle strength. Yoga for hip pain is one of the most recommended stretching exercises around.
Opens Up Your Joints
Chronic pain can reduce the range of motion of your hip joint, putting more stress on a smaller portion of it. Yoga for hip pain is very useful in opening up your hip joint to spread the weight across a larger part of it. How to relieve hip pain? If this is the next question running on your mind, read on the below list to find out and ways to use them.
[Read: Natural Remedies for Hip Pain]
‘10’ yoga poses for hip pain relief
1. Parivrtta Anjaneyasana (Revolved Low Lunge Pose)
Sitting in a poor posture for a long time tends to put a continuous flexion on your hip joints. Important hip muscles such as psoas major, rectus femoris(2), and iliacus – which help in hip flexion – get tight and shorten over time.
Parivrtta Anjaneyasana helps in stretching significant muscles such as the iliacus and psoas major for balancing the flexion. Further, reaching back to your foot with your opposite arm aids in increasing stretches of your quadriceps muscles such as rectus femoris, thus relieving pain and restoring your range of motion.
2. Purvottanasana and Figure 4 variations (Table Top and Figure 4 Variations)
Poor postures such as slouching on the couch tend to tip your hips backward – leading to lower back kyphosis, anterior compression for your lumbar spine(3), and a posterior slant of your pelvis.
Figure 4 stretching yoga posture with a little anterior tilting of the pelvis can come handy in engaging the spinal cord and reminding your body to spread weight into your sitz bones in equal proportion, along with stretching the lateral and external rotators of your hip.
Those experiencing discomfort in practicing Figure 4 can release onto the ground to practice “Thread the Needle” yoga pose. Focus on holding the rear part of your thigh instead of the front part of your shin for safeguarding your knee joint from unnecessary stress.
[Read: Yoga for Osteoporosis Treatment]
3. Eka Pada Rajakapotasana – Variation (Pigeon Pose)
The Pigeon Pose variant of the “Eka Pada Rajakapotasana” yoga posture provides a similar action along with stretching the same muscle group as stretched in Figure 4 yoga pose.
While it’s the next move for yogis having wider open hips, those with tight hips must consider sticking to the “Thread the Needle” or Figure 4 pose to avoid putting unwanted weight on the outer side of their knee.
For adding to the lateral and external rotation stretches at your hip joint, lifting your chest and focusing of your shoulders which should be aligned square of the hip area works well to increase the stretching ability of hip flexors – that is iliacus and psoas major muscles. The bending of leg in Figure 4 and Pigeon Pose works to open your inner thigh along with stretching the adductor muscles to relieve pain.
4. Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)
The first three yoga poses discussed above carry asymmetrically analyzed one hip turn by turn, while the Baddha Konasana yoga pose provides a balanced posture to help you work out the balance of the body.
It’s a widely recommended stretching posture for your adductors. Numerous yoga practitioners may find this pose unbearable or extremely uncomfortable and, therefore, it is recommended to start in “Supta Baddha Konasana” (or the Reclining Bound Angle) yoga posture, particularly in case you have extremely tight hips.
[Read: Yoga for Sciatica Relief]
5. Janu Sirsasana (Head-to-Knee Pose)
Although hip joint pain is a widespread and easily noticeable denominator, the manifestation can include tenderness or even pain in your thighs, the inner part of the groin and hip joint, in the hips, or outside your hip joint. In such a condition, you can practice Janu Sirsasana to address all those areas safely.
Janu Sirsasana also provides asymmetrical stretching of your hamstring muscles – that is generally overworked and stressed out when your hip extensors (such as the glutes) become weak due to sitting in a poor posture for longer durations.
6. Virasana – Variations (Half Hero Pose)
The Virasana yoga posture looks easy, but it provides a great stretch to alleviate pain and strengthen your hips. Commonly used as a starter for Krounchasana, the different poses of the Virasana pose are incredibly effective and beneficial standalone poses.
While you tuck one knee away in the half-Virasana, offering an excellent stretch for your quadricep muscles, use your other knee to reach towards your chest – providing a stretch to your hamstring.
You can cradle the knee with your arms to offer an extra bit of love to your lateral and external rotators. Besides, you can rock your body and leg gently to a take a brief pause during the yoga posture, and offering some self-love, care, and nourishment to your body.
[Read: Power Yoga for Weight Loss]
7. Bharadvajasana – Variation
Bharadvajasana, also known as the ‘Splatter Paint,’ is another effective yoga pose for hip pain that provides a mild twist in your spinal code and releases the compression from your lower back and hip region. It also offers an excellent stretch to medial and internal rotators such as minimus and gluteus medius. You can even feel a gentle stretch in the abductors.
8. Knocked Knees
It’s a soothing and nourishing releaser. After a good round of lateral and external rotator stretches, or adductor stretches, this knocked-knees yoga posture for hip pain is sort of passive releaser pose than a gentle muscle activator.
Also, practicing the Knocked Knees yoga pose reclined provides mostly passive benefits and aids in slowing down your heart rate. You should practice this posture with your feet at around mat-distance and gently release your knees together to finish.
9. Supta Garudasana – Leg Variation (Reclining Eagle Pose)
Instead of having your legs work out intensely in standing Eagle post or the Garudasana, the reclined variation, known as the Supta Garudasana, which involves only a twist of the leg, helps the yogi add quality and effectiveness to the stretches of your glutes.
Also, with your arms wide open in T-shape, your shoulder blades may remain flat and rooted on the mat to offer a good twist to the spine.
Stare in the direction opposite to where your legs fall for increasing a spinal twist, otherwise gaze in the direction of your knees for creating improved restorative quality and slightly less twist for the posture.
[Read: Acupuncture for Back Pain Relief]
10 Ananda Balasana (Happy Baby Pose)
Practice Ananda Balasana (Ananda meaning bliss or happiness) after all the moving, twisting and turning of your hips! Rest on your back and softly take your knees towards the armpits. Your thighs will eventually melt on to the ground near the ribs. Take some more deliberate breaths at this stage and think of gradually easing out the tension from your hips.
After 4-6 deep breaths, position yourself in Savasana and stay there for at least 5 to 10 minutes.
NOTE: If you are wondering how long to hold yoga poses? know that is an alternative therapy- the more you do, the more benefits it yields.
Points to Remember Before Practicing Yoga Postures for Hip Pain
While yoga is safe, there are certain points that you must remember to get the best results from yoga for hip pain, such as:
- Avoid overexertion and overuse of the same muscle as it might lead to Repetitive Strain Injury. Don’t practice the same posture or sequence of poses over and over again.
- Understand the limitations of your body. While the hip joint has the potential to provide a wide range of motion, not everyone can achieve all or most of these mobility potentials. Trying to practice those mobility zones in yoga postures can do more harm than good.
- Before practicing yoga postures for hip pain, warm your body up gently with simple aerobics such as jogging, mild stretching, etc., and end with Savasana to relax and foster your body after a session of yoga for hip pain.
Hip joint can be regarded amongst the strongest joints in the human body and, being a typical “ball and socket joint,” it offers a wide range of motion. While it is highly resilient against normal wear out, it is not indestructible.
Therefore, it is recommended that you take good care of your hip joint with muscle strengthening and stretching exercises for hip pain, to prevent injuries, avoids normal wear out, muscle pain, and other similar issues. Yoga for hip pain delivers great results to help you manage pain, improve muscle strength, and restore mobility of your hips.