9 Yoga Poses to Ease Tight Hips and Sore Legs

Open up your chest and stretch your back with camel pose.
Image Credit: Natalia Tabilo/LIVESTRONG.com Creative

The 30-Day Yoga Challenge progresses from foundational poses to more complex asanas with variations and modifications for every body. Get all the details on the challenge here.

For all your legs and hips do for you — walking, running, climbing stairs — do some good for them.

These nine yoga poses from Natalia Tabilo, yoga teacher, creator of Yoga for All Bodies and host of our 30-Day-Yoga Challenge, help stretch and strengthen your lower-body muscles. And though they're meant to be part of our month-long challenge, you can do them whenever and wherever you want.

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Tabilo offers suggestions for modifications and variations in the videos below to help you find a way to make each pose work for you. But you can also play around with positioning and props to find what feels best.

If you're following along with the 30-Day Yoga Challenge, aim to hold each pose for 30 to 60 seconds, breathing in and out through your nose, at least twice a day. But you can do any of these yoga poses as part of a regular practice or on their own whenever you'd like.

Pose 1: Seated Butterfly Pose (Baddha Konasana)

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Skill Level All Levels
Activity Yoga
  1. Sit up tall and bring the soles of your feet together, knees bent and pointing out to the sides.
  2. Use your hands to press your feet together and keep the outer edges of your feet pressed into your mat.
  3. Bring your hands together into prayer position at the center of your heart.

Variations

Try sitting on a chair with your feet on a block and gently resting your hands on your knees or bringing them up to prayer position at your chest.

Pose 2: Seated Wide-Legged Forward Fold (Upavistha Konasana)

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Skill Level All Levels
Activity Yoga
  1. Sit on the mat with your legs spread wide.
  2. Hinge forward at the hips, reaching your arms between your legs. Place your palms on the mat.
  3. Hold here, relaxing into the pose.

Variations

If sitting with your legs spread wide is enough of a stretch, skip the forward fold. You can also stand a bolster between your legs and use it to support your upper body.

Pose 3: Camel Pose (Ustrasana)

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Skill Level All Levels
Activity Yoga
  1. Begin kneeling, rooting your knees, shins and the tops of your feet into the floor. If you don’t have the back flexibility, flex your feet to lift your ankles higher.
  2. Engage your core and shift your hips slightly forward, reaching behind you to set your hands on your heels.
  3. If your neck is flexible, release your head back. Otherwise, look forward.
  4. Place your hands on your lower back and rise slowly back to the starting position.

Variations

Try placing your hands on your lower back, putting a bolster on the tops of your calves and reaching for that or positioning blocks at the sides of your ankles.

Pose 4: Yogi Squat (Malasana)

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Skill Level All Levels
Activity Yoga
  1. In a wide stance with your feet turned slightly out, bend your knees and sink down into a deep squat.
  2. Maintain length in your spine as you lift and open your chest and relax your shoulders away from your ears.
  3. Bring your hands into a prayer position, gently pressing your elbows against your inner thighs.

Variations

Sit on a chair or block(s) for support or stand with a blanket under your heels to help with ankle mobility.

Pose 5: Corpse Pose (Savasana)

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Skill Level All Levels
Activity Yoga
  1. Lie on your back.
  2. Place a small pillow or rolled-up blanket under your head and/or a bolster under your knees if you want.
  3. Find length through your lower back and relax your pelvis and hips.
  4. Let your arms rest by your sides with your palms facing up.
  5. Breathe with ease and relax every part of your body.

Variations

Lie back with a bolster under your knees or lie on your side or belly. You can also try sitting in a chair resting your back on a bolster and your feet on a block.

Pose 6: Hand to Big Toe Pose (Supta Padangusthasana)

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Skill Level All Levels
Activity Yoga
  1. Sit up tall, then loop a strap around the sole of your left foot and hold the strap in both hands.
  2. Inhale and straighten your leg, pressing the left heel forward.
  3. Walk your hands up the strap until your elbows are fully extended.
  4. Draw your shoulders down and away from your ears.

Variations

You can perform this either lying on your back or standing up. And you have the option to use a strap or your hand to reach for your foot. If you don't have a strap, you can keep your leg slightly bent if you don't have the flexibility to straighten your leg.

Pose 7: Knees to Chest (Apanasana)

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Skill Level All Levels
Activity Yoga
  1. Lie down on your back with your knees bent and feet planted, and take a deep inhale.
  2. Exhale as you draw your knees into your chest.
  3. Hug your shins with your hands or forearms.
  4. Rock side to side gently as you breathe naturally.

Variations

Hug your knees to your chest with a strap or place your hands behind your knees if that's more comfortable.

Pose 8: Supine Figure 4 Stretch

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Skill Level All Levels
Activity Yoga
  1. Lie on your back.
  2. Cross your left foot over your right thigh and bend your right knee.
  3. Pull the back of your right leg gently toward your chest.
  4. When you feel a comfortable stretch, hold for 30 to 60 seconds.
  5. Switch sides and repeat.

Variations

Leave one foot on the floor and cross your other foot to the opposite knee, holding there. Or you can pull your supporting leg toward you using a strap wrapped around your shin.

Pose 9: Happy Baby (Ananda Balasana)

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Skill Level All Levels
Activity Yoga
  1. Lie on your back and bend your knees up toward your armpits.
  2. Grab your feet with your hands and pull your knees closer to your armpits, keeping your shins perpendicular to the floor.

Variations

Loop a strap around your feet to gently pull your knees closer to your armpits.

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