The hip area is a ball-and-socket joint, which forms the foundation for the rest of the body. But activities such as prolonged sitting or slight jarring, tripping, or slipping can move the hips out of alignment. Misalignment in the hips can lead to problems in the spine and lower back, and even the knees and other parts of the body. Certain movements or stretches help realign the hips over time, lessening risk of pain and injury.
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The deep lunge opens the hip flexors, which can be shortened over time with prolonged periods of sitting. Stand and take a large step forward. Slowly bend the front leg, keeping the back leg straight. Tuck your tailbone under and you will feel a stretch in the front of the back leg. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds.
Wide Leg Forward Bend
The wide leg forward bend stretches the inner thighs and hamstrings, which are both muscle groups that connect to the hip area. Tightness in these areas can contribute to misalignment in the hips. Sit on the ground, bringing your legs straight out in front of you. Spread your legs out to a comfortable distance, creating a "V" with them. Slowly lower your upper body forward until you feel a stretch. Hold.
Fire Log Pose
The fire log pose is a yoga pose that stretches the hips intensely, including the piriformis. This is an area in the hips that is often the root of sciatic pain, which is pain in the lower back or in the outside of the buttocks that can radiate down the leg. Opening this area can help alleviate sciatic pain over time. Sit on the floor. Bring the right leg in front, bending the leg at the knee and placing the lower leg parallel to the body on the floor. Place the left leg on top of the right leg, with the knee directly above the ankle and the lower legs parallel to each other, like two logs on top of each other. You may feel a stretch here. If you need more of a stretch, slowly lean forward and hold.
Standing Forward Fold With IT Band Stretch
The forward fold helps stretch the lower back and hamstrings, and adding a twist will focus on the IT band and abductors, muscles that connect from the hip to the knee. Stand with feet hip-width apart. Slowly bend forward from the hips, keeping your back straight so as not to strain. Bring hands to the lower legs or the floor. Slowly twist to one side, bringing the hands to the outside of the lower leg or to the floor on the outside of the foot. Hold here, then slowly twist to the other side.