A hip opening pose is a yoga asana that stretches the muscles around the hip joint and pelvis, including the glutes, hamstrings, inner thighs, groin, and core. Common hip opener poses include Happy Baby, Pigeon Pose, Goddess Pose, Prayer Squat, and Wide-Legged Forward Fold.
Hip openers activate muscles related to our stress response, such as the psoas. It is thought that stretching and strengthening these muscles can help rid us of negative stored emotions and release stress. Don’t be surprised if you start feeling emotional while doing a hip-opening pose.
Hip openers help improve the alignment of the joints of the lower back, hips, and legs. When your hips are tight and stiff from sitting at a desk all day, this can cause pain and misalignment in your back and legs. Improving your alignment can help reduce aches and pains and improve balance, posture, and mobility. This can also help you master more advanced yoga poses and deepen your practice.
In traditional yoga philosophy, hip openers are also thought to activate your sacral chakra—the creative center of your body. By focusing on this area, you may nurture your creativity and allow yourself to birth new ideas!