Hip Opening Poses

Hip opening yoga poses allow for more movement and mobility than other types of yoga poses. Most hip opening yoga postures are suitable for beginning level students, as the majority are easily adapted to any level of strength or flexibility. Hip openers tend to be energetically grounding and focus more on flexibility than strength. Experienced yoga students and yoga instructors will usually practice these asanas in every yoga practice for optimal health and long-term well-being.

What are hip opening yoga postures?

Hip opening yoga postures are any position that opens the hips and helps to stretch the six groups of muscles that create movement in the hip joint. These include mostly floor poses that support the weight of the body to encourage deeper stretching.

There are six groups of hip muscles that are categorized based on movements of the hip. These are important to know as yoga teachers often use these groups when giving instructions and cues in yoga classes. The hip flexors include the psoas muscle that pull your legs upwards, the hip extensors and external rotators include the gluteal muscles, the hip adductors include the leg muscles that pull your legs backwards, and the internal rotators turn your toes towards each other.

Benefits of hip opening poses

Hip opening yoga poses are an excellent way to stretch out tight hip flexors and hamstrings that are often caused by too much sitting. They are also beneficial for improving posture and balance, increase flexibility, and relieve stress. In addition, they reduce the risk of injury, especially in the lower back, by improving flexibility and range of motion in the hips, legs and back. They are an excellent complement to other forms of exercise such as running, cycling, dance, and aerobics.

Tips to practice hip opening yoga poses

  • Place a blanket under hip bones or legs for padding to reduce pain or discomfort.
  • Use bolsters, folded blankets and foam yoga blocks to support a deeper stretch during long holds of these poses.
  • Maintain a slow deep breath while holding these poses, especially the more challenging ones.
  • If you have hip pain, it is best to avoid doing these poses until the pain subsides.
  • Avoid twisting or rotating the knees when doing these asanas. Any rotation in hip opening yoga positions should come from the hip joint, not the knee joint.
  • Hip opening stretches can be very intense, so it is recommended to pause where you feel a comfortable stretch in your hips, and then very slowly move into your deepest stretch.
  • Remember to breathe deeply and slowly throughout the practice of yoga.

36 Hip opening asanas

There are over 35 hip opening poses you can practice. Explore out our list of asanas by image, name and level below. You will find step-by-step instructions, pose benefits, modifications, and Sanskrit pronunciation for each pose.

  • Balancing Bound Angle Pose • dandayamna baddha konasana

    Balancing Bound Angle

    dandayamna baddha konasana

  • Bound Angle pose

    Bound Angle

    baddha konasana

  • Gomukasana • cow face pose

    Cow Face Pose


  • Downward Facing Frog pose • Adho Mukha Mandukasana

    Downward Facing Frog

    Adho Mukha Mandukasana

  • Extended Hand to Toe / utthita hasta padangusthasana

    Extended Hand to Toe

    Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana

  • Extended Leg Squat • utthita namaskarasana

    Extended Leg Squat

    Utthita Malasana

  • Extended One-Legged Pigeon

    Extended One-Legged Pigeon

    Utthita Eka Pada Kapotasana

  • extended supine hand to toe / utthita supta padangusthasana

    Extended Supine Hand to Toe

    Utthita Supta Padangusthasana

  • Fire log yoga pose / Agnistambhasana



  • Flowering Lotus / Vikasitakamalasana

    Flowering Lotus


  • Full Lotus Pose / padmasana

    Full Lotus


  • garland pose / malasana



  • Gracious Pose / bhadrasana

    Gracious Pose


  • Half Lotus yoga pose

    Half Lotus

    ardha padmasana

  • Half Moon • ardha chandrasana

    Half Moon

    Ardha Chandrasana

Yoga Basics