Many people when they hear the term “muscle tightness” immediately think of their inability to touch their toes. Admittedly, tight hamstrings can lead to a host of painful conditions and injuries.
That said, general hip inflexibility is also a glaring problem in the average person. Tightness in this area can cause back pain, weakness, and a generally reduced quality of life.
Fortunately, the cure for many cases of tight hips can be found through yoga practice. In particular, one of my favorite yoga exercises to loosen limited hips is the Dove Pose (AKA Half Dove Pose).
Tight hips and the epidemic of sitting
Unfortunately, the modern lifestyle lends itself to muscle stiffness throughout the body. Most of us spend many more hours sitting and barely moving than in any other position.
Think about it: we’re on the way to work, we’re sitting when we get to work, we’re on the way home, and we’re sitting when we get home. That’s a lot of hours sitting!
There is nothing wrong with sitting. From time to time we all need to plop down and rest. This free time gives us the chance to rest, recover and prepare for our next activity. The only problem is that most of us rarely participate in activities!
When we spend most of our lives sitting, we force our hips into a specific position that tightens our hip flexors and weakens the muscles throughout our body.
The solution for tight hips
In general, we all need to move a little more to improve our posture and hip flexibility. Walking, jogging, cycling and lifting weights are all great items to add to our routines.
However, when it comes to the very specific problem of tight hips, yoga is king.
There are so many great yoga poses, it’s hard to pick just one! However, to isolate the hips, I tend to lean towards the pigeon pose.
Pigeon pose for tight hips
Pigeon pose serves as a hip flexor stretch, a hip rotator stretch, and an excellent choice for encouraging lower body flexibility. Furthermore, there are numerous variations that can be made to pose pigeons to make it easier or more difficult.
How to do a half pigeon pose
Credit: Yogainternational.com Start in quadruped (both knees and both hands on the floor). Slowly bring your right ankle forward and place it on the floor in front of your left knee. Then slide your left knee back as far as you can while continuing to push your right ankle forward. At this point, your right knee should point directly to your right side and your right ankle should point directly to your left side. After a few deep breaths, try to sink further into the stretch by stretching your arms forward and your chest to lower to the floor. Hold this position for 30-60 seconds, or for 10 very deep, slow breaths. Repeat the same stretch on the other side.
Of course, if the pigeon pose is too much for you as described, feel free to adjust it! Using pillows and/or yoga blocks during this stretch makes it much more comfortable. Simply place one of these items under your butt while you are stretching to reduce the difficulty.
Yoga is a great exercise for both body and mind. The stretching and meditative components make this form of exercise one of the best out there.
If you are new to yoga, or in particular pigeon pose, be sure to take your time. You probably won’t be able to stretch as far as your instructor right away. But if you keep practicing consistently, you’ll be there before you know it, and your hips will thank you!
This post The Half Pigeon Stretch Can Help Men Over 50 Loosen up Tight Hips was original published at “https://www.fitwirr.com/workout/half-pigeon-pose/”