How To Use Yoga To Loosen Up Your Hamstrings and Hips in 15 Minutes

by Christopher slack September 18, 2017

How To Use Yoga To Loosen Up Your Hamstrings and Hips in 15 Minutes


Who doesn't suffer from tight hamstrings and hips?

Unfortunately, having tight hamstrings and hips can cause injury, bad posture, and can also negatively affect your overall sense of well being.

I understand, we sit at desks all day, in cars for hours, and even do certain types of exercise that shortens our hamstrings.

Thankfully, there are yoga poses and sequences we can do everyday  to open our hips and hamstrings---to...

strengthen and lengthen all the muscles, joints, and fascia around them.

Yoga Poses To Loosen Up Tight Hips and Hamstrings

Yoga poses to loosen up tight hips and hamstrings 

In yoga, it’s believed that we store emotions in our bodies.  

The hips are one of those key spots.  

To release some of the 

‘issues in our tissues,’ 

We must loosen up those areas of the body to float through life in a more flexible and light-hearted way.  

As this wonderful article on the subject articulates, there are all sorts of benefits to clearing out those tight spaces--- 

  • Injury prevention for runners 
  • Improved posture 
  • Decreased lower back pain 

The list goes on and on.. 

Let’s delve into some of the best asanas to loosen up tight hips and hamstrings. 

If you spend just a bit of time each day in these delicious postures, your hips and hamstrings will experience deep and lasting changes... 

All positive, of course!  

Yoga sequence to open tight hips and hamstrings 

To begin our hip opening/hamstring loosening sequence, let’s start on our backs.  

If you have a yoga strap, grab it now!  


1. Reclined Hamstring Stretch 

For this posture, simply lie on your back and place a yoga stretch band around the arch of your right foot.  

If you don’t have a band grab hold of one of the following: 

  • Hamstring 
  • Calf  
  • Big Toe---depending upon your range of motion.  

You want your left leg to lie straight on the floor while you work towards gently pulling your right knee towards your nose---(using your band or hands) 

Breathe into that right hamstring for several breaths. 

Now, switch sides and do the same.  

To see exactly what this posture looks like, take a look at the first pose in this sequence. 

Time: Hold this stretch for one minute on each side then alternate legs. Do two repetitions on each leg. 

2. Reclined Butterfly 

Reclined butterfly is the perfect posture to come into after the hamstring stretch.  

Continue to lie on your back, and bring the soles of your feet together to touch.  

It’s just like seated butterfly, except in this pose you’re lying down. 

Feel your hips open as you breathe deeply into the tight areas around them.  

To see a visual of reclined butterfly, take a look at this fun video! 

Time:Hold this stretch for 30 seconds. 


Standing Hamstring and Hip Postures 

To transition to your feet, simply pull your knees into your chest for a quick stretch.  

You might want to rock back and forth or from side to side to stretch out your spine. 

Roll onto your right side and then push your way up to sitting, and then to standing, at the front of your yoga mat. 

Time:Rock side to side and rock front to back  for 30 seconds.

3. Standing Forward Bend 

Standing forward bend is exactly as it sounds. Make sure your feet are hip’s width apart and the outer edges of the feet parallel to one another.  

With a slight bend in the knees and a straight spine, fold forward at your hips until your head is dangling towards the floor. 

You can place your hands on the floor, or on your shins. Rest your torso on your thighs if you wish. 

Now breathe deeply into those hamstrings for several breaths.  

Time: Hold this pose for one minute and do two repetitions 

4. Wide-Legged Forward Bend 

Here’s another beautiful asana that is just as it sounds. From a wide legged standing position, bend forward from your hips. 

As in standing forward bend, make sure your legs are slightly bent and the outer edges of the feet parallel to one another.  

The hands can be on your hips, on the floor, or outstretched and resting on your feet.  

Allow your spine and head to dangle freely towards the floor and breathe deeply.  

There’s a beautiful illustration of this posture towards the end of this article Take a look for inspiration! 

Time: Hold for this stretch for one minute and do two repetitions 




5. Tree Pose

Also known as vrksasana, tree pose is one of my all-time favorite poses. 

It’s a beginner’s pose that benefits yoga practitioners of all levels.  

When we come into tree pose, not only do we open our hips, we also work on:  

  • Balance 
  • Focus 

In tree pose, we embody the grounded, strong, and steady nature of a tree. 

It’s one of the most ideal poses for cultivating strength, fortitude, and a healthy opening of the hips.  

Just be sure to do both sides for balance!  

Time: Hold for one minute and two repetitions 


Seated Hip Opening Postures

6. Fire Log Pose 

Fire log pose is a wonderful hip-opener.  

All you need to do is take a seated cross-legged position on your sticky mat.  

Then, you’ll place one of your legs on top of the other, so that your shins are parallel to one another.  

If you’re able to take the stretch further, bend forward at the hips until you come to your edge. 

Hold this position for several deep breaths, then switch sides, placing the other leg on top.  

You should feel a deep stretch in the hip flexors. 

Time: Hold this pose for one minute and do two repetitions 


NOTE: Do either "Lotus Pose" or "Half Lotus".

7. Lotus Pose 

Lotus pose is one of the more advanced poses in the yoga pantheon of poses. 

It’s the one that those super bendy yogic sages sit in when they’re deep in meditation---the one where each foot rests in the crease of the opposite hip. 

Lotus pose is a great hip opener, and one that you’ll be able to master the more you do this hip-opening/hamstring stretching sequence.  

Time: Hold for one minute and do two repetitions 



8. Half Lotus Pose 

If full-lotus pose is too much, half lotus pose is a great way to work your way towards full lotus. 

In this posture, you put just one foot in the crease of your hip, rather than both feet. As you practice half lotus, you’ll want to take turns with both legs, to open both hips.  

Time: Hold for one minute and do two repetitions 

Yoga Props to the Rescue 

When you practice some of these more challenging asanas, yoga props can be super helpful. 

Here are a few props you may find helpful on your journey: 

  • Yoga Stretch Band 

  • Yoga Blankets 
  • Yoga Blocks 
  • Cushions 

For example, in reclined butterfly and lotus pose, you can place props beneath your knees to provide support.  

Yoga blocks help raise the floor to your body, while alleviating some of the pressure on the knees, and hips.  

Have fun with this sequence and find which poses suit your body.  

Then practice them regularly every day. 

Your hips and hamstrings will release what’s stuck and keep your body supple for years to come!  

If you'd like to go into an even deeper stretch routine for tight hamstrings that may seem too stubborn to release in 15 minutes, checkout this extended version below. 

Extended Yoga Hamstring Sequence By "Adriene"



We'd LOVE to hear about your RESULTS!!! 







Christopher slack
Christopher slack

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