Hello, sweet release.
Every time you sit down, you’re actively shortening the muscles in your hips, which ultimately makes them feel stiff. Exercise that involves hinging at the hips (like spinning) can make this even worse.
Luckily, some simple-but-incredibly-satisfying stretches can relieve the tension and promote flexibility. Here are six of them, as demonstrated by Bree Branker, a certified yoga instructor and indoor cycling instructor at Flywheel in New York City. Note: You can hold them for as long as you’d like to enjoy extreme *~pLeAsUrE.~*
1. Figure Four: Lie on your back with your arms along your sides, your knees bent, and the soles of your feet on the floor near your butt. Place your right ankle over your left leg, just below the knee. With both hands, grasp your left thigh. Lift your head and shoulders off the ground, and bend your elbows to gently pull your left knee in toward your chest. (You should feel it in your right hip.) Repeat on the opposite side.
2. Standing Bow: Balance on your left foot and bend your right knee as you bring your right foot toward your butt. With your right hand, grab the inside of the right foot. Keeping your hips square to the ground, hinge forward slightly as you reach up and forward with your left hand, and lift the right foot up behind you until you feel the stretch in your right hip. Repeat on the opposite side.
3. Upward-Facing Dog: Lie facedown on a mat with the tops of your feet on the ground and your toes pointed behind you. With bent elbows, place both palms on the ground near your hips. Relax your shoulders as you extend your elbows, and open your chest toward the front of your mat. Take your gaze upward and press into the palms to lift your hips up off the ground. To increase the stretch, increase the arch in your back and press the hips forward.
4. Floor Bow: Lie facedown on a mat and bend both knees to bring your heels toward your butt. With your left hand, reach behind you to grab the outside of your left foot. With your right hand, reach behind you and grab the outside of your right foot. Arch your back as you simultaneously use your hands to lift your knees and chest up off the floor.
5. Supta Virasana With High Hips: Sit on your knees with the tops of your feet pressed against the floor, your toes pointing behind you, and your butt on your heels. Gently lean back and place your elbows on the floor about knees-width apart. Place your left palm on your left heel and your right palm on your right heel. Keeping your neck in line with your spine and your shoulders away from your ears, press your hips up toward the ceiling.
6. Bridge Pose: Lie on your back with your knees bent, the soles of your feet on the floor about hips-width apart, and your arms along your sides, palms facing down. Release the tension in your neck as your press into your arms and shoulders to lift your hips up to the ceiling until you feel the stretch in your hips.