Yoga for Back Health: Got Tight Hip Flexors? 3 Poses for Instant Relief

These simple moves will powerfully balance your legs, pelvis, and spine whether you're at your desk, out and about, or on the mat.
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Got back pain? Want to find relief and begin the healing process? Join Alison West, PhD, C-IYAT, E-RYT, for her new online course, Yoga for Back Health: A 6-Week Clinic for Mobility, Strength, & Pain Relief. This workshop dives into anatomy and asana practices to help you better understand: the structure of the spine; how to evaluate your posture and identify movement patterns; the impact of injuries and conditions, such as herniations, hyperkyphosis, and hyperlordosis; and how to work with those issues through safe yoga sequences, poses, and breathwork. Sign up today!

When it comes to tight hip flexors, there are a few common culprits. The first is sitting for long periods of time. It’s important to note that regardless of whether you are hunched over or upright with perfect posture, if you sit all day, your hip flexors will shorten. The second cause of tight hips is standing with an anterior pelvic tilt, in which the top front of the pelvis drops forward; this shortens both the hip flexors and lumbar muscles. Over time this can lead to compression of spinal tissues and develop into osteoarthritis of the facet joints.

When we talk about hip flexors, multiple muscles are involved, and they play a major role in balancing the pelvis over the legs. For our purposes, the principle muscles are the psoas major and the iliacus (together called the iliopsoas), the rectus femoris (part of the quadriceps muscle group), and the sartorius. There are a number of simple actions that utilize these different muscle groups and can help improve balance between the legs, pelvis, and back. Here are a few quick and easy ways to give your hip flexors some relief throughout the day.