The tissues of the hips and pelvis are a postural roundabout between the legs and feet below them and the spine above them. Improving the hips’ mobility and stability will directly impact the whole body, and your basic upright posture will be a bit more uplifted and balanced. And it can be done in just a few minutes per day, with our yoga hip block stretches!

Do this Leg Stretch Series on a block 3-4 times weekly (up to six times per week if you are extra active) and you will see a significant difference.

1. You will need a yoga block, a strap and a wall.

2. It is also helpful to have a timer so that you can time your holds. Hold each pose for the exact amount of time. Time your poses anywhere between 45 seconds and 2 minutes.

3. Breathe deeply and consistently throughout.

Leg Stretch #1


  • Prop your pelvis on a yoga block and firmly place right foot on wall with toes pointing skyward.
  • Wrap the fingers around the left big toe, or wrap a strap around the left foot’s instep while straightening the back of the left knee.
  • Feel stretching in two places at once: the back of the left thigh (hamstrings) and the front of the right thigh (hip flexors).
  • Breathe deeply for 45 seconds up to 2 minutes, then switch sides.

Leg Stretch #2


  • Prop your pelvis on a yoga block and firmly place right foot on wall with toes pointing skyward.
  • Hold onto the back of the left heel with the left hand, or wrap a strap around the left foot’s instep while straightening the back of the left knee without letting the pelvis lean off of the brick.
  • Feel stretching in three places at once: the back of the left thigh (hamstrings), the left leg’s inner thigh (adductors) and the front of the right thigh (hip flexors)
  • Breathe deeply for 45 seconds up to 2 minutes, then switch sides.

Leg Stretch #3


  • Turn the right foot and leg to the right 90º so that side of the right foot is on the floor while the sole of the foot is on the wall with toes pointing towards the right. Adjust the brick so that it fully supports the side of the right hip.
  • Hold onto the side of the left foot with the right hand, or wrap a strap around the left foot’s instep while straightening the back of the left knee.
  • Guide the left leg across the body until the left foot touches the floor.
  • Feel stretching in any of the following places at once: the back of the left thigh (hamstrings), the left buttocks, the lower back.
  • Breathe deeply for 45 seconds up to 2 minutes, then switch sides.

Let me know how it goes!

Find these easy hip exercises and more on my Post-Athletic Stretch Routines or get an entire postural retrofit with my Yoga Tune Up® At-Home Program.

Read our post about avoiding hip pain.

Practice yoga at home with streaming videos on GaiamTV.com!

Watch our Yoga hip stretch videos on YouTube.

Jill Miller

Jill Miller, C-IAYT, ERYT is the co-founder of Tune Up Fitness Worldwide and creator of the self-care fitness formats Yoga Tune Up® and The Roll Model® Method. With more than 30 years of study in anatomy and movement, she is a pioneer in forging relevant links between the worlds of fitness, yoga, massage, athletics and pain management. She is known as the Teacher’s Teacher and has trained thousands of movement educators, clinicians, and manual therapists to incorporate her paradigm shifting self-care fitness programming into athletic and medical facility programs internationally. She has crafted original programs for 24 Hour Fitness, Equinox, YogaWorks, and numerous professional sports teams. She and her team of 500+ trainers help you to live better in your body with an emphasis on proprioception, mobility, breath mechanics and recovery. She has presented case studies at the Fascia Research Congress and International Association of Yoga Therapy conferences. She has the rare ability to translate complex physiological and biomechanical information into accessible, relevant moves that help her students transform pain, dysfunction and injury into robust fitness. Jill is the anatomy columnist for Yoga Journal Magazine and has been featured in Shape, Men’s Journal, Good Housekeeping, Women’s Health, Yoga Journal, Self, and on the Today Show and Good Morning America. Jill is regularly featured on the Oprah Winfrey Network. She is the creator of dozens of DVD’s including Treat While You Train with Kelly Starrett DPT and is the author of the internationally bestselling book The Roll Model: A Step by Step Guide to Erase Pain, Improve Mobility and Live Better in your Body. Based in Los Angeles, CA, she is a wife and mother of two small children and is currently writing her second book.

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Beth Prandini

This reminds me of the poses we learned day one of The Yoga Tune Up Certification, but with a block. Can’t wait to try with the extra feedback of the block.

Amanda

Using the block was a game changer for sure!

Charlene Lowe

Thank you. I can’t wait to try these. I’m slways looking for new ways to open my hips.

Catherine de Marin

Thank you for this creative way to go deeper into hips and also extension!

Susan J

These stretches have really helped me open my hips and extra release from the block is amazing.

Lee

Just started using this series with children in wheelchairs who spend much of the school day braced in hip flexion, many who are strapped in flexion with hip belt. They appear to get great release and, as they are unable to stand or weight bear, these are easily accessible postures that cleverly utilise the height of the block to bring both weight (gravity and resistance) and increase hip extension.

Vanessa Morales

I’m SO glad I found this blog post! I have a hard time in many poses due to the lack of flexibility in my hips. I will definitely begin to incorporate these exercises into my daily routine, and I’m excited to post my results as well. Thanks for sharing!

I

Michelle

What a great stretch! I have never tried to stretch this way, supported on a block! It really makes a difference extending out the psoas muscle. I feel that I get a deeper stretch in the illiopoas. I love that is is so fast and easily accessible and only takes a few minutes! Thanks for sharing this pose!

Michelle

I love this stretching routine and it is so easy and quick for the general population to do. This was my first time trying the pose on a block supporting my hips. What a fantastic variation! It really helps to get the extension of the psoas and opens my hips deeper then just laying on the mat! Thanks for sharing this pose! Happy hips for everyone!

Alex Booth

Jill this hip stretch series is absolutely amazing. As someone who both sits all the time and also does a lot of heavy lifting I put my poor hips through a lot of punishment. We did this series for quite a while in class the other day (longer than I would have every bothered to do on my own) and my squat felt so great afterwards. I’m excited and curious to see what kind of changes I can make if I do this 4-6 times weekly as you prescribe!

Hip Conditons

This is a great stretching routine to prevent muscle strain. For those who are new to yoga like me, it’s safer if you practice this routine with someone who actually does yoga. I personally find it hard to execute, let’s not try to be brave, it won’t do us any good. Strained muscle can cause hip flexor pain. If you are not sure of the correct form in doing yoga exercise, ask a friend who does or better yet ask your yoga instructor. Better safe than sorry.

Courtney K

I have just booked marked this article and will print it out to keep my desk as a reminder to do this as much as I can. Most likely hip stiffness is due from two things for me: sitting at a desk all day and lack of stretching them out on a daily basis. I don’t necessarily have hip pain or issues, but it is one area of my body I always find a bit behind the rest when it comes to extension and flexion. Based on the results of the comments on this article, it seemed to have worked… Read more »

Lou Shapiro

In the training, the assists on these poses were very empowering & enlightening. For those doing this on their own, might using a corner be a good assist for the horizontally extended leg? Might a soft weight hanging from the heel be a safe downward pressure – or would the process of getting it there be too disruptive to making the right anatomical adjustments? What about checking alighnment? Have you any advice, short of mirrors on the ceiling? Thanks! 🙂

Laurie Streff Kostman

Yes! Tight low back muscles from static positions like sitting for long hours, coupled with overworked upper leg muscles from spinning and running have my hips in a bunch – literally. This leg series is a true savior that brings length and balance to tight hip areas. Also, with the closed chain of the floor leg, I find these poses bring terrific awareness to what is really going on in the pelvis, or not, during the stretches. But the best part for me is the benefit of being able to depress the sides of the pelvis during the stretches (to… Read more »

Kimberly Lou

I like to do this sequence after I’ve had a long day of sitting in front of a computer. It’s so helpful to me to open up my hips and get the creaks out.

Ben L

This is the sequence that I took away from my YTU training that has made the biggest difference in my body. Finding alignment in my hips has translated so well into all my activities and helped me to finally have some relief in my lower back. Although I still find this very challenging some days it’s well worth it the next morning and throughout my day.

Yiselle Blum

This is amazing, Jill! As a singer I am always looking to quick ways to stretch out my hips to begin warming up my body before I go to practice or warm up my voice for a show. This is concise and streamlined, and it is especially perfect for busting out in small dressing rooms and rehearsal spaces. I especially like that I can always go back to it to keep my hips warm during particularly long rehearsals when I might not be on stage the whole time.

Sophie Maranda

Todd Lavictoire brought us through this sequence yesterday in the YTU Teacher training in Ottawa. Though I had done it with him before, my experience yesterday was profound and slightly disturbing. I found myself uncontrollably shedding tears whilst stretching my right psoas (the imbalanced contracted side). I’ve heard that we store emotions in our hips, but I had never cried in class before. He discussed afterwards that the emotions expressed do not necessarily correspond to the experiences/feelings that are stored (ie: If I store anger, maybe it is expressed as sadness). Nevertheless, I look forward to trying these exercises at… Read more »

Stephanie Fish

Great post and contribution to the masses with these very valuable hip stretches. I find most people have way less mobility in their hips and strength in their core to stabilize their pelvis as you demonstrate so gracefully, but with practice comes more awareness and improvements. Thank you for all you do.

Jona Joyce

I am in love with leg stretch #3. I have been faking this guy for years. I do believe that this and 1/2 happy baby are the resetta stone for my hip/back issues. Thank you for the clear instruction and the multiple variation options. I’ll always remember to put the thingy under the thingy.

Marilyn gibson

i have experianced so much relief in my hips through yoga tune up training. I am looking forward to using these additional stretches to continue to heal my hip. I am also looking forward to implementing into my classes with my students, many of whom have the same need for relief and health in their hips.

Jill D

I have such a love/hate relationship with this series. It’s quite intense for me and a lot of work, but the difference I feel in my hips and the change in my posture is a welcomed reward. When I fall off the wagon and don’t practice this series, I experience a change almost immediately. Damn, nothing comes easy!

Rita

My hips are off balance due to a lumbar scoliosis curviture and do favor one side forcing me to be in constant hip awareness.
I have found this sequence to be a welcome addition to my yoga practice. Thank you

Pauline

I find that for women it is especially important to create stability in the hips, given that the lower back and lumbar spine in general tends to be more flexible, and vulnerable therefore. Yet, I have seen how with people (including women) who run a lot or do weight training, there can also be quite a bit of tightness that accumulates in the hips, therefore inhibiting openess and fluidity. So of course, the main thing is to always seek balance: not too much, not too little. These exercises are wonderful for that, and I’m excited about trying them out on… Read more »

Prem

This is one of my favourite series as it has been wonderful for my hips!

Pamela

What a great addition to warm ups for my yoga practice!

Luke Sniewski

This looks great. Definitely adding it to my morning routine!

Nathania

This is my favorite Yoga Tune Up® sequence. Leg Stretch #3 is my particular favorite. I have a super flexible spine, and this is one of the only poses I’ve found that really gives me a release in my spine and the supporting tissues.

Patricia

These stretches are the best. For the last year or so I was not able to wrap my left leg over the right in garuasana. The right side was fine just the left was trouble even though I could before. After our Friday class with these stretches along with garudasana sit up and other hip opening exercises I was able to. I could hardly believe it at first. The next day our day off I went to a Bikram practice and was able to do it both sets and I have been able to since. My hips are opened up… Read more »

Tracy

Hi Jill, I think you are wonderful and I am so grateful that you are sharing what you’re learning with the world in your fun and practical YTU program. I am soaking it up like a dry sponge in Maura Barclay’s Seattle YTU teacher training. I am a yoga teacher with what most people would call hypermobility, and so my big challenge is stability. Over the years I have strained my left SI joint to the point of constant clunking, my sacrum shifts here and there with alarming frequency and the heads of my femurs regularly take trips out and… Read more »

Gloria Tan

It’s so deceiving… I mean who would have thought that these little, almost “basic” leg stretches could have such a wonderfully therapeutic & relaxing benefit.. We were loving it this weekend at YTU teacher training! It makes for such a wonderful savasana! I learned that, that little block was enough of a lift to be counted as an “inversion” so it really settled our bodies down for that deepest savasana so far in TT! Also, I taught 4 of the poses against the wall for 1 minute each yesterday during the last quarter of the hp class, and I was… Read more »

Celine

I like the anchor of the foot against the wall and the block under the sacrum.

Jocelyn Larson

This article title is very appealing to me. Results in minutes is a great way to reach our quick fix society! The problem with trying to find a way to stretch your illiopsoas is that many other tight muscles can get in the way, hamstrings being one of them. Adding a block is a great solution to changing your bodis center of gravity to really find the appropriatr place to stretch in this case the illiopsoas. This great exercise also teaches the hip to move in multiple directions, internal rotation, external rotation and flexion. This would be a great exercise… Read more »

Caitlin Rotkiewicz

Simple squats just don’t cut it anymore when it comes to stretching out my hips. These exercises seem promising! I look forward to making them a part of my morning routine.

Amanda

I am really looking forward to incorporating these leg stretches into teaching. I have had so many students recently complaining about their hips, and I’m excited to try this sequence with them as I know how much I enjoyed it on Sunday! Our hips are so complex, and I believe that these poses are great for both people who have struggled with hip issues and also for those who are looking to make sure they don’t.

Chad

I love these stretches. I have been sneaking into yoga rooms at my gym over the last week and doing them. They are really easy to do and it feels like my hips can ‘breathe’ more easily (especially after traveling).

Taylor

I’m curious if the benefit of the block is to help lengthen the low back… It feels as though if I place it just underneath my sacrum, that I get a bit of traction in my spine as i move around, as opposed to shortening my side body and crunching the lumbar spine.

Could you clarify?

Carly

What is the difference between doing these stretches with the assist of a block? Also, what benefit does the wall have in these poses? It’s hardly addressed…

Charmaine

These streches are great for opening my hips; I do indoor cycling (spinning) 2-3 times per week, so my hip flexors can get tight. Thank you!

Kristin Marvin

These poses have helped me tremendously with my hip flexors. Every time I do them I feel an intense release. I definitely need to be more consistent because I still feel my nervous system firing like a madwoman with the pushing against the wall and the adduction. These poses are hard for me! But after, I feel like a million bucks. I even use two blocks to get more into my hip flexors depending on the day. Great poses Jill. Love ’em!

Marc

The walls in my studio have taken on mew meaning! I spent my weekend with these little creatures and we’ve become fast friends. I’ve done them each day as an attempt to confront my hips with renewed enthusiasm. Mantra: I love my hips, I love my hips!” Smile and repeat. I’ve had these in the arsenal for many years but the little exclamation points from Yoga tune Up have given them a fresh new shine. I’m hoping to really mean what I say in that
mantra – someday…

Jill Miller

If you run out of wall space, have students partner up and place a block in between their “standing legs’ feet to act as stabilizers or “living walls.” This will not give quite as solid a closed chain as a wall….but it will do in a pinch!

Victoria

This series looks familiar:) I have to see say using the wall to close the chain for myself and my students with these poses since I returned from the training has been extremely helpful and effective. My students love it. The only problem is having enough wall space for my students. Any suggestions?

kimberly

These basic hip openers are a weekly must for people to refresh their hips and to add the elevated hips on the block creating more length/opening for the hip flexor is amazing. great stuff.