At one time or another, nearly all of my students have asked what they can do to loosen up their hips. Hip constriction is common as we get older, whether it's from a lifetime of sports or too much time sitting at a desk. Opening up the hips increases circulation, mobility, and agilityand some of my students say it even improves their sex lives. So I always tell my students to try Thread the Needle pose, either first thing in the morning or after a sweaty workout.
Begin on your back with your feet on the floor and your knees up. Place the outside of your right ankle onto your left thigh, just below your left knee. Make sure to flex this foot completely to engage all the muscles in your legand flexing your foot keeps your knee protected too. Keep your head on the floor and your shoulders relaxed. Begin to bring your left knee towards your chest (bringing your bent right leg along with it). Increase the stretch by reaching around with your left hand to grab the outside of your left leg while the right hand reaches through the hole to grab the inside of your left leg. Both hands hold the left knee while the right shin is parallel to the floor. Pull only as far as is comfortable, and feel the stretch in your right hip (not your knee). Hold for 15 breaths, release and repeat on your other side.