Sitting for long periods can have a slew of harmful effects, including tight hips.

September 30, 2016

If you sit a lot at a desk or in the car, this is the yoga workout for you. Sitting for long periods can have a slew of harmful effects, including tight hips. Tight hips can start a chain reaction, affecting alignment and function up and down the body resulting in knee, lower back, and shoulder pain. In this video, Health contributing editor Kristin McGee demonstrates a series of poses focused on increasing flexibility and mobility in your hips, to unlock surrounding muscle groups and prevent pain. Watch it and follow along.

Don’t have time to watch? Read the full transcript:

Hi, I'm Kristin McGee and I'm here to take you through a great hip-opening yoga sequence that’s good for beginner, intermediate, and advanced practitioners. This is a great flow for people who suffer from tight hips – whether it’s due to sitting at a desk all day long, traveling long hours in a car, or cross-fitting, lifting weights, cycling, or running. All of these activities can lead to tightness in the hips, so this yoga sequence is really for anyone. Let’s get started and be sure to repeat all the poses you do on the right side on the left as well.

Chair Pose: Inhale the arms overhead, pressing the palms together as you look up to the fingers. Then, sit your hips back into a chair squat. Swan dive forward over the legs and step or hop your feet back to come into a plank.

Vinyasa: From plank position, bend the arms with the elbows zipped to the sides of the body for a chaturanga. Once the upper body is lowered to the mat, press into the palms and lift the upper body to come into an upward-facing dog. Roll over the toes and lift the hips up to come into a downward-facing dog.

Warrior I (Right Side): From downward-facing dog, step your right foot forward into a lunge and swivel your left heel down to the mat to come up into a warrior I pose with the arms reaching up overhead.

Warrior II (Right Side): From warrior I, open the arms to a T position and swivel the upper body to face the left. Next, cartwheel the hands back down to the mat and step back to a plank pose.

Lizard Lunge (Right Side): From downward-facing dog, raise your right leg in the air, bending the knee to open up the hip. Step the right foot to the outside of the right hand, coming into a lizard lunge. Lower your forearms down to the mat. Eventually you can lower the back knee down and release the foot to really sink into those hips. Next, you can either place your right hand on your right knee as you bend the left leg and reach for the left foot with the left hand, or you can reach for the left foot with the right hand for a hip flexor twist.

Pigeon (Right Side): From lizard lunge, release the right foot and walk it over toward the left to come into a pigeon pose. Open up the chest and then roll the upper body down towards the mat. Place forearms against the ground, drop the head, and breathe into the stretch.

Cow Face Pose (Right Side): Come to sit on the mat, slipping the left knee under the right knee so they’re stacked. Squeeze at the upper thighs and sit back between your heels. As you exhale, gently fold the upper body forward, bringing the hands toward the mat for an intense stretch in the outer hips.

Ankle-to-Knee Pose (Right Side): From cow face pose, walk your hands back and slide the feet apart. Bring the left ankle forward so the shin is parallel to the front of the mat. The right ankle drops onto the left knee. Try to stack your shins evenly. Slowly lean the upper body forward towards the mat.

Tabletop Pose: Place feet flat on the mat down and bridge yourself up into a tabletop pose with the palms pressed against the floor, fingers facing towards your feet. Start to crab walk your hands forward until you come into a squat at the front of the mat. If you need to, widen your feet so you can balance. Press your elbows against your inner knees. From here, exhale as you bend over the legs, letting the head and neck go as you come into a forward fold. From here, return to a downward-facing dog.

Butterfly Pose: Sit tall and bring the soles of the feet together, knees wide apart. Open up the inner thighs as you let the head and neck go, folding forward.

Seated Leg Fold: Sit on the mat with your legs extended out straight in front of you. Bending at your right knee, place the right thigh underneath the body. Start to lie back on the mat. Some of you might be able to lie all the way down, or you can stay propped up on your forearm. Gently unfold the right knee, stretch it out, and switch sides.