How to Do Yoga Without Stressing the Hip Flexor

Warrior I pose simultaneously stretches and strenghtens the hip flexors.
i George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images

As a woman, your psoas and iliopsoas muscles -- hip flexors -- really get a workout. Broad hips built for childrearing make a woman's body posture tend toward a swayed back. This position causes a constant state of flexion for the hip-flexor muscles, often resulting in low back pain. Combine this with a sedentary life or a job that requires sitting and hip-flexor woes become a chronic condition. Yoga helps strengthen and the hip flexors to relieve tension and soothe lower back pain. However, if done incorrectly and out of alignment, yoga can further inflame the psoas, making a bad problem worse.

The Pelvic Loop

Step 1

Stand tall on your mat in mountain pose with your feet hip-width distance apart.

Step 2

Breathe deeply, visualizing the breath reaching into your lower back. Use this breathing technique to make space and expand this area.

Step 3

Eliminate the curve in your low back by slightly tilting your tailbone down and rotating your pelvic bones up towards the navel. This action takes the pressure off the psoas muscle.

Step 4

Breathe. Maintain this action throughout your yoga practice.

Warrior I (Virabhadrasana I) With a Belt

Step 1

Stand perpendicular to your mat in mountain pose with your feet hip-width distance apart.

Step 2

Locate the bone protuberances, or ASISes (anterior superior iliac spine), on either side of your pelvis.

Step 3

Tie a yoga strap around your waist.

Step 4

Exhale and step your feet 3.5 to 4 feet apart. Turn your right foot out 90 degrees to the right and turn your left foot in 45 degrees to the right. Inhale.

Step 5

Exhale and turn your pelvis to the right, squaring it to the front of the mat.

Step 6

Place your fingers on your ASISes. Inhale and bend your front knee to 90 degrees. Gently use your fingers to guide the ASIS on your back leg up, counteracting the anterior tilt. Exhale.

Step 7

Inhale and raise your arms to the sky, parallel to each other. Move your back waist into the belt and your tailbone down and away from the belt. Hold and breathe.

the nest