There are lots of good reasons to do hip-opening poses – they help improve posture, enable us to walk or run more easily, and can sometimes help ease back pain. Our hips tighten up if we spend long periods sitting down, and yoga can go a long way to reverse this process.

In simple terms, the hip flexor muscles allow the knee to pull up. The hip is a large, deep and stable ball and socket joint that joins many ligaments, tendons and muscles.

Take your time with hip opening postures, as the hip ligaments are strong (they need to be to maintain stability when we stand, run or walk). Warm up carefully, and don’t push yourself: begin with gentle stretches and work with the breath, trying to soften into each posture.

This week, we worked first on releasing tension in the neck and shoulders whilst sitting cross legged – comfortable cross legged postures require flexible hips so use blocks to sit on when you start to help them ease out.

Hip opening postures to try include lunges , the warrior poses, cow face pose and pigeon.  Here is a reminder of some of this week’s sequence. Don’t forget to warm down afterwards with seated twists and lying down knee hugs and happy baby.