Yoga student practicing ardha matsyendrasana seated spinal twist.

Hip, Back and Knee Pain? Try These 3 Yoga Stretches for Your Glutes

Katrina Oakley
April 19, 2020

Back pain? Knee pain? Hip pain? Did you know all of these can occur from tight glutes?
Tightness in the glutes often causes pain in the knee, hip or back by slightly altering the position of the leg, causing an uneven distribution of forces through the knee. It is also a common cause of back pain as it can lead to back stiffness.
Here are three great glute stretches that can help improve flexibility, relieve back, hip and knee pain and prevent injuries.
These stretches will be most effective if you hold them for 30 seconds and repeat three times.

1) Ardha Kapotasana (Half Pigeon Pose) 

Woman practicing yoga Reclining Half Pigeon pose (Ardha Kapotasana).

  1. Lie flat on your back and bend both knees. Cross one leg over the other so your ankle is resting across the opposite thigh, toward the knee.

  2. Bring both knees toward your chest and gently pull the uncrossed leg toward you until you feel a stretch in the glutes on the same side as your crossed leg. Hold for 30 seconds.

  3. Repeat three times and practice twice daily, or before and after exercise  

2) Marichyasana (Marichi’s Pose)  

Man practicing yoga Sage's Pose (marichyasana)

  1. Sit on the floor with one leg bent, foot on the floor and knee upright, and the other straight.

  2. Turn your body toward the bent knee side until you feel a stretch in your buttocks. Hold for 30 seconds.

  3. Repeat three times and practice twice daily, or before and after exercise.

  4. Then try this variation: Bend one knee and cross it over the other leg so that the sole of your foot is by the inner side of the other knee. Repeat the stretch.

  5. Stretch the glutes further by anchoring your elbow around the bent knee and pulling the knee further over to the opposite side. 

3) Figure 4 Glute Stretch 

Man practicing yoga seated figure four stretch.

  1. Sit in a chair and cross one leg so that the foot is resting on the other knee as shown. 

  2. Gently lean forward until you feel a stretch in the buttock of the crossed leg. 

  3. Hold for 30 seconds. Make sure to hinge from your hips so that your back stays in a neutral position. Don’t let your shoulders round.

  4. Repeat three times and practice twice daily, or before and after exercise.

  5. Try this variation: Gently push down on your knee to increase the stretch to your glutes.

  6. Another variation: Lean toward the foot that’s resting on your knee, i.e. away from the side you are stretching. 



Doug Keller, Yoga Teacher, YogaUOnline Presenter, Keys to Healthy Hamstrings

Reprinted with permission from Katrina Oakley.

YogaUOnline contributor Katrina OakleyKatrina Oakley - A certified postpartum corrective exercise specialist and posture specialist, who helps moms around the world move without pain and stop peeing their pants.

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