Improving Turnout - The Yogi Sit

Do you suffer from tension the back of the hips? If you have been working hard on improving your turnout, your turnout muscles may become over-recruited and stuck in a state of contraction. Unfortunately, this may prevent you from using them effectively in class. The 'Yogi Sit' exercise is perfect for creating space in the back of the hips, to allow your turnout muscles to work effectively in class. 

How to do it: 

  • Sit on a yoga mat and cross the legs so that the knees line up on top of each other
  • Sit up on a yoga block if needed to fully cross the legs
  • Lean back on the hands to settle in to the position
  • Flex the ankles to protect the knees
  • Slowly lean forward from the hips keeping the spine in neutral
  • There should be no compression or pain in front of the hips
  • Focus on keeping the spine long from tailbone to crown
  • Maintain slow gentle breathing, consciously releasing tension on each exhale
  • Release the tension in layers rather than pushing into the stretch
  • Repeat several times on each side
  • Once the back of the hip has opened try relaxing forward over the legs and breath into the back of the ribcage


  • As this is a sustained stretch it is best used after class as sustained stretches can inhibit muscle power
  • Gentle sustained stretches such as this one should be focused on allowing creep in deeper fascial tissue
  • There should be no sensation of numbness, tingling or other signs of neural tension
  • This is an especially helpful exercise if you find it hard to rotate your leg in attitude devant


  • Please note this should not cause pain in the front of the hips or your knees
  • If you are unable to get into the starting position try working on one leg at a time sitting on a chair with the shin bone crossed across the opposite knee
  • If any discomfort is felt in the knees, flex both feet to help stabilise the knee joint
  • If there is compression in the front of the hips try a gentle hip flexor mobiliser beforehand, then when doing the Yogi Sit exercise, try placing a partially inflated small ball between your belly and thigh
  • Do not continue if unable to do comfortably

Other Articles about Turnout

Training Turnout Resources