Thursday, August 12, 2010

Yoga for the Hips

One of the main reasons people turn to yoga is that they are experiencing back pain. Pain or tightness, especially in the lower back, is extremely common, and fortunately is something that the specific stretches prescribed by yoga can alleviate. Yoga teaches the interconnectedness of the body and its different muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints, and bones. Discomfort in one area of the body can (and in the case of areas like the back, usually is) caused by a problem in another part of the body. That part of the body is often the hips.

In our modern society we spend a lot of our time sitting-at a desk at work or at school, driving, at meals, etc. This is one of the reasons we also have poor posture, digestive problems, and yes, sore backs. The muscles at the front of the hips spend so much time contracted while we sit that they cause imbalances in the body. Sitting is a major cause of tightness in the hips, but it isn't the only one. When we experience certain emotions, we tend to reactively tense up certain muscles. Personally, I store my tension in my jaw. After a stressful day I always notice that my jaw is clenched and my neck hurts. For many others, especially women, this tension is stored in the hips. It is not unusual for people to experience long-buried emotions and even cry when they finally let go of the accumulated tension in the hips in yoga class. It is almost as though the emotions themselves are stored in the hips, and the release of the muscle is cathartic emotionally.

The following video is a brief practice designed to open up the hips from every angle. Performing the asanas I lead you through in this video a few times a week will bring noticeable improvements to your posture and may help improve digestion, alleviate back pain, and release old emotional patterns that no longer serve you.

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