“So be wise and keep on reading the signs of my body.” ~~ Shakira
Photo Courtesy of Fit Sugar
As I was planning out what I wanted to work on in my classes this upcoming week, I knew I wanted to spend some good time focusing on the hips. And for some reason, every time I started thinking about a particular pose to focus on, I kept hearing “Hips Don’t Lie” by Shakira playing over and over in my head. Before I realized it, I was moving and grooving to my own beat, swirling my hips in all directions. And it felt GOOD! As a runner and cycler, I’m so used to moving my hips in just one direction. Except for when I am on my yoga mat, I don’t get a lot of lateral movement. Keeping up in this pattern is a main reason why many of us end up with super tight hips and IT Band issues. The hip is one of our joints that actually is able to move in ALL directions, so it’s important to put them through their full range of motion as much as possible.
If you hike, ski, run, bike, walk, and/or sit at a desk, you fall into this category of not getting enough lateral movement…and chances are that you have tight hip flexors. Hip flexors are what allow for forward movement and the ability to lift the leg up. They are made of three different muscles – psoas major, illiacus, and rectus femoris (which is part of the quadriceps). If you can spend just a few minutes stretching these areas, you can prevent injury and even boost your performance, as well as feeling more comfortable overall in your daily life.
In yoga, hip openers often coincide with emotional release, because it is thought that the hips store strong emotions of anxiety, sadness, depression and being guarded. So don’t be surprised if, when practicing some of these hip openeners, you experience some sort of emotional release.
We’ll be playing with a variety of hip openers in class this week. Some will be extremely challenging, while others will be incredibly restorative. Either way, I encourage you to completely surrender to the experience. Be wise, and listen to the signs they send your way. You won’t be sorry, and you may even find some freedom in your body you didn’t know you had!