Consistently in yoga classes, hip openers are some of the most requested asanas. It is so beneficial to devote time specifically to soften and stretch our hips deeply.
The hip joint is a ball and socket joint with the head of the femur sitting in the socket of the pelvis. There are over 20 muscles that cross the hip. The collection of inner thigh muscles are known as the adductors, the collection of outer thigh muscles are known as the abductors, the hip flexors are in front, & deep lateral rotators are in back. A variety of muscles attach into the femur starting from the pelvis, the lumbar spine & the sacrum.
The muscles and fascia that cross the joint is what can restrict movement. Our bodies adapt to what we do most frequently. One example is sitting for hours during the day with hips and knees flexed at 90 degrees. This shortens the hip flexors at the front of the hip.
Tight hips affect everything from our ability to get into postures like Urdvha Danurasana to simply being able to pick up something off the floor. When hips are tight, we may experience pain and soreness in the pelvis and we may overuse the spine. Over time this can possibly also affect our digestion, elimination, pelvic position, lower back & knee joints.
Hip opening postures help to improve range of motion, decrease strain & tightness and align the hips and pelvis. We often feel the effects immediately. We may experience emotional benefits as well like reduced stress and anxiety.
In yoga classes we hear that hips are a storage space for negative feelings and pent up emotions. Hip-opening can help us release stagnation that does not serve and instead clear space for insights & creativity. We access freedom & ease in the mind & body as our vital energy flows fluidly.
With this sense of lightness & release our hearts shine brighter. The heart chakra is the center from which feelings of love emanate. It is associated with emotions such as joy, devotion & generosity. This energy center is said to be the balanced place between earth and spirit. A heart chakra in harmony unites with the hearts of others and the pulse of the universe.
Posted by: Tami Hafzalla
Join Tami on Saturday, May 9 for her workshop Open Hips, Open Hearts and move through specifically designed yoga sequences that free the hips, creating space for our hearts to expand and glisten.