• Karin Wilson Edmonds

Yoga For Healthy, Happy Hips

Updated: Feb 26

Nearly everything you do closes up your hip muscles: sitting at your desk, driving, watching TV, reading, and even working out.

In our sitting-centered culture, the hips are highly susceptible to both underuse which can lead to weakness and inflexibility or tightness. Both weakness and tightness in the hips can lead to a wide range of afflictions.

Too much sitting in particular shortens the hip flexors. Shortened hip flexors limit your range of motion and contribute to low back pain, bad posture, poor balance, trouble standing for long periods and generally limited range of motion in the hips and back.

The hips are composed of many different muscles that attach across the pelvis mainly the hip flexors (the iliopsoas group) which run down the front of the legs, the inner hips (the adductor group), and the outer hips (the gluteal group and the external rotators of the hip). People can experience pain or discomfort in one specific muscle or in many muscles simultaneously.

The connective tissue of these different muscle groups can also become irritated, stressed, or inflamed creating discomfort.

Conditions such as sciatica (pain, tingling, numbness, or weakness in the lower back, buttocks, or legs from any irritation or inflammation of the sciatic nerve); piriformis syndrome (a condition in which one or both of the piriformis muscles compress and irritate the sciatic nerve); muscle, tendon, or fascia stress and/or strain; or more can be related to excessively tight or weak hip muscles.

Gentle strengthening and stretching exercises can make a big difference to those experiencing pain or discomfort around the hips. Yoga can help to alleviate some of the symptoms (and causes) associated with this discomfort.

Although stretching and releasing the muscles and connective tissue of the hips can often be crucial for alleviating discomfort, over-stretching any part of the body may cause it to overreact — potentially even contracting and so creating more discomfort. So always move slowly, stay connected to your breath, and listen to your body in each posture.

According to the tenets of yoga, tight hips can also affect your mind and emotional state. The hips are believed to be the holding place for negative emotions such as fear and sadness.

The yogic solution to both problems – physical and emotional – is to move prana, or energy, through the hips. You can also think of this as increasing circulation in this area.

The link below contains some hip openers I like. As always be mindful when trying them - nothing should hurt!


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