Hips have been said to be the junk drawer of the body. We hold stress and negative emotions such as fear, guilt, and sadness in our pelvis. So how do you clean out the clutter?
Hip opening postures in yoga are essential for alleviating back pain. Tight hip flexors pull your pelvis forward and exaggerate the curve in your lower back, causing low back pain. Open hip flexors help to bring the pelvis back to neutral, alleviating compression in the low back and discomfort overtime.
Open hip flexors can also help relieve tension in the knees. When the outer hips are tight, you are unable to externally rotate the knees so the knee joint becomes overworked. Over time, this causes stress on the knee joints and the knee itself. When your outer hips are open, you are able to better rotate the thighs in postures like warrior 2.
Practicing yoga helps to lubricate joints throughout the body by increasing the flow of synovial fluid, aiding movement, and relieving stiff joints. Synovial fluid is found in joints like the knees, hips, and elbows where more free movement of the bones is required.
One yoga pose that is key to this process is the pigeon pose. Practicing the pigeon pose not only helps to lubricate the joints, but also creates flexion and extension of your knees and hips. The added bonus is that you also get external rotation of the femur in the hip socket, helping to take pressure off of knees and lessening knee discomfort.
Yoga can also stimulate the bones to retain calcium through weight bearing postures, such as arm balances, inversions and standing poses. Twists, such as the Revolved Triangle pose, help regulate adrenal glands, which we rely on to provide adequate amounts of estrogen and androgen for healthy bones.
BKS Lyengar, Master of Yoga’s Therapeutic Applications, explains the benefits of yoga by means of what he calls its “squeezing and soaking” actions. He contends that through the process of squeezing out the old, stale blood or lymphatic fluids and soaking the area with fresh, oxygenated blood or fluids, yoga helps the body to utilize the nutrients it needs.
No matter what your skill level, a regular yoga practice will help to lessen tension throughout the joints and muscles. It is a good idea to regularly take your joints through their full range of motion in your yoga practice. By doing so you will begin to move through your life with more ease. A regular yoga practice can improve posture and coordination, strengthen muscles, increase flexibility, and create balance.
Written by: Paige Yeaton, Yoga Instructor
About the Author
Paige first discovered the emotional healing benefits of yoga after struggling with an eating disorder, anxiety, and depression. Searching for a better alternative to the medications she had been using to treat her symptoms, she decided instead to treat the issue that was causing them. While building her inner strength, she discovered her body was getting stronger as well. Today, Paige helps guide others on their yoga journey at studios in Arizona, including Scottsdale’s Yoga Lamar.