Laugh Lines and Lotus

A Yoga Blog for the heart.

Yoga Trick: Hips

The hips have it! They have the power to make us want to get up and move or stay curled up in our beds.

When the muscles and joints of our hips are not balanced we can't help but be aware of it. The reasons can be many. For people who sit a long time, the hip flexors and rotators become tight and the muscles weaken. For people who are active such as runners, the hips can tighten even more dramatically if not properly stretched. In short, the hips are a problem for many people.

For me, lower back pain caused by hip imbalance was the reason I fully dived into the yoga practice back in the 90s. As a moderate runner, I was waking each day with tremendous lower back pain. I could barely take those first few steps out of bed in the morning, but diligently put on my running sneakers and hit the pavement. After a bit of warming up, I always loosened and felt better. By evening I was again stiff and barely able to move much less pick up my kids. What I was doing each day was warming the muscles enough to make them agile for a while, but I was not addressing the true problem: imbalanced hips. Seeking help I was told that I would need a hip replacement by 50 if I kept on running. I dove into a dedicated yoga practice.

Now I am in my mid-50s, I can say my hips have never been better. The trick is to be diligent with daily movements to consistently work on increasing range of motion. My video Yoga Trick: Hips is based on a combination of Integrated Positional Therapy and yoga. It is a short daily practice to target the hips and the psoas. Keep in mind that many will also need to add more movements particularly those that target the front line of the body.

The IPT technique I demonstrate is based on the book by Neuromuscular Therapist, yoga teacher, and author Lee Albert "Live Pain-Free: Eliminate Chronic Pain without Drugs or Surgery." Be sure to educate yourself so that you can find which postures are suitable for your body. And, remember that although you may feel immediate relief, it will sometimes take a couple of months to retrain the muscles. Consistency is key.

Discover your path.


Caution: If you have chronic or severe lower back, hip, or knee pain you may want to consult a physician’s opinion. Remember to remain in the poses only as long as you are not experiencing any pain.

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