by Cindy Boulter, Certified IAYT Yoga Therapist
Hip tightness, discomfort, or pain are common everyday experiences for many. Those that lead active lives often speak of hip pain – even for yoga practitioners! Let me explain how this is possible so that you can learn to ease body pain. Moreso, take this explanation as an opportunity to manage your mobility to prevent hip pain. You do have solutions to help or prevent hip discomfort.
Lack of variability can get us ‘stuck’
Most hip issues have to do with habit and lack of variability. We get stuck in habitual movements and routines. Often, we are prone to choosing the same activities. Take a moment to examine this for yourself. Notice how you often think the same thoughts and move in the same ways. We all are creatures of habit in mind and body. Don’t get me wrong, I do it too. And, I recognize that some habits can be positive and helpful. However, when we only move through one plane, we get stuck. There are other planes of movement available to all of us. We have to develop multi-planar movement tendencies to avoid getting ‘stuck.’
Our bodies are the most complicated machine in the universe. They are smart and capable to transport us from point A to point B. So, what happens when this pathway of movement becomes the ONLY path available to us? When we move in the same way over and over again, that chosen path can be so grooved in that we no longer have choice or variability in movement. This leads to compensations, muscle imbalances, and tightness. As a result, you can feel discomfort – and possibly debilitating pain. The muscular structure is an intricate, multi-dimensional system. When the same muscles are recruited to do jobs again and again, and for long periods of time, those muscles and skeletal structure can get tired or angry. So, that’s when the body starts to yell at us in the form of pain and discomfort. We need to stop and listen when the body yells.
Foster new patterns of movement
Repetitiveness, overuse, and lack of variance is part of the habitual movement pattern. Hence, this is why moving from ‘STUCK’ to ‘UNSTUCK’ is not simply resolved by stretching a tight muscle or strengthening a muscle. Rather, it is truly about the relationship of the muscles we recruit and how they work together. We can rebuild new patterns of movement by moving in different ways and exploring different activities. First, we need to be aware of our body movement patterns. Are our movement compensations keeping us stuck? So, it’s not as simple as stretching your hamstrings or hip flexors when they are chronically tight. Stretching is a component, but only part of the equation. The other part is to identify specific patterns of movement that are causing the hamstrings or hip flexors to be tight. Then, we can rebuild and encourage new patterns of movement.
A Workshop to Guide Pain-Free Hip Mobility
The Happy, Healthy Hips Yoga Workshop provides a 2-hour ZOOM session to explore yoga techniques that will assist in preventing pain – and easing pain – in the hip area. The workshop content is developed with a yoga therapeutic blend of movements to address your individual needs, lifestyle, and pains. Here, we will learn to protect and prolong hips that are free of pain. Additionally, we will explore how to nurture the hip area to reduce established discomforts and pains. The Happy, Healthy Yoga Workshop is virtually accessible on Sunday, January 31st. Learn more.