Yoga Therapy Series #3 – Happy Hips
I think that a lot of people put a huge focus on hip mobility in their yoga practice. However, in my practice, many patients that come in with persistent hip ‘tightness’ have good mobility or even hypermobility. What they often lack is stability within their existing range of motion. Trying to pick up the slack, the under-utilized muscles become tense in response. Yoga is an excellent tool for bringing awareness and control to the muscles of your hip, which will eliminate tension better than stretching alone. Let’s break down some basic postures to make sure you are making the most of it.
Tight hamstrings? Bend those knees! Remember: the hamstrings cross the knee AND hip. Most people think they are stretching their hamstrings just fine when they straighten their knee and bend forward. However, the position of the pelvis, which your hamstrings originate from, must be considered to fully lengthen them. Start by tilting your pelvis forward, sticking your buns out, and THEN try to straighten your knees. Less stress on the back, more gains in your legs!
People get wobbly 🤪 knees here from lack of glute activation to stabilize the position of the femur. Draw your ribs in, tuck your tailbone under slightly. This will help to keep the core and glutes firing. Make sure your front knee is over the outside edge of your foot; there is a tendency for it to collapse inward which stresses the joint!
Keep your tailbone tucked in slightly, ribs and belly drawn towards the spine and try lifting the top leg up slightly for some extra hip work in the frontal plane (side to side!)– a direction we often neglect in exercise.️
We try to lift our hips as high as we can here, but this puts more emphasis on the back than the glutes! Engage your core! You guessed it—tuck your tailbone slightly, draw in your ribs and low belly before you lift your hips up. Push through your heels. Don’t let your knees flare outwards! Rotate your thighs inward to activate your inner hip/groin muscles.