Week 3 – Hips don’t lie
Week 3 – Hips 26/8/20
After this class we’ll be at the halfway point and this week it’s all in the hips! As bipedal creatures our pelvis can be thought of as the connecting region between our top and bottom halves, and therefore happy and healthy hips are essential for keeping our mobility in equilibrium. Like me, you probably spend far more time assessing movement and joint health in our four-legged patients, but one of the things I love about teaching my fellow veterinary professionals is that I can use our extensive anatomical training and help you to delve deeper into your understanding behind certain yoga poses.
Our hips (discussed here as all of the joints and soft tissue structures associated with this area) are quite remarkable, as they have to find a balance between offering extensive range of movement whilst maintaining important stability, and an unfortunate consequence of modern day life is that we often spend too long in one position, and over time lose our potential range of motion and tighten up. For many of us as vets and nurses, that position will be standing on our feet all day, though equally well for our large animal and equine colleagues it may mean prolonged periods of time sitting down in the car. Either way, spending too long in either hip extension or flexion is going to have an effect over time, and depending on lifestyle most of us will develop a posterior or an anterior tilt to our pelvis, which we can only start to neutralise once we become aware of it in the first place!
Yoga for happier hips
In this class we will be bringing our awareness to our sacral and pelvic regions, not only from an anatomical perspective, but also energetically and emotionally. It almost goes without saying that with the largest muscle groups in the body (gluteus maximus, psoas, sartorius, rectus femoris) originating from, or inserting on, the pelvic girdle, it more than deserves our attention from time to time, but there is so much more to our hips than just functionality. As the seat of our reproductive organs, and Swadhisthana chakra, it is a highly energetic and emotional region, and we will often not realise just how tight we are in our pelvis until we really tune into the area and consciously try to release. You will likely find that when you are practicing yoga you get far more than a physical release of tension; sometimes we may experience emotions bubbling up to the surface, seemingly out of nowhere. If this happens and it becomes overwhelming, just allow it to come, let it go, and keep your attention on your breathing. It’s so common in our veterinary work that we have to modulate our own emotions, or suppress what we actually want to say, and that all gets stored physically and mentally. Yoga helps us to connect with how we actually feel, rather than how we should feel.
Week 3 Feature Pose: Pigeon Pose
If we want to get technical this posture is actually called extended one-legged pigeon preparatory pose, or utittha eka pada kapotasana in Sanskrit, but I feel like having to say that mouthful repeatedly is counterproductive for relaxation!
There are so many benefits to this hip-opening asana, including release of the hip extensors (especially the piriformis- great for any sufferers of sciatica) in the bent leg, and a gentle stretch of the psoas in the straight leg, that I consider it to be an essential pose in any yogis’ toolkit. During the class we will explore how to bot modify and intensify the pose, but here’s my step-by-step guide for you to check out in your own time: https://vetyogi.com/blog-details/extended-one-legged-pigeon-animal-yoga-pose-series
As ever one of my messages is that you don’t always need to practice yoga for a solid 60-90 mins to feel a benefit; sometimes even just a few moments on your mat can go a long way. If you come home after a long day with tight hips, or you get chance to work on your pelvic mobility- or just need a breather- during your lunch break, you can try my 5-minute video sequences on VetYogi Youtube.
If you have any questions, please feel free to get in touch via email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow VetYogi on social media for more info.
‘See’ you on the mat!