Now that I've got Shakira singing in everyone's brain, think about it. Do you feel creaky when you stand up or sit down? Stiff? Is there a tightness in your hips? Well, think about how hard they work for you. If you sit for work (at a desk, in a truck, on the floor with your kids, etc) those poor hips are stuck in the same position for long periods of time. If you stand much of the day (Teachers, I'm looking at you.), same deal. Your hips are locked into the same position for a long time. If you feel the disharmony in your hips and think that it'll just go away, you might be telling yourself a little lie.
Think about your exercise habits. None? Excessive repetitive motions (Hello, Runners)? Either way, you are punishing your hips. If your hips are not getting the attention they need, then your low back might get sore and/or your psoas and/or your knees and so it goes. Think of your hips as your second foundation. There's a lot riding on them, and it pays to take care of them.
Here's my personal example: I injured my knee. Busy and distracted, I ignored it. After limping around for a month, my hip started to hurt, then my psoas (which I'd never known existed), and then my low back chimed in too. Why? Because my limping put everything else out of alignment, so my pain spread. Then I had three areas to rehab instead of one. Who's got time for that? It was a longer road than anticipated. Acupuncture, some massage as I could afford it, and, yes, daily (or almost daily) yoga has finally set me straight. So I'm here to tell you, please take care of those hips.
Here is a good hip flexor stretch (or hip opener) to get you going, pretty much wherever you are:
Seated Number 4: If you are in a chair, your left foot is planted on the ground with your knee directly over it. If you are on the floor, your left leg is in front of you, foot flexed and toes spread. Your back is straight. Lift your right foot and place the ankle across your knee or slightly back from it. If your left leg is straight, you will see that your legs make a 4.
In order to protect that right ankle, flex the right foot with your toes spread. Pull your right knee toward the floor (you might lightly push it in that direction). Draw in energy up through your left foot.
If this is enough of a stretch, that's fine. If you want more, on an an inhale, lengthen your spine. On an exhale, begin to fold forward a bit. Your back continues to lengthen on each inhale and belly might get closer to your thighs on each exhale. Breath in and out and feel the stretch at the front and back of your hips.
Switch sides. After both sides, place both feet next to each other. Inhale arms up and exhale them down to your sides. Ending on a symmetrical move like this is a good way to end any stretching or yoga practice.
Doing this a couple of times a day should make your hips happy and help you to move with more ease and comfort.
Let me know how this goes, and let me know if you want more hip openers! Also, how did the stress-busting poses go from last week? Did they help a little bit? I'd love to know. Comment below or shoot me an email if you feel like it. Also, I have a post on the blog about my trip to Costa Rica. It's mostly pictures and a little recap. Take a look if you'd like.
The next two weeks are the last of yoga teacher training for me. I'm working on my final essay exam, practicum, and practicing my yoga class to present. This means that I'm getting closer to having classes available in the area. Currently, I'm looking into two places to hold classes over the summer. I will update you as things fall into place. Very exciting! I hope you all have a good week!