… Through the hips! I feel like my life story is hidden in my hips. Working through tensions in this area unleashes so many emotions. Some people store a lot in their shoulders, others in the jaw; while I can do both of these, hips are definitely my body’s go-to storage for sadness, pain, grief, anger, any negative emotion that my mind decides I’m unable to deal with. Because we cannot just make emotions vanish, if we don’t work with them, they will get nailed into our physical bodies.
I find my hips fascinating and actually love working with them to release emotions, although I have to say that it can certainly be very overwhelming. I work to stretch my hips every single day because each morning when I wake up, after sleeping in a curled up ball, they are tight again, it’s a daily practice which is an exploration as opposed to a continuous progression. I think yoga classes focused on hip openers should always come with a serious warning. It’s huge how powerful attention on this area can go.
I have been working with hanumanasana lately (full splits) as I feel like it really flexes the hip in a way like no other stretch can. You do not need muscular strength to hold you there, but simply the more you release, the deeper you get and the more you stretch that tough hip. We often spend a lot of our day decreasing the angle of the hip: sitting, cycling, running etc, but by taking the leg backwards we can get an amazing stretch, releasing important muscles such as the psoas which is closely related to stress.
Lunges with the back knee on the floor is a wonderful place to start. I find that this really opens up my hip and you can play around with the arms, feeling how the stretch changes (e.g. Overhead, leaning to one side, interlaced behind back). It’s also important to stretch the hamstrings in order to progress with hanuman and get into the hips.
I hope you can enjoy exploring your hip fexors and work in a self-loving way to gently release emotions which can be causing unconscious stress in the body, helping you to feel both a physical and emotional release.