It’s all in the hips….

This is kind of an upside-down, handstand version of baddha konasana and I much prefer the supine version to be honest; the one where you lie down and relax and do it as a restorative pose. You can support the knees with blankets or blocks to make it feel comfortable and it encourages the flow of blood into the pelvis which improves the health of the endocrine system. Some people – a few – find it difficult for structural reasons, but more find it difficult for the same reason most yoga poses are difficult for our Western bodies – we have lots of accumulated tightness and tension due to our sitting lifestyle. Among thousands of other things, sitting for long periods tightens the inner thigh muscles (adductors) and this tension may create a bit of internal rotation in the hips which can go on to cause other annoying niggles and injuries.

Generally speaking, not many things happen or can be “fixed” in isolation. Like most people, I’ve got one hip that’s tighter than the other one. Structurally – on an X-ray – this hip can be shown to flare back while the other one rotates forward. A hip that flares backwards , could have been caused by a tight iliopsoas (it’s a hip flexor and external rotator). The psoas attaches to the diaphragm, the diaphragm is the main muscle of breathing and breathing is affected by many things including stress, posture and super tight abdominals – you might describe these as “ripped”. A tight psoas may cause the hip to lift and to get stuck in external rotation. This can make your lats (side ribs) feel short and quite obviously will affect your lower back and maybe your shoulders and neck because you get stuck in a twist! Some therapists may tell you that you have a shorter leg when you actually just have a tighter hip or psoas on one side. They may then suggest orthotics for one of your shoes.  I see these as questionable really since they do not address the issue and there is every possibility they could cause more problems.  I was offered orthotics once and another therapist told me to get rid of them immediately!  I doubt this is an exact science and so I got rid of them and with my yoga practise, postural awareness, choosing to walk rather than run or over-exercise, have managed my hip pretty well. At the age of 50, I really  don’t have any significant or niggly body problems at all that affect how I feel from day to day. I can move and I feel pretty good! In the end, who knows if my forward hip pulled the other one back or it happened the other way round or if I was born that way; it doesn’t really matter as long as I can continue to stay reasonably flexible and strong, maintain my balance and avoid chronic and limiting pain.

It’s helpful to understand and connect these dots though because, for one example, a couple of years ago, one of my knees was giving me a lot of trouble. Luckily, I realised pretty quickly that the problem had been caused due to tightness in my inner thigh muscles because of the way I’d been sitting at my desk. I had some body treatments, worked on stretching those muscles and changed the sitting habit I’d got myself in to and sure enough, my sore knee soon felt better However, someone else may have spent lots of money seeing specialists and/or ended up having a knee replacement. A bit of a shame when sometimes, all that’s needed is a good stretch and to rethink how you have been doing something habitually.