One of the most important areas of our body to care for is our Hips. The largest joints in the human body, the hips provide support and balance. They also give us mobility for day to day activities, and give us the ability to move with joy in a simple dance.
The hips also provide stability as they carry our body weight. Hip joints are like the hinge between the upper and lower body where our strongest muscles attach.
Applying Dahn Yoga’s energy principles. accumulation and circulation are key to a healthy lower body. Accumulation means building up power and initiates the process of circulation. This is strength. Circulation - blood and energy moving through the body - is necessary to achieve flexibility.
The reasons for hip pain and injuries are varied, from overuse and the wear and tear of constant motion to tightness from constant sitting (such as hours at the computer). Too much sitting causes the hip flexors to become tight and weak, and this lack of mobility can also cause back pain. Because sitting does not involve use of our butt muscles, the lower back steps in to compensate thereby creating its own area of stress and pain.
Other causes of hip pain are related to an energy imbalance often associated with negative emotions that have not been released and are housed in the body.
Energy flows through Meridians
which also maintain the health of various organs. It is important to keep circulation good to promote healing. Blood and energy are needed, and while we may want to avoid moving our hips due to pain, it is movement that promotes healing.
When energy is stuck, particularly in the Liver, Bladder
and Gall Bladder Meridians
, we may not only experience discomfort in the hips, but also other health issues.
Symptoms of energy blockage in the Liver Meridian include nausea, dull complexion, dry throat, anger, painful red eyes and face, and a heavy feeling in the chest. The Liver Meridian
is directly connected to the reproductive organs, and flows from the big toe, up the foot and through the middle of the inside of each leg and on up to the lower chest.
To stimulate this meridian, stretch your legs out, tap along the inside edge of the top of your foot and move up to the inside of the thigh. It also helps to tap your toes together while sitting with your hands on your lower abdomen.
Symptoms of blocked energy in the Bladder Meridian
include pain and tension in the eyes and neck, fever and chills, nasal congestion, eye disease, lower back pain, cramps in the backs of the legs, and urinary difficulties. Acupressure points along the spine are very important and can signal problems arising in internal organs.
To stimulate the Bladder Meridian, stretch your legs forward and alternately shake each leg. You can also bend your upper body forward.
The Gall Bladder Meridian
runs from the head to the feet on both sides of the body. Symptoms of blocked energy can include headaches, migraines or problems in the face, ears, skin, armpits, knees, outer legs or feet. Doing an exercise that stimulates the sides of the body will help.
Here are a few exercises you can do to get the energy flowing in your meridians and promote healing of many areas including the hips (keep in mind that you do not have to be ‘perfect.’ Do what is within your comfort zone).
Tip: Constantly use an exhale to release hidden tension.
Forward Butterfly Bend
This exercise sends energy to the abdominal area, promotes flexibility in the knees, calms the mind and also rejuvenates the skin:
- Sit with your knees bent and the soles of your feet touching. Gently pull your feet toward your groin (again, work within your comfort zone. Flexibility improves with practice). Cup your feet with your hands.
- Inhale. Keeping your spine straight, bend forward from your hips. Bend down only as far as you comfortably can. Focus on your waist and hip joints and hold for a few or several seconds.
- Exhale and return to Step 1. Repeat 3 times.
This exercise is excellent for opening the hips and energizing the body. It is also a good therapy for infertility.
- Kneel on your mat with your body up straight and relaxed.
- Stretch your left leg out behind you as far as comfortable, and bend your right knee so that your right foot is near your left pelvic bone (your right knee is at a 2 o’clock angle). Keep your hips square, toes pointed, then puff out your chest by leaning forward.
- To keep pressure off the kneecap, your right thigh should have an external rotation and your left thigh should have an internal rotation.
- Place your hands on the mat in front of you, shoulder width apart, for balance while sinking the hips forward and down.
- Breathe and release the belly for 10 breaths or more.
These exercises will greatly help to strengthen and open the hips, and improve the energy flow along those important meridians. But don’t forget to address the cause of your hip pain. It could be emotional — anger, frustration or resentment can especially block energy in the Liver Meridian and manifest as hip pain. Or It can result from subconscious fears related to “moving forward” in life. Let go, be present and know that your natural state is always in perfect balance.
Let your energy flow and your hips will serve you well no matter your age!