Yoga is about understanding the art and science of life. That includes the bringing together of opposites: activity and rest, strength and flexibility, intention and receiving. What makes it possible to bring together these opposites into a cohesive whole? Integration. Integration allows our bodies and minds to flow easily and freely.
Integration helps us glide through life.
Gliding is literal and figurative. Certainly its about our attitude and mental perceptions, but it’s also about how we actually move in the world. The fluidity, strength and coordination of our hips are essential for a good glide. But hips won’t move in a fluid and pain free way, if the rest of the body isn’t integrated with them. Body parts,places like feet, the pelvis and sacrum have a profound effect on the flexibility and function and freedom of your hips.
Think of your hip joints as highly evolved balls in cups. They have to rotate around evenly and without getting hung up on glitches. What can make them glitch?
Mis-stepping can create glitches. How you land on your feed gives information to your joints. Do you habitually walk on the outer edge of your foot? That is one way to shift the placement of the ball in it’s cup. Do it enough and you get a friction effect, straining the joint.
Another common way to get a glitch in your hips is by twisting your pelvis
. Think of a metal bowl with two holes on either side of the bottom. Water spills evenly through the holes unless one side of the bowl gets twisted. Now the shape of the hole is changed and the directionality of the water changes too. So it is with your hips in relationship to the bowl that is your pelvis.
What can you do to help this? locate the sacral part of your spine. It’s below your lower back curve. Lie on a firm but comfortable surface. Roll and rock gently on the sacrum in circular and arcing movements. You will loosen it up and give it some freedom so it can adjust itself.
Another common problem is the lack of tone or too much tone in the floor of the pelvis itself.
Too loose and the weight of your abdominal organs can fall forward stressing your hips. Too tight and movement gets restricted.
What can you do to help this? Sit comfortably in a relaxed but not collapsed position. Imagine your perineum ( the point exactly in the center of your pelvic floor) as a flashlight. See if you can imagine the flashlight getting brighter with each inhalation and more dim with each exhalation. With practice you will gently find the muscles of the pelvic floor working and they will alternate between expanding and contracting with your breath.
Working to creating alignment through stretch or strength can help these patterns. But, it’s in the ordinary movements we make a thousand or more times a day that we really influence and change our bodies. By gently and clearly introducing more natural but forgotten ways of movement, you bring yourself back into alignment and increase strength and flexibility.