‘To be hip’ is not a term just meant for the sophisticated and chic. It’s not just for the trendsetter and popular. To be hip is to be comfortable in your body. There is a certain way to put a pep in your step, a glide in your stride and the confidence in your mobility ability and that is hip openers.
The Importance of Hip Openers
The opening of your hips not only gives you a confident walk – it gives you the ability to run and dance well into your 90s. In Afrikan Yogic terms the hips are the revolutionaries of your body, they question all forms of conformity and suppression in the body.
In modern society the hips are generally restricted. Within modernity the hips generally get immobilised through the constant sitting on and in chairs over long periods of time whereas in certain parts of the world, for example, Africa and India, where people, particularly in the village, sit on the floor, the hips are less restricted, and these are the places where you will find ones sitting in Nefertem lotus poses with ease.
Hips Are The Gateway
As a yoga teacher I assess students on sight in my class according to the relationship with their hips whether it’s a love affair or an enemy or some sort of embarrassment. Our hips are like a bubbly forthright child that we can either empower or try to lockdown and when we do, they expose us for not showing our confidence for them to be open.
Yoga teachers will always work with the hips as a primary course in any practice because the hips are the gateway to both worlds of your body, they are the union of the upper world of your spine, torso, neck and head which requires mobility to bend, turn and twist in any direction allowing multiple degrees of freedom and the lower world of your thighs, knees, legs and ankles providing you with stability, power and strength to spring and propel you in any direction. Both your power and levels of freedom are contained in the hips. The hips are the captivating force in the movement of women, and the holding and explosive power in the motion of men.
17-25 muscle groupings range within your hips. Important ones are: the psoas, sartorius, rectus femoris, vastus medials, illiacus and the adductors brevis and adductors longus. The muscles of the hips, particularly the hip flexors, support the gluteus muscles (in the bum) providing pivotal movement and when the hips are tight, this weakens the muscles of the gluteus. Once the gluteus are weakened, the lumbar region lower back of the spine takes on the weight of the upper body which is not its job description at all creating a great deal of stress in the lower spine. This region acts as the core stability of the body and tightness in the hips can cause a reaction in the upper body of continued injuries, ruptures and discomfort to the back. The muscular skeletal system is a key player in moving the lymphatic tissue (supports the nervous system) around our bodies and assisting the circulation of the blood (supports the cardiovascular system) that clears blockages that build up in the veins and sinews. All in all, this allows for clearer breathing, clarity and general health of the body…. this is why hip openers are important as they, indeed, provide better breathing capacity to the lungs. Our bodies with all their components are actually one unique whole intertwined and dancing to the rhythm of life.
Most postures require an open range of movement in the hips. A successful movement into Shen –the wheel, for example, has a great deal to do with the flexibility of the hips as well as the spine, when many think that the wheel is about upper body strength – it is not.
Release The Suppressed And Express
We push down and hold so much of our emotional baggage within the navel and pelvic area such as anger, depression, shame, frustration and sadness. Once we are cleared of psychological and emotional tension, the hips begin to breath better and move with more fluidity. This is why dancing when depressed is of such great importance. Afrikan Yoga uses dance like movements and is known for particularly focusing on the hips, for this reason the practice has often been type casted as ‘sexy yoga’ or sexual and this is due to the encouragement of the true nature of freedom in the hips, celebrating the body’s natural flow, giving one more creative, sexual and spiritual expression.
Having more awareness of our body anatomy and the tightness and tension in the hips moves us beyond the discomfort experienced in a yoga session, when we cannot get into certain postures, this awareness takes us to the choice of freedom and liberation of our bodies: the emotional, the physical and the mental. Practice, cultivate, release the suppressed, express, free your hips and all will follow.
The benefits of hip openers
Release tightness in the spine, legs, knees and neck
Enhance athletic ability
Release blocked emotional energy
Allow the forward movement physiologically, psychologically and emotionally.
Join Pablo Imani for Hip Opening Workshop at Eve & Grace Sunday 22nd June 2-5pm contact at www.eveandgrace.co.uk for bookings.
Below an affirmation when working with the hips in Fire movement. See youtube link.
“I release the past, I am balanced and free, I move forward in life with ease and joy”.
Youtube Fire movement
Youtube Khabit Shadow Stretching