Happy Hip Openers

“One of the main reasons we Westerners are said to have tight hips is because we sit in chairs as opposed to the floor, I think also it is a symptom of our need to conquer and control”

happy-hipsOne of the most common areas of lack of mobility in a yoga class in my experience will be in the hips. I believe a healthy openness in this area is one of the most rewarding benefits of a regular practise.

One of the main reasons we Westerners are said to have tight hips is because we sit in chairs as opposed to on the floor, I think also it is a symptom of our need to conquer and control. I’m not condemning us as a culture, I think I am being realistic based on our history. I believe it is a collective issue we need to resolve as a culture before we can move on, we feel the need to hold on to our wealth and land. Western Europe went through cataclysmic change in the last century resulting in two world wars, It took that change for us to become more united and to stop being at war with ourselves constantly. Even now our faith in more open borders is being tested daily by refugees turning up on our borders. I have heard it said that as a culture sitting in chairs allows us to look down on and dominate other cultures.

So tight hips may result in us holding ourselves back, concerning ourselves with money and land. It would appear to be connected to our primal brain, the need to protect our food supply, our borders and our culture. This leads to fear and holding our selves tight and contained. There of course is a price to pay.

So what is the price we have to pay, after all the answer is so easy? Some of the effects are set out above, but I would say there are others. Being self-contained and tense allows us to control our emotions, or so we think. I do agree there are times when it is an advantage to control outward displays of our inner feelings, but I think this should be part of a balanced approach to life. It is important to recognise this as a tool and not let it control our life. Not reacting to emotional responses can be part of our undoing of patterns of behaviour, but we need to know why we are doing it.

The physical knock on effects of tight hips is unbalanced posture. Tightness in this area means the body will compensate using other parts of the body to carry out normal functions. This will cause area like the IT bands to become tight which will in the end cause knee pain. Once our postures comes out of alignment we will get neck and shoulder pain. And the effects continue to cause ramifications in our gross and subtle bodies.

I’ve said the answer is easy, and so it is. Be more mobile. Get out of our chairs and move. When we sit at home sit on the floor with your back against a flat surface. Do stretches that cross the legs. These simple movements will make big changes. Now this is very basic stuff and you should be perfectly safe, but I think I should point out that if you experience pain at all then seek out a very experienced teacher. You should always follow your medical professional’s advice first.

Martin Thompson