We sort of have a love, dislike relationship with hip opening practices. Hip openers we love, because they feel so good. We spend so much time sitting or in our cars, that our hips have no choice but to feel tense. On the other hand, hip opening practices seem to bring up a lot of strange feelings that we often don’t like the feeling of. It’s good to understand where these feelings come from and why the hips are so important to keep open and released as part of your yoga practice.
Why the Hips?
Did you ever wonder why you feel particularly vulnerable or even sad when you are doing a practice that is heavy on hip opening asanas? You aren’t alone in these feelings. Even the most balanced person from time to time will feel the effects of the emotional release that comes with opening your hips.
Consider this for a moment. What does our physical reaction look like when we are scared, feel threatened or are upset? For most of us, the physical response is to tuck our knees up, and curl up into the fetal position. This position is safe and protects the vital parts of our body and soul. So it makes sense that when we are feeling emotional, or we’ve been dealing with stressful or difficult times in our lives, our hips feel tight.
Our culture has taught us to internalize feelings like fear, anxiety and sadness. So when we feel these feelings and push them aside, without dealing with them, they sit in our hips. You may think that you’ve gotten over those feelings, and the events that have caused sadness or anxiety may have passed, but the emotions you didn’t take time to acknowledge still sit deep in your body. When you enter a practice that is heavy in hip openers, or even a restorative practice where you spend a long time in Child’s Pose, you may feel these emotions coming to the surface. Some people cry or get strong feelings of anger, in the middle of their practice from these newly released feelings. It is important that when you feel this way during your yoga practice, you acknowledge these feelings and let them out. Even if it means openly crying during your practice, you need to get the emotions out, and release the tension in your hips.
You’re Not Alone
Yes, you may feel a bit uncomfortable the first time this happens to you during your practice. But it is important to understand that you are not the first person to have an emotional release during a yoga class, nor will you be the last. And if you are like most people, you will experience this kind of emotional release many times during your life, and in your yoga practice. To reduce the release of emotions and to keep your hips open and healthy it’s a good idea to let emotions flow when they come to you. If you have an experience that is sad, it’s ok to acknowledge your sadness. Pushing away your emotions is not healthy and can make your body physically uncomfortable.
A good practice of hip openers is intended to bring flexibility to your hip joints, but can also release lots of hidden emotions. It’s important that you understand and accept this release. At The Yoga Studio Downtown, we’ve had many people experience the release of emotion during a practice. We provide a nurturing and safe space for all levels of practice, so you will feel comfortable letting go of the emotions you’ve been hanging on to and gaining a new sense of release and comfort in both your mind and body. To learn more about our studio or our Yoga classes call us at (586) 991-0760 or visit our Utica, MI Yoga studio.