Check out the links below on Yoga Medicine.com, where I have done hundreds of hours of training, and Yoga Journal a trusted website for all things Yoga. I could have written you a blog post on this subject but these articles below on weak hip flexors, tight hips, and hip stabilising are so well written that I thought I’d share them with you.
Why Weak Hip Flexors can be a Pain in the Butt
Gry Bech-Hanssen discusses the benefits that strong and functional hip flexors could have on your backside and range of motion.
3 Yoga Poses for Tight Hips
In the link below you’ll find 3 of my favourite poses for tight hips: Low lunge, figure 4 stretch and reclined bound angle (supta baddha konasana).
3 Moves for Hip Stability
- Bridge Pose variations
- Chair Pose variations
- Leg Side Raises
See this link for instructions on how to do these. I also include these in my barre classes regularly!
Do Your Hips Really Need Opening?
When yogis talk hips, it’s generally about opening them. But your hips CAN be too open. If you fall into the hypermobile camp, learn how to balance strength and flexibility to protect your hips.
Dedicating time during our physical yoga practice to opening the hips can be nourishing, therapeutic—and downright addictive for many of us. (How about that feel-good release in Pigeon Pose?) Let’s consider, though, whether we always need to push for more flexibility in this region of the body or if it may be more helpful for some people to build strength.
Hip strength is necessary for day-to-day life. Whether we are walking in the park, running for the bus, or cycling to work, the hip joint takes the brunt of the body’s weight and enables all of these fundamental actions. In short: Stable hips are a good thing—they carry our bodies throughout the day.
Of course, if you are an athlete, runner, or someone simply born with especially tight hips, hip-opening poses are helpful in maintaining a healthy range of motion and balance between strength and flexibility. If you’re on the other end of the spectrum, though, and are naturally quite open in the hips or after years of practising hip-opening poses now have very open hips, consider whether it’s still helpful to continue increasing the range of motion in this region of your body.
Being ‘blessed’ myself with naturally open hips, when I first started yoga, I never shied away from postures that required an increased range of motion in this region of the body. (I’m the person who could actually fall asleep with my legs wrapped behind my head in Yoginandrasana.) But was it therapeutic? I certainly looked like an advanced yogi in these postures, but unfortunately, my lack of knowledge and understanding of the hip joint meant that I could have been doing more damage to my body than good.
Understanding the Hip Joint
The hip joint is a ball and socket joint composed of two bones. The femur sits in the acetabulum, which is part of the pelvis. Covering the bones of the hip is the articular cartilage. The articular cartilage is important for providing a cushion and a smooth surface when the bones move on one another. Surrounding the acetabulum is additional cartilage called the labrum, which forms a lip around the cup-shaped bone to provide additional stability in the joint.
While it is helpful to understand the anatomy of the hip, what may be more even important (if a bit frightening) is knowing that one of the deepest layers of the joint, the cartilage, does not have any nerve endings. This means you may not be aware of any damage to the cartilage until it is too late. Although cartilage doesn’t have nerve endings, the surrounding muscles, tendons, and ligaments do, which is why yoga can be helpful for tuning into the body to find a balance between strength and flexibility for health of the muscles and the integrity of the joints. By listening to our bodies with this sense of mindfulness we can begin to notice our strengths and weaknesses, which enables us to develop a nourishing practice that our bodies truly need.
Enter hypermobility, a general term that refers to an excessive range of motion in a joint, with a lack of stability to support that mobility. It can be something we are born with or something we develop through regular stretching. In the hip joint, it can also stem from weak hip stabilizers—the gluteus medius, gluteus minimus, and other muscles—from prolonged sitting or decreased activity. Hip hypermobility is something anyone can develop, especially in the yoga world, where we focus so much on long, deep stretches to get that feel-good release.
I hope this is useful. Again, I have shared the above information from websites because it is accurate and practical for yoga and other movement forms. I agree word for word with the information so thought it best this week to share these very well written articles. Let me know if you have any questions specific to your body and experiences, I’d love to hear from you!