yoga seeds #20 – The hip way to your back

Last week somebody told me how wonderful their body had felt after the class the previous week. They suffer from ongoing back pains and they all seemed to be gone as they woke up the next day. The current theme block I’m working on is backbends and on that specific session we had focussed intensively on stretching the front of the hip. What does the hip have to do with the back? A lot! The hips are the gateway between our core and our connection to the earth through our legs. If the trunk is not sitting how it should be on top of the legs, the spine will be thrown out of its beloved natural curves into a strenuous shape in order to keep us balanced and in relationship with the world. The ubiquity of the chair in our society, both for work and for leisure, means that our hips spent a long time flexed forward. If we don’t stretch our hip flexors to counteract this, they will be permanently pulling together the abdomen and the thighs. If the muscles cannot open this angle when we stand up, this will pull the top of the pelvis forwards. To compensate and also so that we can look ahead of us, the spine will need to curve backwards. The easier points where the spine can do this are the lower back and the neck. What a coincidence… two very usual spots for tension! Of course, back problems can have many other origins. However, if you spend a long time on a chair, do treat your back regularly to some hip low lunges (anjaneyasana) and high lunges (ashwa sanchalanasana). Your back will thank you for it!

Thanks to all my students at Yoga Hub Berlin, who inspire me with their practice.

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