Yoga To Open Your Hips + Tap Into The Sacral Chakra
Humans carry anxiety and heavy emotions in their hips. It’s quite remarkable how almost every person you meet who grapples with anxiety or sadness also has difficulty with deep and fluid hip movements. This is of course, not anyone’s fault, it is simply something to understand, accept, and give special attention to, for health. The good news is that no matter how stiff your hips are, it is never too late for them to gain flexibility, and it’s never too late, or early, to work on them.
Stiff hips are common among those who have in the past experienced a power struggle, a loss of control, abuse, or significant insecurity (all of which go hand in hand). After years of holding in heavy emotions, and stressfully holding the structure safe against known or unknown perpetrators, it makes sense that the body has grown so accustomed to denying softness, vulnerability, and movement, that it has temporarily, but completely, lost its ability to do it. All of this discomfort relates to the Sacral Chakra, which is the 2nd chakra (just above the root chakra), and is linked to sensuality, sexuality, enjoyment, and creativity. Those with a 2nd chakra imbalance often experience difficulty expressing themselves honestly, have trouble feeling as though they deserve pleasure, have difficulty trusting others, difficulty with boundaries, experience weakened self-esteem, and an inaccurate sense of self-worth. The inflexibility is the result of a conditioned numbness in the hips. The hips are a big and important area- a function center that connects to the femur bone- and with practice and attention, a yoga practitioner will slowly begin to feel their hips, and then be able to stretch them effectively.
Emotional Hip Opening
It is possible to feel anger, resentment, guilt, or shame when the hips begin to open- emotions that were felt in the past and stored in the hip areas. When doing deep hip stretches, some practitioners feel as though they might cry. This is okay, but then let it go. Just like you are meant to climb mountains, not carry them, you are meant to endure and learn from your challenges, not carry them around with you forever.
Truly, the greatest benefit of flexible hips is physical comfort. The ease in which sitting, standing, and liberal movement come, and also the peace one feels while stretching the hips deeply. Additional benefits include: Increased ease at letting go of the past, connecting to the moment, reproductive health, increased circulation in the reproductive region, alignment improvement, protection from injury, elimination of back pain, increased health of the kidneys and bladder, self acceptance, confidence, acceptance of pleasure, and peace.
The hips are a relatively powerful area made up of muscles, bone, ligaments, and tendons. This sounds complicated, but the most important point is that it is a ball and socket, that when flexible, should easily rotate, open, and close. The femur (thigh bone, and largest bone in the human body) plugs into the hip socket, and should be moved by the hips.
To Open the Hips…
The first rule of increasing hip flexibility is to never force anything. Forcing could lead to significant injury, so be sure to listen to the body- it knows everything. It is said that hips require the feminine approach of dedication and patience, rather than the masculine approach of heat and endurance. (Although of course a complete yoga practice needs both energies!) Below, I offer a strategy to gain improved hip movement, and increase the depth and area of the stretch.
Side angle and reverse side angle: To open up the side body and top of the hips, practice rotating from upper area of the hip, and target the deep, inner connective hip muscles
Triangle and reverse triangle: To stretch the outer layer of the outside hip, and inner layer of the inside hip, target deep inner hip muscles, and practice rotating the hips
Standing balance: To feel the spaces in your hips, and stretch the muscles within the hip socket
Uphavistha Konasana: To strengthen the pelvic floor and increase feeling in the hips to encourage them to open (be sure you are on your sit bones!)
Seated figure 4 fold: To improve movement in the hip socket, and target he very deep hip muscles and tendons (but NEVER force this one or you will injure your knees. I’ve done this, it is unpleasant!)
Straddle forward fold: To open hips laterally, and begin to move into spaces within the hips
Half lotus or full lotus: To promote peace, open the hips and breath into them, practice sitting on hip bones, improve alignment, and enjoy the state of just being open
When increasing hip flexibility, be dedicated, very patient, and find joy in your practice every day. With devotion, the body will gain the confidence and strength to open. Remember, it will happen when it’s meant to happen, and not one minute before. With commitment, the body will someday become like Hanuman, the monkey god- the god of victory, often depicted sitting comfortably in lotus. Whenever he goes to war with the devil, he always wins. And just like Hanuman, you will take on the emotional discomfort of the past, and the tight hips, and you will come out victorious and at peace.
Photos: Author’s own