Love Your Yoga Hips: Warrior II

Posted by on Feb 11, 2016 in Yoga Practice Tips | 0 comments

Love Your Yoga Hips: Warrior II

Loving your hips means to care for them by deepening your understanding of how to position your thigh bones in relationship to your hip bones in your yoga poses. Articles and awareness regarding the issue of how a woman’s hips are vulnerable to extreme stretches while practicing yoga have been brought to our attention, and in my own experience I have witnessed many women in pain because of it.

One such article featured in the New York Times suggests that many woman injure their hips due to the “wide range of joint play that can increase not only their proficiency in yoga, but also their health risks. The investigators found that extreme leg motions could cause the hip bones to repeatedly strike each other, leading over time to damaged cartilage, inflammation, pain and arthritis. They call it Femoroacetabular Impingement — or F.A.I., in medical shorthand. The name spoke to a recurrence in which the neck of the thigh bone (the femur) swung so close to the hip socket (the acetabulum) that it repeatedly struck the socket’s protruding rim.”

As a seasoned Yoga Therapist and Yoga Teacher Trainer, I have been observing and halting whenever possible the misunderstanding of alignment and correlating muscular action or lack thereof, that would lead to this ‘bumping’ of the bones of the hip joint. Another article from Elephant Journal spoke of deep forward bending as a problem of over stretching the hamstring ligaments and low back muscles with a result of pelvic destabilization and spinal weakness. I do agree with the results she has observed, yet that particular weakness is separate from the ‘bumping’ of bone against bone mentioned in the New York Times article.  What seems to be missing in this conversation is the connection between the rampant ‘squaring of the hips’ erroneously being taught in the lateral poses namely Triangle (Trikonasana) and Warrior 2 (Virabhadrasana 2) and these health problems!

At the beginning of a 500 hour Yoga Therapy Teacher Training at Yoga4All in Seminole Florida, three of the eight women in the course said they were already experiencing hip pain… and the worst pose for them? Trikonasana.  As you will see from the video below, the same misalignment and misguided action being discussed is present in Virabhadrasana 2. From a teaching perspective it is best to correct the alignment in Virabhadrasana 2 and then apply this repaired foundation to Trikonasana as well.

There is no reason for bones to bump bones except when the lack of understanding presents itself. Many yoga teachers who were not introduced to the effort and positioning needed to properly align the hip joint in the lateral poses are incorrectly teaching unknowing students and potentially hurting themselves.

I hope you will find the following video helpful and will share this information with all your yoga students and yoga friends! Pictures are worth a thousand words… Un-square your hips in Virabhadrasana 2: watch this video!

Namaste,

~Lillah

My next Transformation Yoga Teacher Training courses begin April 22, 2016– join me to delve deeply into all aspects of yoga and transform your practice! Featuring a personal enrichment Life Transformation Training, 200 / 300 / 500 hour RYT Certification programs, IAYT affiliation, and CEU opportunities. Find more information and register here.

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