One of the most common requests in yoga classes is hip-opening. I sat down with Soul Strong Yoga teacher Nickie Hebert and interviewed her all about this part of the body in hopes of learning more about why our hips get so tight and how to promote hip health for the long run. From her background in ballet, to certified yoga teacher, Nickie’s knowledge of the hips goes beyond what you can cover in a Flow yoga class.
If you’re wanting to learn more, check out the interview below to learn more about Nickie.
What are some of the benefits of strengthening the hips? And opening the hips?
Nickie: Strong hips are important for active people, athletes, and non-athletes alike. Studies have shown links between weak hip muscles and injuries. Your hips are used everyday and every day we do things that both weaken and shorten (or tighten) them. Strong hips have several benefits that include combating bad posture, creating muscle balance, increasing performance, and helping with stability. All of which are crucial in avoiding injuries and important for proper alignment.
For a lot of us, our hips tend to be tight (for various reasons). Opening your hips have many benefits that include reducing that overuse and tension in your spine (decreased back pain – yay!), releasing stress, improved range of motion, and better circulation. Having more flexible hips can also create an energetic shift or release (bring on the tears in Pigeon!). As you become more flexible, it becomes even more important to create strength in the hip muscles to help stabilize that mobility.
As with everything, moderation is key. We need to create a balance between strength and flexibility.
What are some of the most common habits you see in yoga classes due to a lack of awareness in the hips?
Nickie: The most common habits that I see in yoga classes is that one hip always like to jet out to the side, because it feels better – and who doesn’t want to feel good? It happens a lot it in poses like Warrior III, Pigeon, and Pyramid. It may feel good but without stabilizing and leveling out your hips, overtime, alignment problems can occur. Uneven pressure and misaligned hips can cause your spine (and other parts of your body) to work harder than they need to. Having proper alignment in your hips will help you get the full benefit of the pose, while reducing injury risk, and it will help keep your body healthy (so you can keep doing yoga for many years.)
What is one quick hip health tip you can tell us?
Nickie: Listen to your body! If you take a breath and listen, your body will tell you what it needs.
Check out the links below (full of hip stretches!) to continue your super hip education.
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