Love Your Hips!

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Hips!!!

Most people have a love-hate relationship with them.

I love them!

The pelvis is a complicated piece of engineering, with bone, muscles, ligaments, tendons and fascia helping both stabilise the body and allow for motion. Several muscles, the iliacus and psoas major, make up the group everyone commonly refers to as hip flexors. These are big muscles, and tend to be tight, as most of us tend to sit too much; at our desks, in front of the television, and in our cars.  We rarely let our hips explore a full range of movement, and more often than not, lower back pain often stems from tight hips and buttocks muscles.

Whilst modern scientific research is still trying to figure out the impact of emotions on the body, one study tried to portray how we experience emotions in the body.  The bodily experience of emotion is nearly instantaneous, and our hips are like a bowl, catching and holding the residue of a trauma or prolonged period of stress.

What has become apparent to me, after teaching yoga for nearly 30 years now, is that tightness in hips are not just physical.  The hips are the seat of our emotions, and more is written about this these days.

  • Tight hips can mean that we fear living up to our own expectations and those laid out by others.
  • The hips are located at the second chakra, and when the second chakra is blocked, it hinders our ability to let go and let it flow. During deep hip openers, there could be a tendency to hold on because you simply cannot fully open up to the Pose.
  • One of the most important relationships you will have, is the one you have with yourself. Tight hips may indicate an inability to fully love yourself.

If you’ve been following my writing over the years, you will know that I am all about taking yoga “off the mat”, and if you adopt the view of yoga “on the mat” as a metaphor for life, then you can use some of these tips to help you cope with the emotional roller coaster of life.

So, when your hips, and life, gets tight …

Learn to sit with the discomfort; it will pass.

And, breathe deeply, especially breathing into the source of discomfort in your body.

Melting Forwards

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Unless you are in the southern hemisphere, July leads us into the peak of summer.  Here in the United Kingdom, it has been rather hot.  Temperature records are being broken throughout Europe, and I am surprised that the road tarmac in the UK has not melted yet?!

So what of our yoga practice?  When life heats up around us, what we should look to do is cool things down, rather than provoke the heat.  Too often I see people ploughing through their fitness workouts, driving forcefully ahead with their work, keep moving through a demanding yoga practice.

There is a time and season for everything.  There was a time when we used to respect the change in the seasons, and life, and danced with those changes.  We woke up when at sunrise and went to bed when the sun went down.

With technological changes, we seem to have lost touch with our deep rooted connection with nature.  Ultimately, we are still part of the animal kingdom and we do have the animal part of our brain.  Yet, we just ignore it.

What is the use of plundering through life?

What are you chasing?

Why are you pounding your body?

Yes, I am a driven individual, and there I have goals that I wish to attain; and that requires work.  I have also always realised that there is a time to move and a time to rest.  In my twenties, I refused to listen to my body and chose to listen to my ego; and I paid dearly for it.  Since then, I keep in flow with the life and my energy levels. That does not mean that I completely back off from what I am doing. I still keep “touching” the different aspects of our businesses, but I also rest.

So this month, I invite you to melt forwards.  On the yoga mat this month, we are focusing on gentle forward bends, with the use of the cooling breath, mindful salutation and cooling meditation.  Off the mat, we are still moving forwards in life, …. gently.  Live compassionately and in tune with Mother Nature, and notice how she will still guide you to where you are suppose to go.

Have a lovely month x

Bottoms Up

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Can you believe it’s June, and we’re almost half way through 2018?

This month’s Yoga Practice is about getting your bottom up!  And, it’s all about cultivating a different perspective on life.

So often, we go about our daily activities as a matter of routine.  We even approach our fitness training and yoga practice the same way.  Don’t get me wrong; we do mix up our training programme or our actual yoga practice.  Also, our days are varied, and we even mix up what we eat.

What we perhaps don’t mix up is how we do things.

Humans are essentially creatures of habit, and routine is good for us.  What yoga practice encourages us to do, is come to recognise habitual thought processes, because the way we think and approach something, is the way we think and approach anything.

Some of us have, as one of our business coaches says, “below the line” thinking, whilst others have “above the line” thinking.  Are we problems solvers or victims?

And, I see this in class, with the people I coach to be instructors and those I meet through networking and just randomly through life.

So this month’s yoga practice is about tipping the balance and getting a different perspective.  By having your head below your bottom, e.g. in a standing forward bend, or headstand, or downward dog, not only is your muscles having to work differently because gravitational pull on the body is different, but our thought processes have to function differently to cope with the change in balance and perception.

My intention is that by practicing this for the month, we can take this change of perception off the mat and into our lives.

Start thinking differently.

Like you would catch yourself losing your balance and even falling when practising inversions, catch yourself giving the same responses to certain questions or situations.

Are you a person who always says “no”, only to change your mind later?

Or perhaps you’re a “yes” person?

How about for the next 30 days, say the opposite to what you normally would say?

Who knows where that may lead you?

Have a great month!