Pelvic Movement and the Hip Joint

Understand the Influence in Your Practice and Your Body

hip mobility

Pelvic Movement and the Hip Joint

The hips are a combination of challenge, ease, freedom, restriction, strength, and weakness. You could very well be experiencing all of these things simultaneously! The hip joint is quite complex—it’s a ball and socket joint that allows you to move in elaborate ways, in your yoga practice and your life off of the mat. This, however, can also make it vulnerable to injury. Understanding your hips and how other areas of your body affect how you move is imperative if your goal is to access your fullest potential in terms of your asana practice and/or movement as a whole. An entry point to such understanding can simply be how you articulate a specific part of your body. In today’s video, Matt highlights the positive impact certain pelvic articulations can have on what you experience in regard to hip mobility.

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THE BENEFITS OF PELVIC ANTERIOR TILT IN DOWNWARD DOG

Downward Dog can easily become a posture that just feels like you don’t have to think about how to do it. After all, how many times have you done this posture? Probably too many to count, right?

Matt offers a new lens through which to consider Downward Dog. It’s no secret that part of the benefit of doing this posture is that you’ll get a stretch in your hamstrings. Increased flexibility in your hamstrings can allow for more freedom of movement of the pelvis around the hip joint. However, it is common for your glutes to take charge as soon as you lift your knees off of the ground to lift your hips up, which may create a more posterior tilt of the pelvis. Maintaining an anterior tilt of your pelvis helps strengthen your lower back and offers a hamstring stretch with more integrity for your body.  

WATCH THE VIDEO

PELVIC MOVEMENT AND THE HIP JOINT: UNDERSTAND THE INFLUENCE IN YOUR PRACTICE AND YOUR BODY

CONTROVERSIAL TRANSITIONS ON THE MAT

There are strong opinions when it comes to transitioning from Warrior III to Half Moon. Some will say you should NEVER do it, and others say it’s fine. The argument is that you’re bearing weight on the femur bone of the standing leg and that it destroys the hip joint. Matt points out that in fact, we do this action often. For example, in the transition from High Lunge to Warrior II, you’ll see him demonstrate the movement of the pelvis around the femur bone. Yes, there is slightly more weight in the Warrior III transition, but it is a natural movement. What you’ll know better than anyone who has an opinion is how the movement feels in your body. Matt explains that if there is pain, it can often be attributed to a lack of strength in the muscles that surround the hip. In the video, he shows you where to place your awareness to begin to minimize the pain.

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HOW THE PELVIS INFORMS A STRETCH

The last posture in today’s video, a Pyramid variation, offers insight into how the direction of your pelvis can inform and transform your experience in a stretch. Instead of just squaring the hips, Matt cues a rotation of the pelvis (with left leg back) in which you turn the left side of your pelvis down towards the ground and towards your right thigh bone. The benefit here is a deeper stretch of the right outer buttocks and hips. Why is this action important? Deepening the stretch of these muscles, which may not be easy to find in your yoga practice, will contribute to the overall health of the hip joint. Achieving increased hip mobility involves increased flexibility. Keep in mind, however, that there are other parts of the equation. Overall hip health and mobility also require strength and body awareness.

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HOW TO ACHIEVE OVERALL HIP HEALTH

In the full class, Matt explains that mobility implies that we have strength in a greater range of motion, no matter how elongated a muscle is. There are plenty of opportunities to stretch muscles in an asana practice, but activating them in the practice to build strength will also increase their flexibility over time. It is important to remember this when you are exploring the actions of the pelvis around the hip joint in order to create more flexibility and length in the muscles that surround and support the hip. Exploring these articulations of the pelvis promotes and improves your sense of proprioception and body awareness, helping you unlock your potential. Try these actions in your practice and watch it unfold!  

Delve into the possibilities of this complex area of your body in Matt’s current immersion, Blissful Hips.

See you on the mat!

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Article by Trish Curling

Videos Extracted From: Blissful Hips Immersion

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