WW Astoria Yoga Studio Focus for July: Deep Hip Exploration!

 

Our July focus at the Watershed Wellness Yoga Studio is a deep dive into the structures of the hips and adjacent musculature that help keep us upright and mobile. Our Summer Yoga Special makes all of our classes budget friendly, and can be a great way to spend some focused time on a specific body part. Nervous about trying out a class at Watershed Wellness? Here's a quick article that will answer your common questions about what to expect at our studio. 

Are you one of the millions of Americans who live with lower back pain? One of the primary reasons that students come to yoga at Watershed Wellness is to help with back pain relief. Our students experience this pain in a variety of ways:

  • Achy in the muscles of the hip or lower back
  • A sharp pain in a joint around the hip, either at the very base of their back, the front of their hip or deep in the inner thigh
  • Shooting pain that has an electric or numbing quality in the hip or down the leg.

This pain, regardless of its quality, can inhibit mobility and limit our daily activity. I’ve found that movement helps. In fact, there's been compelling research done that shows that movement is more helpful for lower back pain than rest. It’s when we stop moving that things settle in and get worse.

Additionally, if we continue to move and find the mobility in our musculature and joints, focusing on strengthening some very key muscles can help to provide support to the Sacro-Iliac (SI) joint, which is often compromised in cases of lower back pain.

In an effort to further understand our own bodies and how they work, it’s a worthwhile effort to have an understanding of the anatomy and kinesiology of this complicated part of the body.

Let’s take a look at the anatomy first.

Posterior View of the Pelvis
Anterior View of the Pelvis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The pelvis is comprised of three bones: two Ilium (pelvic bones) and your Sacrum.

The Sacrum is a continuation of your spinal vertebrae and is made up of 5 fused vertebrae. It's connected to the coccyx, your tailbone. At the base of the pelvic bone, the Ilium, is the Ischial tuberosity, or sits bone. This is the bony prominence that we are meant to sit up on.

If you're sitting in a chair reading this, find your sitting bones by rocking back and forth and paying attention to the bony parts that you can feel at the bottom of your pelvis. These are your sitting bones. They are important to point out, as these are made to support our pelvis, but when we sit we often tuck our pelvis under and round through the lower back.

This causes us to sit on our tailbone, which isn't meant to support our body weight.

At the lower front of the pelvis is the articulation between the head of the femur and the hip socket (acetabulum) that creates the hip joint. This ball and socket joint joins the pelvis and the thighs and supports the weight of the body while allowing for mobility. The outer edge of the acetabulum is lined with a strong ring of cartilage called the labrum. The capsule is reinforced by four ligaments that wind around the head of the femur.

These ligaments twist and untwist as we move our upper leg bone to create mobility and stability of the hip joint.

At the top of the hip in the articulation between the sacrum and the ilium (hip bone) lies the Sacro-Iliac joint. This is a long skinny joint that is well supported by ligaments and musculature. This joint transfers weight between your upper body and legs and has about 2-4 mm of movement in any direction. This area is often a common problem area for back pain. When people tell me that they “threw their back out” it's usually this joint that they are talking about.

The hips are also supported by about 30 muscles that give lend support in movement and stability. There is much here to work with in nearly every family of yoga postures: lunges, forward folds, balance poses, backbends, and even inversions. Balance in the strength and mobility through all movements available at the hip joint allow for health and safe movement through this area.

The hip joint is capable of several types of movement:

  • flexion of the hip
  • extension of the hip
  • abduction of the hip (moving the leg away from center)
  • adduction of the hip (moving the leg toward center)
  • internal rotation of the hip
  • external rotation of the hip

Our July classes will do a deep dive into all of the hip movements with an eye toward maintaining strength and flexibility. Let’s look at a few poses that highlight this area:

*note: the poses shown all exist in the sagittal plane, but there are many more poses that affect the hips that expand into the coronal plane such as Warrior II and Triangle Pose. All actions of the hips described above will be explored in our July classes.

If you still aren't sure if a class at Watershed Wellness is for you, please reach out with any questions. We look forward to seeing you on the mat!

Written by Amanda Barp

Amanda Barp is co-founder of Watershed Wellness, a licensed massage therapist with 10+ years experience, a registered yoga teacher with a passion for learning and teaching about the human body & how to feel at home in it.