We hold a lot of tension in our hips. We sit at work, we sit in cars, we sit on couches and this all adds up to tight hip flexors and hamstrings. We have become a very sedentary society, and the effects are discouraging and critically affecting our health in more ways than we realize.
Sitting for hours on end encourages muscle tension, lack of mobility of the spinal muscles and fluids, and an endless list of health risks. The spine is the most precious skeletal structure in your body. The health of your spine determines so much of your overall level of health. It is the primary structure that keeps your whole body connected. It is not only composed of bones, but connects numerous nerves, blood vessels and holds spinal fluid which is one of the most precious fluids in your body.
The longer you stay seated, hunched, lying on your sofa the more you encourage the decompression of the disks in your spine. This over time causes degeneration of the whole skeleton, compressed nerves, and osteoporosis.
Yoga Keeps You Young!
Keep your spine healthy with Yoga and exercise and you will also slow down the aging process. People who don't exercise or keep good posture will age much more quickly. Exercise brings more oxygen to your whole system, and improves bodily processes such as growth, regeneration, assimilation, and elimination.
The hip bone, the lumbar veterbrae and sacrum make up the pelvic area of your body. Tight muscles surrounding the hip joint creates tension and pulls primarily the lower back out of alignment. This translates to possible back problems such as sciatica, lower back pain, and degenerative disk disease. Low back pain is the second major contributor to sick days taken by the workforce. That is a huge problem for both business and personal productivity.
Healthy Hips for a Healthier Back!
The following 4 exercises will encourage back health, open hips, and prevent acute and chronic back pain conditions.
Pigeon Pose: focuses on piriformis, glutes, it band
One of the best and most intense hip openers around, the pigeon pose will encourage the IT Band to lengthen, and bring more circulation to the entire hip area. Try to keep the front shin parallel to the front edge of your mat, keep the spine straight and aim to maintain both hips square and levelled facing forwards.
Knee to Ankle pose (Agnistambhasana): focuses on piriformis, IT band, lower back
This is a seated pose where you bring your ankle to rest on the opposite knee. The key here is not to force the knee down. Knees should never feel pain, or go beyond a moderate sensation. If you already feel it in your knee, do not fold over. Simply breath into those tight areas, and with time you will develop more flexibility.
Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose): focuses on outer hip, erector spinae, lower back
The key here is to twist from the lower spine, pulling the belly in towards the navel, and not compromising the alignment of the spine in the twist. It is far better to twist a little less, and have a straight spine. You will notice a beautiful quality to the breath when you don't go beyond where you are currently at.
Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) : focuses on inner outer thighs, lower back, erector spinae
This is one of my favourite seated poses because it targets the outer and inner hips, and groins. If you cannot maintain a straight back with ease and stability then do not proceed to fold over. Just stay upright and you may find placing your hands behind your hips a great help to keep you straight in this pose. Eventually your hips and groins will lengthen and open enough for you to maintain the pose without using your hands.
Incorporate these poses in your daily practice and in only a few weeks time you will see an amazing improvement in your mobility and the overall flexibility of your spine. Say good bye to any back pain and watch how you improve in all the poses of your practice!!!
In health always,