The Hip: Doorway to Vital Energy
So much of what we do is in our head. If we’re not thinking, we’re listening to headphones, talking on the phone, etc. In effect, we truncate our body by being that much more fascinated with what’s happening up in our head than what’s happening in our legs. Doing so, we also cut ourselves off from a great portion of our being, its energy, and support.
To understand the relevance of healthy, open and strong hips to our health, it can be helpful to understand their context. In energy work, we might start with assessing which major and minor chakras are associated with the hip. We could also look at associated mental causes of dis-ease in the area. Physically, we might look at posture, ergonomics, and lifestyle. Overall, we might assess: Is there too much or too little energy here? Is there old physical trauma, difficult emotions or thoughts stagnating here, causing blockage? Or is doubt, worry or fear draining the energy from this part of the body? And so on.
The hips in energy work
Major Chakra Association
The hips are typically associated with the Sacral Chakra. The Sacral Chakra’s energy can also affect the sexual organs, large intestine, lower spine, pelvis, appendix, and bladder (Myss 96). This chakra’s energy can relate to the processing of:
• Security/Fear of loss of power/control
• Ethics/Honor in relationships
Reading that list, do each of those topics feel good to you? Is there one that stings a bit? If so, you might want to start working on balancing this energy center with intention, effort, affirmations and help if needed.
Minor Chakra Association
The hips themselves are considered a minor chakra, as a joint in the body. It can be helpful to remember the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual bodies are not separate; and in assessing the physical state of affairs at the hip, we are also working on the energetic. When assessing, you might ask:
• How tight are the hip flexor muscles and other related musculature?
e.g. Do you stretch daily? Do you use a foam roller?
• What holding patterns are involved?
e.g. Do you sit or stand all day for work? Do you drive, cycle, or walk to work?
• How does that affect your muscle strength?
Mental Causes of Hip Dis-Ease
Beyond any issues tied to the Sacral Chakra’s themes listed above, there might also be an issue stemming from the development of that chakra. Dale describes the second chakra as relating to ages 6 months to 2 1/2 years, when we are developing the “awareness of feelings and the right to express them; world/family views about gender roles and sensuality issues. Beliefs about expression and creativity” (Dale 97). If growing up we weren’t given the right to have our own views and feelings, the ability to say no and opportunity to express our creativity, we might have developed and/or adopted false-beliefs about ourselves, who we are and what we’re capable of. (I am reminded of a post I wrote on this topic not too long ago: Drama of the Gifted Child.) These thoughts and emotions then can affect and manifest in the function, strength, and flexibility of the joint.
It’s remarkable to me how many patients I see complaining of low energy or hip pain that later report they’re “not creative” or feel afraid to share with others for fear that they have nothing to offer or would be found out to be a sham. It’s not surprising to me, then, that Louise Hay describes hip conditions as stemming from a “fear of going forward in major decisions. Nothing to move forward to” (Hay 177). If we believed we had to cut off or numb a part of ourselves just to move forward in life, how could we possibly imagine moving freely and from a place of joy?
As a Reiki practitioner, it’s so rewarding to see over time these beliefs can be melted and transformed. Everyone is creative in their own way. Everyone has something unique and special to offer the world: Their presence.
Physical Assessment of the Hips
The best advice I can give is consider seeing a (non-force) chiropractor, postural and/or physical therapist. A non-force chiropractor can help if there is a spinal misalignment or hiked hip. A postural and/or physical therapist can help you target which muscles need strengthening or lengthening. Here in Seattle there’s the Seattle Center of Structural Medicine; in the past I’ve also worked with an Egoscue Method trainer and physical therapist.
It’s so essential to learn to work with your body when we’ve gotten so far removed from it. (How many hours do you spend a day working? And how many hours a day do you spend using your body?) To get your interest piqued, I’ve included a few thoughtful videos on hip health below. Again, these videos are not intended to cure, diagnosis or treat disease; I include them only to raise your awareness around hip health. These exercises may not be appropriate for all individuals. Always consult with your healthcare provider before trying a new exercise.
Foam Rolling Your Hip Flexor: New Technique
Hip Flexor Stretch on the Foam Roller
Stretch Routine for Hip Flexibility & Mobility
Restorative Yoga – Hip Opening with Charlie Samos (Beginners)
45 minute Hip Opening Yoga Class (More Advanced)
Don’t Confuse Hip Flexor Weakness For Tightness
Gluteus Medius: Activation and Strengthening Exercises
Correcting Common Posture Deviations: Hip/Pelvic Elevation
1-2-3 Correcting Pelvic Disparity
Having read this post today, how might you care for your hips this week? Is there anything you’ve been pushing away that you might tend to? Is it time to take salsa lessons? Feel free to share your experience in the comments!