Hips feel Stuck?  This might be the reason why…

Hips feel Stuck? This might be the reason why…

Some people walk into their first yoga class, press the soles of their feet together and boom – their knees fall right to the ground for a perfect bound angle pose. Other people practice for decades and still need to sit on something to get their knees to level with their hip bones – the measure for this pose to be safe for your spine. Often, the latter group will ask their teacher “will my hips ever open?”. The answer is, most likely, no. That doesn’t mean you should stop stretching them – but it might change how and why you stretch them. If your hip mobility is limited when you first begin yoga, there is hope of improvement. However, if you’ve been working on it for years or even decades, the problem is most likely the structure of the joint itself. Just as human beings come in a variety of shapes and sizes, so do their bones. The largely ignored consequence of this diversity is that human movement varies greatly from person to person. Your ability to perform many traditional yoga poses is determined more by the shape of your bones than the stretch of your muscles. While there is infinite variety in the human form, there are two main structural differences in the hip joint that inform your ability to perform yoga poses. The first is the size of your femur head & the depth of your acetabulum (hip socket). People with a deeper hip socket tend to have less mobility in their hips because the bones with encounter limitations more quickly. In the photograph below you...
Will Yoga Wreck Your Hips?

Will Yoga Wreck Your Hips?

People have been asking me for my response to William Broad’s latest NY Times article on yoga, so here you go: While the article is a bit sensationalistic, it does bring up a very important topic that is the elephant in the room in conversations about the benefits of yoga: the problem of hypermobile people making flexibility the main focus of their exercise regime. Muscles need to be both strong and flexible in order to be healthy. Yoga isn’t inherently just about flexibility, but it does have a flexibility bias. Of course it’s problematic to talk about ‘yoga’ as if it were a defined entity – it definitely is not. However, since yoga classes have become ubiquitous in the US, it’s important to me to observe the trends (both positive and negative) and see how I can be a part of the solution. The unfortunate truth is that naturally supple people tend to train flexibility and naturally stable people tend to train strength. This is a mistake in either direction. It’s a classic story. A naturally flexible person attends their first yoga class & the poses come easily. This makes them feel sucessful, and they often get positive reinforcement from the teacher or other students. The combination of internal and external reinforcement entices the student to practice regularly and a love of yoga is born. I was one of these people. Never very athletic, I pretty much hated exercise until I found yoga. Finally, an exercise modality that I was good at! Within a few years of practice, I loved it so much that I took a teacher training....
Yoga for Tin Men and Women

Yoga for Tin Men and Women

If you get out of bed in the morning feeling stiff and creaky, this is a great yoga class for you. This short audio yoga practice focuses on lubricating, strengthening, and mobilizing your joints. Not just for tin men & women, all of us who care about our bodies can benefit from a focus on maintaining the health & strength of our joints. Your joints are the basic tools for movement in your body and your muscles engage to act on your joints. Joints have a healthy range of motion and when they are either overstretched or underutilized it will cause a cascade of problems and eventually injury. By maximizing joint function, you will be able to move more freely, reduce pain, and recruit your muscles more effectively. Most exercise focuses on muscular action; the action of the joints is presumed. Warming up your joints before you workout will increase the effectiveness of your workout – whether yoga, running, weightlifting, cycling or any other activity the focuses on muscles rather than joints. Age, cold weather, and physical activity (or lack thereof) all have profound impact on our joints. This audio yoga class is a perfect winter practice, great for first thing in the morning, or right before a workout. So whether you would like to improve your performance, feel better in your body, or just counter the effects of aging – focus on your...
Gentle Yoga for Energy

Gentle Yoga for Energy

This audio yoga class is for those days where you can’t imagine doing more than childs pose in your yoga practice. Whether sleep deprived, under the weather, jetlagged, or just plain run down, this yoga class will help you get through your day.  This audio yoga class starts out super super slowly and lazily. As your energy builds through the gentle breathing & movement, the yoga poses get just a little more active.  The end result is feeling better in your body, no matter how you started out. Listen to Gentle Yoga for...
Hippy Yoga

Hippy Yoga

We all sit way more than our ancestors did – if they did at all. For most of human history, squatting was the low energy way to hang out. Now that many of us are sitting most of the time, our hip have gotten mighty tight. This 20 minute audio class is designed to help our hips chillax – and that leads to less back & shoulder pain...