I had a entirely different topic to cover in this blog but I think it was weather-induced, so I ditched it. Instead, I will share my musings of my attachment to my hip popping. Following both pregnancies and subsequent days/weeks/months/years holding my babies on one hip, for some time, I have experienced a popping sound in my right hip. It is not an alarming pop but a reassuring one in which I believe the hip is correcting itself. I also had this one movement I do in bed where I squeeze all the leg and glut muscles together and I receive in return yet another reassuring pop of what I thought was a treatment.
I have come to discover through my own awareness of stress on my low back and intermittent pain running down my left leg and through the observations of my Yoga Therapy colleagues that I have an SI dysfunction (sacro-illiac). It is where the joint of my illium (back crest at the top of your pelvis) and my sacrum should connect but don't all the time. A gentle little squeeze or hip movements will pop it back into place. The SI joint is very important for stabilization and taking the brunt force of our movements. My SI joint may have become hypermobile during childbirth but then rigid with bearing more weight unevenly, i.e. carrying kids. Please note that this is my own diagnosis, not one of a professional.
Presently, my SI pain is sometimes felt as a sensation down my back left leg to the knee or a stiffness to my walking, limited range of motion, and low back pain. Recently, I have learned some valuable exercises which I practice daily and have seen improvements in the above areas. The self-correcting in bed was a short-term, easy fix. But I miss my popping sounds and my limited range of motion in my hips and legs. I have become attached to my dysfunction. And I grieve in a very small way its loss. This happens to the best of us where we relate who we are with what we experience in our bodies and our minds. We are this cancer, we are this diabetes, we are this addiction and so on and so on...
I share with my students that they are not this pain, this disease, this dysfunction. It is part of them but not who they are. I was surprised that I related to the SI dysfunction as an integral part of me, and that I miss it when it is lessened. When I had breast cancer, I didn't relate to having cancer except to deal with it. It didn't consume me (literally and figuratively) because I was so much more than my cancer diagnosis, treatment and recovery. So a little SI stuff is what I attach to?
In Yoga, attachment is a ticket to suffering. Furthermore, these sufferings or afflictions are outlined in the Yoga Sutras as the Kleshas (Patanjali, Sutra II.3). Ignorance, egoism, attachment, aversion, and clinging to bodily life or fear of death. These are the five obstacles or sources of despair. I stuck to my little pops and painful sensations as my coping strategy. Rather than seek out a possible treatment for it, I stayed with what is easy and convenient. Pops and complaining. I now have learned really effective methods for me to build my muscles, tone my ligaments and gently stretch the area. I can't guarantee that I will be pain-free or pop-less forever, but at the present moment all is quiet.
Belly Down Pose with Hip Opener
Props: 2 blankets, neck roll or small pillow for head
Benefits: gently opens hips, lengthens leg muscles and tops of the feet, soothing for the belly, shoulder opener, grounding, lessens anxiety
Stack one or two blankets to the side folded in half. As you release to the floor, lengthen the body and then bend the leg at 90 degree angles to lay on the blankets to the side. Arms can come to goddess position, head turned to the side or stack hands as a pillow. For those with tight shoulders, extend arms by the sides of the body. When you need to turn the head, do so with a soft inhalation.
Legs up Variation
Props: 1-2 bolsters, block, 1-2 blankets, neck roll or one bolster and two blocks for more inclined variation
Benefits: drains fluid from the legs, releases pelvic floor, chest and shoulder opener, back of legs get a gentle stretch
Place one bolster horizontally on mat (for the knees) and one vertically (for the feet, ankes and lower legs). Arrange a triple-folded blanket horizontally (lumbar and thoracic spine area). Recline legs over the bolsters and lower the upper body on the blanket. Adjust so that the tips of the shoulder blades are right above the blanket. Add neck pillow under neck and move arms to Goddess position if comfortable for your shoulders. Otherwise, they can go by your side or stack hands on top of your belly. 10 to 15 minutes, dropping the weight of your body on the exhalations.
Savasana with feet at Wall
Labels: Belly Down with Hip Opener, Kleshas, Legs Up Variation, Savasana