Apanasana and blocked hips

This term our practice is focused on staying in postures and allowing the muscles to relax in order for joints to release and open.  One of our counterpostures is apanasana – knee to chest pose.  Last night, in the later class we also worked with a gentle form of godhapitham – lizard pose.

Some people are finding the front of the hip of the bent leg is blocking movement.  This is a common experience for people with tight hip flexors (psoas).  I see it in my massage work and teaching yoga.

The psoas is attached to all the lumbar vertebrae (the spine from the waist area to the tailbone) and then travels forward over the hip joint to attach to the inside of the femur (thigh bone).  It’s not something i have tried to explain but having thought it through, there is a simple explanation.  The ‘block’ is probably coming from the movement of the lower spine as it rounds into position in apanasana and godhapitham.   

Lumbar spine and lordosis image

When the psoas is tight, the lumbar or lower back is held in extension (lordosis) as the muscle pulls on the vertebrae and influences the position of the pelvis.  By flexing the spine (moving in the opposite direction) we are asking the psoas to stretch.  As the vertebrae and the pelvis flex the psoas is stretched the muscle grumbles if it is tight.  Muscles never work in isolation, there will be other muscles in the mix.

I hope that’s clear … it’s a lot of words.  We can talk about it in class if the mood takes us.

Have a good week!

Yvonne

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