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April 27, 2015
Are your students asking about solutions for hip pain? Here are two uniquely different approaches that yoga teachers should be aware of. The problem with a sitting culture is the hips are not maintained by constant hours of sitting in a chair while operating a computer. We thought computers would save us time. Now we sit for hours in work and if we're self-employed, we sit for more hours working after hours.
Restorative Yoga for Hip Health
The hips can cause great discomfort for many individuals, whether it is due to injuries from an active lifestyle, the aging process, or the daily strains of living. If you are plagued with pain, stiffness or tightness in your hips, you may find that yoga can actually be restorative, providing you with relief and greater mobility. Through regular practice of yoga, you will find that the muscles warm up through the stretching process. Over time, a greater range of motion is possible as flexibility is enhanced. Yoga can work wonders for an assortment of maladies, including the hips, and is an excellent alternative for exercise because it is not high impact in nature. You can go at your own pace and skill level, gradually increasing the difficulty of your regimen over time. It is important to be aware of your body, find your limits, and get the most out of each yoga workout in order to improve the condition of your hips.
Restorative yoga takes advantage of the use of props in order to address different areas of the body. While you may use the same poses that are typically used in yoga, you will find that your body will become engaged in a particular pose for a longer period of time when you practice restorative yoga. This is made possible when you use props such as the wall, pillows, bolsters, chairs, and straps. Poses may last as long as fifteen minutes and can target an area of need. Your yoga workout can be tailored to address your hips. Work with your instructor to ensure you get the greatest benefits from your sessions.
Yoga poses that benefit the hips include those in which you place your legs against the wall with some type of pillow or bolster to provide support. A pillow could be placed under your hips or your back. The Child's Pose can also be helpful as you use a prop for your upper body with your feet under your hips. The Savasana is an excellent pose for deep relaxation and can be enhanced by the use of props that are placed beneath your feet, legs, and head. As you continue to practice restorative yoga and place a focus on your hips, you should begin to see an improvement. Exercises can be gentle according to your needs, helping you to loosen your body and have more comfort.
Yin Yoga for Your Hips
Yoga teachers should always be concerned with teaching exercise sequences that will help to repair and restore bodily function due to injury or other damage. When the hip joint is compromised, students may require yin asanas to restore functionality. The practice of yin yoga for increased function and flexibility within the hip joint is ideal when properly applied.
Yin yoga uses special postures to target the connective tissues including the ligaments, tendons, and joints. When used in combination with yang yoga postures that focus on creating internal heat through the expansion and contraction of muscle groups, yin yoga can effectively restore motion to the hips, lower spine, and pelvis area and decrease pain.
Yin poses are meant to be held for a much longer time than the yang asanas. It is a good idea to alternate a long yin pose with a shorter yang pose. Because the yin poses are held so long, the body will be in a fragile state. The body's position should be returned to a relaxed and natural pose slowly and with support from the hands and arms. These poses have been called the art of sitting still for a very good reason.
The Butterfly pose works very well on the lower back and the hips. The student should lower the body into a seated position and bring the soles of the feet together. Once the soles are joined, the feet should remain joined at the soles and be moved away from the pelvic region. Once a comfortable position has been achieved, the yoga student then slowly moves his head towards his heels by rounding his back. This pose can be done easily throughout the day and is most effective when it is held for three to five minutes. Caution the student to use their hands to slowly return to an upright position.
The Dragon pose works directly on the joint of the hip by stretching the hip flexors and quadriceps. The student should begin by entering the Downward Dog position. One foot should be bent and moved between the two hands. The other leg should be fully extended behind the body. If the knee behind the student is pained by this activity, place a cushion under the kneecap while the student holds the pose.
Yin yoga slowly opens up the joints and restores blood flow. Once the joints have been stretched, they will have a tendency to shake when the body is returned to a more natural position so caution must be exercised. Your students will experience increased range of motion and less pain in their joints when the practice of yoga includes long asanas for the joints.
This is only the tip of the iceberg. To learn more about Yin or Restorative yoga requires independent research, attending yoga instructor workshops or taking an intensive yoga teacher course. These methods are very sound, but require dedicated study in one of these two fields.
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