It could be because I am a woman, or it could be because I've always gravitated toward high-stress jobs, but I have struggled for years with hip discomfort. You could say I have become mildly obsessed with figuring it out, and I mostly use my yoga practice to do so. But time and time again, I come back to the reality that is, "Our hips are essentially the 'junk drawer' of our bodies."
According to Organic Authority, the hips are "where we put emotions when we don’t know what else to do with them".
Anyone that's done a long-hold in Pigeon pose can relate-- it's in this pose that I often most recognize my stuff coming up. When we work to open the hips, we're also releasing stored emotions, which can feel really therapeutic. It's also when we learn to relax into it and breathe deep, sitting with the discomfort, that we find the ultimate release. In that moment of letting go and surrendering is when it can start to feel good. The metaphor is not lost on me!
The important thing is to recognize this connection and empower yourself to address those emotions that are coming up for you, essentially taking the practice off the mat.
Below are 6 Things Tight Hips Say About Your Emotional Health
According to Lindsay Simmons, owner of Empower Healing, the tightness in hips aren’t just physical; it’s so much more than that. Simmons, a Jivamukti yoga teacher who also specializes in body work, sees the impact of the hips in her work constantly.
“The hips are emotionally charged, a place where we store some of our deepest vulnerabilities,” says Simmons.
1. You fear the future.
Simmons contends that the front of the hips, or the “front body” is where we face the future. Tight hips, psoas, and hip flexors can mean that we’re hesitant about facing the future. More specifically, we fear living up to our own expectations and those laid out by others. Whether it's having the right job, right husband, perfect amount of kids, etc.
2. You fear relationships.
The hips are also a place where we store relationships of all kinds, argues Simmons. They're especially linked to our romantic relationships. If you have tight hips you may be more skittish when it comes to falling in love. But we don’t just hold romantic energy in our hips, we hold business relationships there too. Having trouble at work? You may be holding that negative energy in your hips.
3. You have emotional or physical trauma.
Women who have recently gone through pregnancy and birth tend to have tight hips because it’s a place of physical and sometimes emotional trauma, says Simmons. The hips can take a beating during childbirth and as a result, afterwards, they tighten up. If something traumatic happens to you to cause tight hips, you may also be storing that negative energy in your hips.
4. The hips and your chakras.
The hips are located at the second chakra, also known as Svadhisthana. The second chakra is linked to sexuality, desire, pleasure, and procreation. When the second chakra is blocked it hinders our ability to let go and let it flow. You may have noticed that in deep hip openers, you have a tendency to clinch or hold on because you simply can’t fully open up to the posture.
5. You have an inability to love yourself.
I mentioned earlier that the hips are about relationships and it’s worth noting the most important relationship of all: the one you have with yourself. Tight hips may indicate an inability to fully open up, and more importantly, fully love yourself.
6. You hold onto the past.
While the front of the hips indicate a fear of the future, the back of the hips are linked to the past and our inability to let go of it. The back of the hips, which may include a tight lower back and glutes, mean that you may be too focused on the past, according to Simmons.
Yoga Wake Up offers up a lot of ways to get into your hips, many of which are easy sequences that can be done in bed. We highly recommend Morning Hip Sequence by Michelle Goldstein, Get Hippy by Miles Borrero, or Sacral chakra meditation by Ali Owens. You can practice with all of these when you subscribe to Yoga Wake Up.
Start slow and steady and remember to breathe and relax into any discomfort (Unless you feel pain, as then it is OK to back off.) If you would like to share your experience with hip openers, feel free to do so in the comments.