If you struggle with hip tightness or pain, I have complete empathy.
My right hip has been so tight for the last few years that I often cannot sit cross legged in yoga.
I often cheat – grabbing a block to relieve the discomfort or pulling my knees close to my chest.
I also find myself avoiding other hip opening poses like pigeon and Malasana Squat.
Today I was smart enough to bring the Fascia Release™ blend to yoga and decided to apply a bit to my hips to see if it might help relieve the tension.
The moment I did, the tears started flowing.
In that moment, I remembered that I used to carry Max on my right hip when he was a baby, often as I ran after his older sister.
The pain and intensity of that memory flooded over me.
As it did, I realized that the physical pain was likely linked to the emotional intensity. As I breathed into and released the emotion, the pain and tension began to release as well.
As I continued to apply the Fascia Release essential oil blend and move through the class, I noticed that the intensity of the discomfort subsided to the point where I didn’t wince when with pain during pigeon pose at the end of the class (a first).
How Hips Support Emotions
Your hips are the biggest joint in the body and the point where the thigh and pelvis meet, acting alongside the spine to stabilize and carry the weight of the upper body, support your posture and enable movements, like walking and sitting Your hips also serve as the first line of defense when we are introduced to tension, fear, overwhelm and other negative emotions.
Your hip joint is surrounded by several muscles, including your centrally located psoas muscle which connects your upper and lower body both physically and emotionally.
Your psoas muscle helps you:
- Stabilize your trunk and spine during movement and sitting
- Allow you to bend your hips and legs towards your chest
- Support your internal organs
- Connects to your diaphragm which allows you to walk and breathe.
Your psoas is surrounded by your kidneys and the adrenal glands, which are related to our stress and fear response.
This physical proximity may also correlate with a. physical response, as your psoas muscles physically tightens in response to emotional stressors. You tense up and clench your muscles, especially in your hips and legs as your legs allow you to either flee from or fight back against danger.
When the muscles clench, they shorten. If the tension is never fully released, not only is muscular tension trapped – the emotion is also trapped.
Even after the stress passes, the tension may remain in your hips. For example, trauma causes a huge compression or tightening in the hips (especially sexual trauma because of the proximity to your reproductive system).
Hip Mobility and Movement Challenges
Your hip joints help you bear weight, stabilize your core, and move your legs. The tighter your hips are, the less mobility your body has. This may contribute to a lack of mobility and movement presenting as symptoms like:
- General tightness or stiffness
- Tightness or an ache in your lower back, especially when standing, walking or moving.
- Poor posture and difficulty standing up straight.
- Neck tightness and pain.
- Pain and discomfort in the hip, lower back, pelvis or groin area
- Instability walking or climbing stairs
- Muscular weakness and injury to the muscles, tendons and ligaments around the hip area
- Pain in an adjacent muscle group, like your glutes or core
- Poor posture and misalignment of the head and neck that may be caused by an anterior tilt of the pelvis from tight hips
The psoas muscles connect the lumbar spine through the pelvis to the top of the femur. When we are under stress, these become shortened and tighter, which can result in low back pain, sciatica, constricted vital organs and inhibited breathing through its connection with the diaphragm.
The psoas and the diaphragm are so reliant on one another, that when one is constricted, so is the other. As a result of prolonged periods of stress, the psoas is constantly contracted and consequently diminishes the body’s ability to effectively release tension.
Relaxing the psoas allows the diaphragm to function properly, improving our ability to breathe deeply. This not only impacts every system in our body, it also improves our mental and emotional state.
Hips Don’t Lie — They Bury
Your hips are where you store your emotional vulnerabilities – where you can literally tuck away your feelings in your hip pockets. My yoga teacher used to refer to the hips as the body’s “emotional junk drawer” – the storage vessel of your emotions.
Emotions in your hips may represent the following:
Fear the future: The front of your hips – or your front body – is where you face the future. Tight hips can mean that you’re hesitant about facing the future – or afraid of living up to expectations, either our own or others.
Holding onto the past: The back of the hips, which may include a tight lower back and glutes, are linked to the past or your inability to let go of the past.
Fear of relationships: The hips are a place where we store relationships energy, especially romantic relationship energy. If you have tight hips you may be holding onto emotional or physical trauma, including trauma from childbirth. The hips are located at the second chakra which is linked to sexuality, desire, pleasure, and procreation. When the second chakra is blocked it hinders our ability to let go, open up, love others and yourself.
Release Emotions in the Hips
Essential oils can help to release fear, trauma, and stress associated with tight hips.
Fascia Release™ is uniquely formulated to unravel deeply held tensions, constrictions and energetic blockages in your tissues – like your hips – to reduce pain, improve blood and lymphatic circulation and release fear, repressed emotions, and tension held in the body (organs, muscles, tendons, bones and joints) or the mind.
You can topically apply Fascia Release™ directly on the hip and low back to help improve circulation and keep your joints lubricated to support flexibility in the muscles and tissues surrounding it. This, in turn, improves in your range of motion, reducing tightness in your hips and releasing emotions.
The arch of your foot also correlates to the psoas muscle in reflexology. By applying pressure to the arch of the foot or applying Fascia Release blend, you can release some of the tension in your hip area.
It is helpful to combine movement like yoga with the application of Fascia Release™. Adding deep breathing to the application of Fascia Release essential oil blend helps you create the space that you need in your hips to release tension and discomfort.
One small note of caution: Opening and releasing the hips can cause pent-up or suppressed emotions to resurface, which may unleash a barrage of tears.
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