I have always suffered from something called Lordosis of the Spine or swayback. As a child my mother took me to her chiropractor who recommended that I do abdominal exercises to strengthen my core and hopefully correct the problem. I have found over the years that while core strengthening exercises do help, the issue for me has more to do with excessively tight hip flexor muscles. The hip flexors are attached to the pelvic floor and, when tight, tip the pelvis and pull the entire body out of proper alignment. If I am not consistent with hip opening exercises I develop pain in my hips, pelvis, lower back, rhomboid area, neck and sometimes jaw. Needless to say, hip opening exercises are a staple in my Organic Yoga practice. They are my yoga bread and butter.
The posture I find most beneficial overall is also one of the most basic. The lunge hip opener has tremendous effect on the hip flexors and works up into the abdominal are as well. I alternate from the position shown below – right leg forward, in this case – back into a hamstring stretch of the right leg. This is one of the single most important poses in my routine.
Hip opening exercises are not limited to the hip flexor. There are many exercises which help loosen the hips and, by association, the pelvis and lower back. Relief from minor pain and discomfort in these areas can be immediate after doing these exercises while long term issues will require more attention.
Hip openers can benefit the digestive system by loosening the muscles surrounding the digestive system and improving energy and blood flow to the area.
The hip area tends to hold stress and anxiety. Hip opening poses help alleviate that and improve emotional well-being. Take your time with these exercises and feel the full effect of releasing tension from your hips and pelvis.