Daily Practice: The Secret Life of Hip Joints – A Movement Meditation

Hip Muscles

I made some interesting observations during my daily Awareness Through Movement® practice, so I thought I would share. This exploration bears no resemblance to the lesson from which it was inspired.

 NOTE: This can be very subtle work, so go slowly and be patient with yourself. Go through this exercise even if you think you don’t notice anything. Your nervous system is receiving more information than you may realize. I encourage you to repeat this exploration several times and you may find that you experience it a little differently each time you do it as your ability to notice becomes more refined.

 Your hip joints are the largest joints in your body and are surrounded and supported by a sturdy group of muscles, tendons and ligaments. Your hip joints participate in many more movements throughout the day then you may be aware of.  For example, to simply turn your head to the right or left – if you pay close attention – you’ll notice that your hip joints respond.

To begin, sit on a hard surface such as a  wooden chair (without a cushion) or hard wood floor.  Sit in any way that will allow you to relax your entire body and also allow you to turn your head left and right without interference.

Very slowly and gently (no need to stretch or try to look further to the right then is easy) turn your head to the right and back to center several times with your primary attention on your pelvis and hip joints. Rest for a few second without doing anything. Now very slowly and gently, turn your head to the left and return to center several times with your attention on your pelvis and hip joints. Rest.

 Begin again to turn your head very slowly* to the right and return to center. Do this several times, letting your eyes be drawn to something a little to the right of you. As you go through this exploration, avoid holding any part of your body still. Allow the rest of your body to respond to the movements of your head – without making movement happening or stopping movement from happening.

 Very slowly begin to alternate allowing your eyes to be drawn first to the right, through center and to the left. Without stretching or striving to look further to either side than is easy, notice if turning your head to look right is different from turning your head to look left. Is it easier to look in one direction than to look in the other direction?

 Since we do not organize ourselves or use ourselves equally, right side and left side, our musculature as well as levels of flexibility, strength and coordination will also be different. It is not necessary to “even things up”. No matter how ambidextrous we are, we will always  have a right-left preference and our use will always be different. No need to learn to write with both hands – you might write with one and eat with the other. Use them both in ways to maintain mobility.

Notice how your pelvis and hip joints respond.

How does your right hip joint respond when you look to the right?

How does your right hip joint respond when you look to the left?

How does your left jip joint respond when you look to the right?

How does your left hip joint respond when you look to the left?

Notice which hip joint participates more when you look to the right; which hip joint participates when you look left.

You may or may not be able to put what you feel/notice/sense/observe into words – that’s fine.  We do not have language for the ocean of sensation that is possible.  You do not have to be able to put your sensations and observations into words for them to be real or valid. Keep feeling !

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*On going slow, gently and easily:

Moving slowly and gently allows us to more clearly feel not only what we are doing, but how. If you don’t feel what you think you should, avoid trying harder by putting more effort into your movement. You won’t benefit by working harder – the sensations will be lost in the noise of your effort. Breathe normally and  let your movements be light and simple.

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