and our movement habits
Lets talk about turning movement on its head. Now we’re not going upside down – we’re going to think about yoga and movement differently.
How you create movement habits?
We all have habits in how we move. They affect our overall function. I’ve always thought I have tight hips – you should see my Pigeon Pose, not the prettiest. Yet Hero Pose comes easily. How did this become a movement habit?
I am extremely short and all my life I’ve sat on my feet so that a table will hit me at the right height and not under my armpits! In fact, it’s comfortable for me to move from sitting on my feet to sitting between my feet. I have really developed internal rotation of my thighs and hips.
Movement one way affects other movement
Hero Pose probably contributed to my being extremely tight in the external rotation of my hips. I always like to sit in Easy Pose on a meditation cushion or blanket otherwise my knees are flapping around and I’m not very comfortable. The good news is that there are ways to build up strength and increase my external rotation of the hips. My Warrior II and other external hip rotation poses are feeling smoother. I can even squat with my heels on the ground these days.
So how did I move from struggling with my Warrior II to feeling more comfortable? It all started with Side Angle Pose – and using a block. I can come down onto my block and focus on externally rotating my thigh and hip. Slowly I began to feel the difference in my body and the difference in my Warrior II.
Blocks are great – they really help you get the benefit from a pose. Never hesitate to use them.
Tuning into your body and movement
This movement habit is quite subtle – but a movement habit can be quite simple aspects of how you go about your day too. What movement do you find easy and with which do you feel resistance? Often they are connected. It is fascinating to let that inform your yoga practice and daily life – beginning with our feet, the foundation.
Getting the movement balance right
Feet come into play
- Sit barefoot and spread your toes so there is space between them. If this isn’t accessible use your fingers gently to create space between your toes.
Bringing balance into the mix
- Stand barefoot and bend one knee slightly, so the foot is flexed and is barely off the ground. Just an inch or two high, not very far off the ground. Stand like this, perhaps using the back of a chair to help with balance. Do you feel your standing foot using muscles you don’t know are there? Repeat with the other foot. Do you notice a difference between sides?
Safely going barefoot is very beneficial. There are many muscles in our feet that we don’t use because we’re in shoes so often. Accessing those muscles is very helpful for balance.
Balance and center of gravity
- hop, skip and jump – we don’t change our center of gravity much as adults. Tap into your childhood play and tune into your center of gravity.
Balance off the mat
What in your life unthinkingly comes easily for you? How has this affected your ability to do other things? Is there some balance you want to bring back into your life?
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