What if I told you that that tight feeling you have across your hips (better known as cranky hips!) had more to do with your feelings than your daily activities or an old injury?
Sure, our lifestyles these days are a contributing factor:
– We sit a lot.
– We drive in cars a lot.
– We spend time hunched over tech devices…A LOT.
And, yes these things can all cause tightness through the front of your body, including your hips.
But sometimes there’s more to the story… literally.
What if I told you that your hips are tight because of your emotions?
You might think I’m crazy, but read on! I promise you’ll learn that there’s actually a HUGE connection between our emotional wellbeing and those chronically tight spots in your (seemingly cranky) hips.
The Mind/Body Connection: Hips + Emotions
It’s no secret that the mind and body are connected. Yoga teachers have been talking about this stuff for years, and I see it in my own practice all the time.
I’ve seen otherwise healthy clients all of a sudden develop chronic pain or even frozen shoulder after a trauma. Nothing else in their life will have changed. There were no physical injuries that occurred.
The only thing that changed was that they experienced emotional trauma and their body is trying to protect them from discomfort.
Dr. Candace Pert is a neuroscientist who has studied the unique connection between the brain and the body.
She explains it like this,
“Your body is your subconscious mind. Our physical body can be changed by the emotions we experience. The emotional memory is stored in many places in the body, not just or even primarily, in the brain.
I think unexpressed emotions are literally lodged in the body. The real true emotions that need to be expressed are in the body, trying to move up and be expressed and thereby integrated, made whole, and healed.”
So, What’s Up With My “Heartfelt” Hips?
Our bodies are incredibly intuitive and they ultimately want to protect us from harm. When we’re afraid or threatened, our body’s response is to draw the knees to the chest as a form of protection.
This position is so instinctive because it protects our brain and internal organs. It’s similar to the way we tighten our jaw or neck when we’re stressed out. If you’ve done this before, you know it’s not comfortable.
And while it’s truly amazing that our body is so intuitive, there is a downfall. This position shortens the hip flexor muscles keeping them tight and difficult to release leaving YOU feeling tightness or even pain.
What to Do About Tight Hips – and Pent-up Emotions?
Your tight hips AND the emotions that come along with them can be relieved and released with a few simple techniques:
1/ THE POWER OF TOUCH
Not only does massage work out all the kinks and tight spots in your hips (and other areas of your body too!), but it also provides another power-packed tool.
The power of touch is incredible and it all comes down to a little hormone called Oxytocin. Oxytocin is released when we are hugged or touched and it gives us a warm fuzzy feeling.
We experienced it as babies and children when we were comforted by a parent. And we can harness its power as adults in a massage.
2/ JUST ROLL WITH IT
SMR or Self Myofascial Release is a way of performing massage techniques completely on your own.
The Hip Flexor foam roll is an excellent technique that can dramatically increase your range of motion in your hips. It works by breaking up adhesions and knots in the muscle tissue that are restricting our movement.
→ Check out this Youtube Tutorial to learn how to Foam Roll your Hip Flexors.
3/ STRETCH IT OUT – Why “Hip Openers” Release Emotions
Stretching your hips really does kill two birds with one stone, so to speak.
Not only does it provide a tremendous sense of relief, but it also helps to release pent-up emotions. Hip opening stretches can release stress, anxiety, and have even been known to make us tear up from time to time.
So if you shed a tear during your yoga class or even during a massage, know that it is completely normal and just let your body go with it.
PIGEON POSE (or ‘threading the needle’) is a great stretch that relieves tightness in your hips AND your glutes.
You can also check out more stretching techniques for tight hips, low back, neck and shoulders HERE.
The body and the mind are not separate. They work together to protect you from harm, which is truly amazing! And for that reason, we need to treat them together, not separately.
Find a yoga class, a qualified massage therapist, or experienced bodyworker who acknowledges this unique link and supports your wellness through body AND mind.
Ready to release those tight hips, and move MUCH better… today?