Having a literal pain in the butt is not fun; it can make walking, sitting, and sleeping difficult and uncomfortable. The pain in the butt can be a result of an injury or just everyday dysfunctional movement patterns. It can also be due to age-related degenerative changes in the body. But it is almost always accompanied by chronic muscle contraction somewhere in the hips and imbalanced muscle development.
In this six-week yoga series we will focus on releasing chronic muscle contraction and restoring balanced relationships between different muscles that move and support the hips. Even if you know where your chronic contraction is, it is best to follow this series order because each new practice builds on movements and information presented in the previous one. The intensity of the practices builds gradually as well. We recommend that you do each practice at least three times before moving on to the next one.
Because the hips are weight-bearing joints in your body, the main purpose of this series is to create strength and stability in your hips, so there will be very few “stretchy” movements. Stretching can be counterproductive when we are dealing with chronic muscle contraction, as it can interfere with injury healing and destabilize the joints. Instead, we focus on contracting the structures around the injured areas to increase blood flow, facilitate healing, and develop stability.
This series is not appropriate for very recent, acute injuries—your body will need some time to heal before you begin to work with it. So be sure to wait at least two to three weeks before you begin the program. And, of course, depending on what’s going on, it is always best to consult your doctor before you begin any new movement program. Please feel free to show your doctor the printed yoga sequences that accompany the practice videos to ensure that those movements are safe for your specific situation.
When you follow the videos, please be sure to pay attention to small details and specific instructions—in yoga how you do movements is just as important as what you do. You will also need to move with your breath and keep your attention focused on the target area to avoid injury and get the most out of each pose. Try to stay present with your experience and notice how each movement impacts the body. And if you experience pain while attempting any movement—stop, evaluate, skip it for the time being, and rest in a comfortable position for few breaths before you continue. You can try it again next time and see if your sensations change.
Try to approach this series as an opportunity to connect to your body, to be patient with it, and to care for it. It’s the only one you have, so it’s wise to treat it with respect and appreciation. Let’s get started!