How to Move Through Trauma with Hip-Opening Yoga Poses

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RABIA MEGHANI July 16 2020

How to Move Through Trauma with Hip-Opening Yoga Poses  - Yoga Pose
How to Move Through Trauma with Hip-Opening Yoga Poses  - Yoga Pose
How to Move Through Trauma with Hip-Opening Yoga Poses  - Yoga Pose

At some point or the other, we have all encountered some form of trauma. Whether it be in a toxic relationship, from our childhood or in a workspace to a battle with cancer or illness, each and every one of us has experienced something so incredibly uncomfortable that it ended up shaping the way we viewed and went about life.

When trauma goes unprocessed, or not fully dealt with it tends to store itself in different parts of the body. One particular place trauma stores itself is in the hips.

How Your Body Stores Trauma

While eastern healing and the yoga community have supported the idea that unprocessed trauma gets stored in the body and more specifically the hips, more and more research has been conducted on the connection between the mind and body. Psychology Today wrote that hip-opening yoga class can lead to an “unexpected release of emotions”. Moreover this particular study found an interesting correlation between the tension of the jaw and the tension of the hip. The release of one led to the release of the other.

How to Move Through Trauma with Hip-Opening Yoga Poses  - Yoga Pose

Setting the Tone for Trauma Yoga

Working through trauma requires courage, vulnerability and patience which is why it is imperative that we go at our own pace and never force the body to address concerns it is not ready to at the moment. Creating space for working with ourselves in a safe and comfortable environment will allow us to address and move through the trauma that has stored itself deep inside the tight spaces of our bodies.

Hip-Opening Yoga Poses for Trauma

Here are some hip-opening yoga asana/poses you can do in the comfort of your own space:

How to Move Through Trauma with Hip-Opening Yoga Poses  - Yoga Pose

1. Child's Pose (Balasana)

Child's Pose, Balasana in Sanskrit, is perhaps the most recognized pose in yoga. A restorative pose that is traditionally used to "reset" between other, more strenuous poses, Child's Pose provides a natural release throughout the hips and glutes, all the way through to the back, shoulders and arms. Hold this position for as long as you need for a stretch that releases the hip and eases the mind.

1. Begin kneeling on your mat
2. Separate your knees to allow for your body to sink low between them
3. Place your arms out straight before you on the mat
4. Lower your head down to the mat between your shoulders
5. Let your body sink, keeping your arms straight in front of you
6. Deepen the stretch by sitting your hips back allowing a pull throughout your entire body
7. Rest your forehead on the mat and breathe in this position

How to Move Through Trauma with Hip-Opening Yoga Poses  - Yoga Pose

2. Bound Angle Pose (Baddha Konasana)

Bound Angle Pose, or Baddha Konasana, offers a bit more of a focused stretch on the hips. This adaptation to sitting cross-legged creates a stretch throughout the inner legs and can be deepened by the use of yoga straps, or simply by pulling your feet closer to your body. Remember to sit up straight while practicing this pose.

1. Sit up tall (use a block or a blanket to help lift your hips)
2. Bend your knees Butterfly your knees out
3. Have the soles of your feet come to touch
4.Bring your heels as close to your hips as comfortably as you can
5. Grab hold of your ankles
6. Breathe deeply into the tight spaces of your hips

How to Move Through Trauma with Hip-Opening Yoga Poses  - Yoga Pose

3. Cow Face Pose (Gomukhasana)

Cow Face Pose, or Gomukhasana, is an intense hip opener. Do not attempt this pose without first bringing awareness to the hips by practicing the other two poses listed above. This pose might be challenging the first few times it is attempted however it will provide a much deeper stretch and create more room for healing in the hips.

1. Sit up tall (use a block or a blanket to help lift your hips)
2. Bend your left knee and guide your left foot towards the right knee
3. Cross your right knee over the left
4. Stack the knees as comfortably as possibly
5. Breathe deeply into the sensations of the hip
6. Switch sides and repeat

How to Move Through Trauma with Hip-Opening Yoga Poses  - Yoga Pose

Using Breath to Move Through Trauma

Stretching deeply and breathing fully into the tight spaces of our body that store trauma will ultimately help us to move in the direction of recovery and healing. Always remember that healing is not linear. Your journey is unique just like you. Every time you find yourself overwhelmed on your path to moving forward, find your way back to the mat or the ground and take a few moments to bring awareness to your hips and your breath.

How to Move Through Trauma with Hip-Opening Yoga Poses  - Yoga Pose

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