Full disclosure: I go to shockingly few public yoga classes. You’re more likely to spot me in a dance class around town. I do, however, have a daily movement practice, and it doesn’t look very much like a typical asana class.
Sometimes I slither and slip through variations of sun salutations, shimmying when Dej Loaf pops up on my playlist. Other days I hop from arm balance to inversion and hold plank in between. Sometimes I hold long, low lunges, shifting back and forth, eventually making my way into my version of splits for that day. Sometimes I hold Goddess pose on my tiptoes, swirling my torso and pouring my pelvis backward and forward.
In my own practice, I use movement to drop out of my head and into my body, where my innate wisdom lies. When I’m in my body, I make grounded decisions, I tend to be less reactive, my creativity flows and I feel ultra-connected to my own intuition and the Divine. Everything seems to go just a little more smoothly, things fall into place a little more easily, and I’m just a smidge more perceptive.
In my experience, the fastest way to get out of your body is to follow your hips. As women, our hips are our power center, our reset button, and our outlet to everything we need to know. By physically moving them–or rather, following them, we are transported to the primal, wild and wise part of ourselves that knows what to do, always.
By refining the perception of sensations in your hips, you tune into that wise part that will never steer your wrong. It’s like checking with that “gut” feeling–the more you listen, the more it tells you: what decision is most true to your highest self, what is most nourishing, and how to heal old emotions, ancestral wounds…pretty much everything.
In my asana classes, where I work almost exclusively with (sometimes pregnant) women, allowing for this time to listen to the hips. This is what I love about Qoya, where a little time in each practice is devoted to opening the heart and and the hips with sweet fluidity.
Set the mood.
I love to practice with music lately. Good beats in the background get my hips talking quick (see the bottom of this post for a playlist specially crafted for this practice). If you’re practicing at night, it’s super saucy to do this by candle light.
This could be hands and knees in table, or sitting back on your heels. Begin with shifting the hips backward and forward.
If this is a little hard to feel, imagine your pelvis is a bowl of cherries. If you tilt it forward, sticking your butt out by lifting the tailbone, the cherries will spill forward (in an anterior tilt). If you bring your pubic bone up, the cherries will spill out behind your, and you’ll come into a posterior tilt of the pelvis.
Rotate between these two movements on your heels, or in table pose (cat pose is the posterior/backward tilt, cow pose is the anterior/forward tilt). Allow the rest of your body to follow, as if your hips are the initiation point and the rest of the breath and movement are undulating through the rest of your spine and limbs.
Now that you have the movement down, your hips are calling the shots here.
It’s OK if it feels awkward at first: how many chances do we get to move your hips just for ourselves? Just for their own sake? Not for someone else, not to tighten our asses–just for the pure pursuit for saying hello, like greeting that fierce Goddess of a friend of yours who you adore to pieces.
Being exploratory, curious and playful, how do your hips want you to move? Maybe they want to move through some delicious sun salutations, or child’s pose, or thrust-dance across the room (yesssss.)? Take whatever comes, laugh with yourself, or acknowledge some heavy stuff that might arise. It’s all good.
It helps me to keep my eyes closed, at least at first, and allow my arms and legs to be extensions of the same energy my hips are emitting. It’s like you’re the vessel for all the exquisiteness in your hips right now. Your are that energy incarnate.
- Pop your yoni egg in. ‘Nuff said.
- With your eyes closed, imagine your pelvic bowl and see what’s in there. Any feelings of stuckness or blockages? Any feelings of ease or sweetness? Do you see colors? Textures? What emotions come up? Follow the sensation and allow that to lead you.
- Can you take this same hip-centered attitude into your regular movement practice? If you’re a runner, a climber, a cyclist, a yogi or dancer, how can you let your hips speak though the way you move?
- When it’s time to move on with your day, can you follow your hips around all day? What would your hips have you say? Or eat? How would your hips walk and who would they flirt with? Who would they steer you away from?
And now for your hip-shimmying pleasure:
Want to get more in tune with your hips? Check out this free Womb Meditation to supercharge your practice.