Hip Hop Heart
My hip hurts. After sitting in sukasana for just ten minutes a familiar pain creeps in. All I can do is concentrate on that ache. I can let it go for a moment or two and then it’s back. It’s chronic. It was painful yesterday, and the day before that, and the day before that—my left femur (upper leg bone) and acetabulum (hip socket) are having a miscommunication that I am trying hard to repair. It will take my conscious effort as well as the help of experts to fix it.
Perhaps egged on by my hip pain, I’ve been working a lot with joints in my classes, the places where bones meet to provide some sort of change of facility through motion. They are places that are very vulnerable to injury and spots where energy can easily get misdirected. The bones that create the joint are usually held together by ligaments that can get overstretched and cause instability. And, through the aging process, joints can lose the fluid that protects them and removes some space between bones and creates that painful rub of bone against bone.
Joint health is not limited to bones. We can look at our relationships—marriage, parenthood, and business partnerships—in much the same way. Keeping them healthy requires both alignment and freedom of mobility. Relationships need to be kept fluid and spacious without overtaxing the strings that attach us.
Many people feel this acutely during the holidays, when things can get a little tight and expectations are high around loved ones.
While teaching a yoga class focusing on joints, a student asked me if yoga could heal a broken heart. The heart is nestled by the lungs, in essence creating a joint between the two.
I looked at the young man who asked the question, knowing that every day he woke up with an ache in his chest at least as troublesome as the one I have in my hip, and answered that finding the space between the lungs and heart, between breath and rhythm, and taking time to let feelings get unstuck, fluid, and less constricted is key.
Yes, I believe a broken heart can be healed by practice. It just takes time and space.