Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I Have the Hips of a Dog

Based upon my body type and shape it's quite possible I was a Labrador Retriever in a previous life:

1 - Labs love to get a running start and jump off the deck into the water to play in the waves. I will take my shoes off and jump in the ocean whether it's January or July.
2 - Labs are hard workers and known for their strength, yet enjoy lounging in the sun. I love sweating it out in the gym and tackling a new yoga pose. As much as I love laying on the porch swing in the sun.
3 - Labs are big, thick dogs who prefer to think they are small enough to snuggle on the bed under the covers. I've been called thick a couple times myself, and yes I like to snuggle under the covers.
4 - Labs are known for having bad hips. I too have achy hips.

I roll over many times throughout the night just to alternate which hip I'm laying on. The other morning, my hips were really bothering me and before I even got out of bed I rolled over into supta baddha konasana (reclining bound angle). In fact I fell back asleep like this and woke up 20 minutes later still in the pose!

My hips are my barometer to what is going on in my body. Ear infection or strep throat? I'll feel it in my hips first. A heavy menstrual month? My hips will warn me. Packing on a few extra pounds? The hips are more accurate than a scale.

According to Deb Shapiro in her book Your Body Speaks Your Mind, problems in the hip area can indicate an inability to let go of the past, fear of change and difficulty with intimacy and trust.

Well, I definitely get anxious about the thought of major change. I don't let too many people get close to me and it takes a long time for me to trust new people.

The hips, lower back, sacral area, abdomen and genitals are part of the second chakra. Chakras are like spinning wheels of energy. There are a total of seven chakras in the body, each spinning energy upwards  from the spinal column.

This second chakra is connected to emotional identity. So stuffing down feelings and refusing to express them, allowing guilt to manifest for things out of our control and the need to stay stoic at all times cause blockages in the second chakra.

Feel guilty for having human feelings? Who me?

Yes, me.

My home practice is heavy with hip openers. I can always tell when I've gone too many days without asana by the tightness in my hips. I'll do hip circles while on long car drives. And, of course, I embrace my lab likeness.

Yoga for Hips and the Second Chakra:
New lab puppy Stella
laying on my lap during
morning meditation.

  • Seated hip circles
  • Low lunge
  • Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II)
  • Utthita Parsvakonasana (extended side angle)
  • Ardha Chandrasana (balancing half moon)
  • Eka Pada Kapotasana (pigeon pose)
  • Gomukhasana (cow face pose)
  • Ananda Balasana (happy baby)
  • Supta Baddha Konasana (reclining bound angle)
  • Seated meditation 
This series, especially the meditation, is best done with a beautiful Lab laying next to your mat.


  1. Oh, I do love me some happy baby pose. It is quite relaxing. Thanks for this post! You know I've got tight hips too.

  2. any activity where a black lab is by your side is special. the love and acceptance from these amazing creatures often remind me that life is better spent with an open heart <3 great post!