Last weekend I met for the Ritual Movement Method Teacher Training and had a h.e.a.v.y experience. We all did. The weekend before we all did a whole bunch of hip opening work, we all had some pretty intense personal experiences in the week that followed, and then talked it out (read: collectively cried for 45 minutes). It was a lot. And I struggled with it for many reasons but the main one being that I hate crying in front of others. I do it, but I hate it.
And I'm working on that.
I have a beautiful writer of a friend who recently put out a blog post called "The Things I'm Not Sorry For Anymore" and it really struck me (so go read it and marvel over the beauty that is her writing because I can't do it justice). A significant part that has hung on from both her blog and the overall wealth of wisdom that she gifts me, has been to stop apologizing for my emotions.
And it's so haaarrrddd for me to do, and for many of us to do. It's hard because we often associate our own vulnerability as weakness when it's so intensely the opposite. Vulnerability IS strength. But even knowing this, it takes time to reframe the mind and allow ourselves to let our emotions run fluid.
Here's a little excerpt:
"I am learning to not be sorry for having deep emotion. I am not sorry that my tears make you uncomfortable or that my past experiences have made me intolerant to ignorance or that I find your joke offensive." YEP.
So when I heard that hip opening exercises, like Robin's Hips Don't Lie video, can bring up a lot of emotions, I was curious. But I did the video when she first released it a few months ago expecting a big emotional moment... and felt nothing but sore hips the next day. Okay sure, no big deal, love the DOMS.
And then two weekends ago we met for the Ritual Movement Method Teacher Training and opened up dem hips for almost 6 hours. Did I feel the emotional side of movement? No. Not at all. Still nothing.
A week later we met again and the majority of the women in the group had gone through a huge emotional release after our last session... and I sat there feeling cheated out of the full experience. I wanted it! I wanted to experience this deep connection between movement and my emotions other that the obvious feelings of joy that normally follow a good sweat sesh.
I thought "maybe I'm doing it wrong", "maybe I'm not the ball of emotions I thought I was", "maybe I don't hold anything in my hips"....
And then it hit me. Hard.
Robin took us through a guided meditation to deal with all the 'stuff' we were individually/collectively dealing with, and I LOST IT. I have never experienced such a full on emotional overload like that before. There was no warning, no build up, just a bunch of stuff came barreling out all at once and I hated it. I fought against it the entire time, tried to calm myself down, refused to lean into it or let it flow, and felt big shame for showing such extreme emotion even in such a safe space.
But (but but!) when it was all over I did appreciate how beautiful it was to experience such extreme emotions from movement. During and after moving my body I've felt pure joy, frustration, strength, weakness, but never an uncontrollable sadness like I did on Saturday. Old shit coming to the surface that was held up in my damn hips. It was a wild realization.
I get it. Yoga, pilates and other movement practices are holistic practices, affecting more than just the physical body. I know that moving can make me feel joyous and relaxed and accomplished, so having this alternative (and delayed!) experience was crazy.
SO WHY ARE OUR HIPS SO TIGHT?
Because we're sometimes/usually/always sitting. Our society is so often sitting at a desk, sitting in front of a computer, sitting watching TV or sitting in transit that we often don't allow ourselves to properly stretch out our hips. So when we hold tension in this area, similar to how we can hold tension in our neck and shoulders, it's hard for this tension to be released.
And this is where a proper movement practice can benefit much more than just the physical body. Much much more. Stretch that stuff out. Squat deep, stand tall, create big, wide knee circles and move your hips in ways that feel really good, sticky, and beneficial. Stuff might come up right then and there, it might come up an hour later, or (if you're like me) it might come up 7 days later when you really don't want it to. Ah, life.
Curious? Give this 30 minute HIPS DON'T LIE video, created by Robin, a try. It was my first introduction into hip strengthening and mobility work. And then when it's hard, frustrating and sticky, do it again and again. It does get easier, promise.