Spinal Movements Sequence (Part 10): Activating Opposing Sides of the Hip Joint Complex

This video is Part 10 of a YogaSynergy Spinal Movements Sequence taught by physiotherapist and Director of Yoga Synergy, Simon Borg-Olivier, which he teaches in person in courses throughout the world as well as Online in courses at RMIT University  and Online in courses at YogaSynergy called Yoga Fundamentals and Applied Anatomy and Physiology of Yoga.

Video transcript and Notes:

The next series of movements balance on one leg and give activation on different sides of the hip joint complex. At the same time the hips control the spine so as you activate each part of the hip the corresponding part of the spine also becomes active and the opposite side of hip and spine can be relaxed. Tightening the front of the knee relaxes the back of the knee. Pushing the hips forward firms the front of the spine and the sides can be relaxed because I am breathing diaphragmatic breathing. Turning the thigh out keeps stability in the hip and then I turn the shoulders in to stretch the wrists. Then turning the left hip inwards I come to a side bending movement. Now it’s the left side of my spine that’s active and the right side is relaxed. Again, breathing with my diaphragm into the abdomen helps maintain this. Bring the hips level now, the hip is in flexion, the extensor muscles of the spine become active, the back of the spine is active. Here turning the left thigh inwards releases and reciprocally relaxes the buttocks muscles and allows me to firm my hamstrings which gives tremendous strength to the knee. Then I bend the left elbow and twist to the right side. This moment is emphasised by pressure from the right sitting bone and left armpit. This gives further strength to the spine. Breathing into the abdomen, diaphragmatic breathing gives relaxation to the nervous system and helps to activate the immune system, reproductive system and digestive system. Now I twist to the opposite direction with hip flexion. Pushing the right shoulder to the left and left hip forward gives a spinal firmness; breathing in to the abdomen with the diaphragm gives calmness and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system. Here hip flexion and spinal flexion together. Throughout the movements the fingers and toes in air are spread and that helps pull the blood from the core centre of my body to the fingers and the toes.  The toes on the floor are gently gripping and that helps me balance and pushes the blood away
from the floor against the flow of gravity. Turning the right thigh out and the shoulders in stimulates the right side of the trunk especially so the right side of my spine is firmer than the left. I turn the thigh inwards and I start to extend my left hip and side flex the right side of my spine. So the right side of my spine is quite firm here whereas the left is very, very soft. That means that the right side of my spine sends signals of reciprocal relaxation to the left side of the spine. So if the lower back on the left side of my sine is in spasm or sore then tightening the right side can release that. Turning my right thigh inwards and lowering the hips to be level allows my back muscles to become active in spinal extension. I don’t have to tighten my front muscles at all, the abdomen can be relaxed. But as soon as I shift the weight to the front of the feet the abdomen becomes firm yet that does not disallow me from breathing diaphragmatically which keeps me calm.

I bend the elbows and twist to the left side. Because it is a twist to the left I prepare for it by pushing the left sitting bone and right armpit forward and towards each other. This spinal twist will make my abdomen immediately firm. It’s an active spinal twist, but it’s not the sort of firmness that inhibits the flow of blood. So all these movements in coordination of diaphragmatic breathing will allow the body to warm up very, very quickly but it hardly feels like my heart is racing or my
breath is racing. In essence, these movements prepare you for everyday life where you can learn to do stressful things in a calm way. Often fitness is measured not as many people think, by how fast you can make your heart beat, but actually, a fit person is someone can do a lot and hardly have their heart beat at all.

You can see a demonstration of the the entire sequence by clicking HERE

You can see Part 9 of the instructional videos of the sequence by clicking here


This video was one of a series filmed by David Samulenok of RMIT University for the course entitled Applied Eastern Anatomy.This is a low resolution version of video, higher resolution versions are available in the online courses.

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