Today, 15 years into a fantastic, desk-bound career and nine days before the 14th anniversary of my 25th birthday, well, my body is messing with me. I need a massage and a heating pad.
I also need yoga, and fortunately I have it at Downtown Yoga Memphis. I’ve seen three different teachers in the last three days and each of them have offered anatomy and stretching advice on my ailment.
I noticed it on Saturday morning as pain in my left knee. In yoga class, cross-legged sitting was uncomfortable, which is not normal for me. On Sunday morning in yoga, my left hip flexor was abnormally tight. And today, Monday, my lower left back suddenly pinched several times throughout the day.
All of this is rather annoying, but I have to sincerely thank Blake and Rebecca at Downtown Yoga Memphis for taking me through Restorative Yoga stretches these last couple of days, and Amy, the studio owner, for taking time share with me some of the facts she knows about how connected the hips, back, and knees really are.
As Amy shared with me (and I’ve been reading about since), much of what bothers us in our back and knees starts with the hips. Who knew? (If you already knew, this is no time for gloating.)
Amy offered to take a look at my stances the next time I’m in her class this week, so she can learn more about where the discomfort is and help me understand what I might need to modify, strengthen, or just do differently. That’s what’s so great about this yoga studio — the focus on healing and wellness.
That’s what’s so great about this yoga studio — the focus on healing and wellness.
There is a ton of information available online about the tightness of hip muscles causing issues in the back and knees. Apparently, this is an often-overlooked source of back pain and knee issues.
Common causes of hip tightness are sedentary occupations and, on the opposite side of the spectrum, repetitive exercise movement such as running. In my case, desk job = 1, hip flexors = 0.
Fast fact: If you have hip muscle issues, turns out you should actually be making your butt muscles work harder for you. It’s science. The size of the hip muscles are no match for the size of and intended workload for the glutes, yet they overcompensate on our behalf for a lot. Think about this next time your lower back or your knees are acting up.
For me, I am going to ease up slightly on the type of yoga classes I’m taking this week — favoring gentler classes instead (sadly, I am skipping my favorite — Power Yoga — tomorrow night), and I am going to make a point to STAND much more often during my office day.
As my left side starts to get back into alignment with my right, I’ll focus on strengthening my core area, which will hopefully keep lower back and knee issues at bay for a while to come!