I have been placing extra attention on the outer hip musculature lately with an attempt to free up, what seems like, a life time of congestion in and around the hip capsules. Besides the obvious deep lateral rotator and gluteal muscle tension, I have been particularly prone to extreme tightness in the tensor fascia lata and iliotibial band (outer thigh running from the hip crest down to the outer knee).
Although I am a ‘morning person’, I must admit my body resists doing practices in the early hours of the day. Traditional yogis believe yoga should be practiced very early in the day for a variety of energetic, physical and mental benefits. Some of these benefits I can agree to especially with regards to tapping into the grounded brain waves from sleep and setting a harmonious energy for the day ahead. Aside from the energetic qualities, I have come across research that can give strong reasoning for why some people could readily benefit from doing yoga later in the day.
Sukhasana involves hip flexion and external rotation of the thigh bones (ie crossed legs). The main limiting factor for creating ease is the need to have fluid external rotation. For many people, tightness of the groin and/or outer hips resists the ability of the thigh bone to rotate outwards and allow the knees to release downwards. So, instead of the thighs and knees releasing to the earth, they lift up towards the ribs. Add in tight hip flexors and the kinetic chain really starts to go downhill.
Oh, how everyone is on the 'core' bandwagon these days. Some seeking postural therapy, others striving for the slim and trim waistline. This has brought on a wave of yoga sequencing crazes by yoga teachers with Navasana (Boat Pose) being tossed in repeatedly. As much as I appreciate the sensation of 'core' engagement that Boat pose offers, I find the use of this seated pose excessive and, in many cases, inappropriate for the masses.