I recently taught a workshop on hip openers for a group of enthusiastic yoga teachers in Helsinki, Finland. As the hips are said to be the trash bin of ignored and trapped emotions, I decided to start the workshop with a short (that turned out to be rather long, really) talk about the issue.
All out past traumas cause a kind of a residue that settles in the hips and get stuck if we don’t learn to release and let them go. Asanas that work on opening and softening our hips can help release the residue , resulting in a rather emotional experience for the practitioner.
When I first started yoga I kept hearing people tell me they’ve experienced sudden onsets of emotions during a completely ordinary, routine yoga session. I, in all honesty, never really believed them. I must’ve be one of the most cynical aspiring yogis in the world! But to be honest, my practice was very superficial for many many years. Only about four years ago when I started deepening my practice, I understood what a deep connection there is between body and mind. I mean I always knew it in a sense that I had heard stories and read yoga books that talk about this unity, but I never felt it. My body never knew it.
So there I am, talking about hips and emotions, when I suddenly realise that the only way we can let the emotions out and release them in a healthy way, is to surrender. It hits me like a ton of pricks. I thought I was the teacher in this workshop and here I am having a little epiphany. Just surrender! That is the key. Just let go of the horrendous need to be in (unhealthy) control all the time. Surrender in an asana instead of forcing your body go any further than it needs to. Surrender in life, in a sense that learn to go with a flow instead of mapping and planning every turn. Give it a try and see where it takes you.
I am not saying it is simple or easy. Surrendering and letting go take a huge amount of courage and willingness to walk the path that opens up to you. We tend to think that surrendering means being a push over, but by surrendering we actually can empower ourselves much better that if we constantly fight to be in control. Blend in with the universe! It will take care of you, if you let it.
So my little talk about hips and emotions turns into an excited yapping about all of the above. And a studio full of fellow practitioners nod in equally exited agreement. So we surrender to our hip opening, water element focused asana practice and afterwards we fully succumb to platefuls of delicious aloo gobi in a near by restaurant.
– Anna Olkinuora