About a year-ish ago I became at the mercy of my hips, which has evolved into me becoming its number one fan. In over 15 years of playing basketball and being heavily immersed in athletics, I was never seriously coached and taught about the crucial importance of having healthy hips. It was always focusing on having strong abs, shoulders, legs, arms and maintaining quick feet and hands. But never on the oh so importance of nurturing the flexibility, strength and overall energy flow of the independent muscles that make up our hips.
Your hips are like the center of an hour glass in a way. It is the foundation that connects the two vertical glass bulbs (upper and lower torso) that allows for sand (energy) to trickle from top to bottom. The hips are at the center of all of the action and often times indirectly take a hit when you sprain an ankle, pull a back muscle or develop a weird walk to compensate from injuries. I learned this the hard way, but has in a great way guided me into learning about the importance of something that has gone unnoticed for a while.
In a very awesome Tai Chi workshop called “Learning to Move” hosted by Ken Van Sickle
at Strala Yoga this weekend, a little more light was shed on this topic. On my first take of it all, the only thing that brought a “yeah right, now way” smirk to my face was being able to on the spot dissolve some of the tweak-ish feelings in my left hip. No stretching, no massaging or striking a yoga pose for a few breaths- just noticing that the pain was there and dissolving it by sending it breaths and energy.
This made me subconsciously out of curiosity start slipping in basic tai chi movements for 5ish minutes randomly throughout the last couple of days. Needless to say, the little bit of basic movements caught my attention. In particular, how exerting casual comfortable effort with purpose can go a long way. (Not just in tai chi :)). Beyond getting over injury everyday life and into athletics, the hips are an undervalued asset. Every sport and every athlete could hands down improve their overall performance by learning how to properly promote the wellness of their hips with balancing off the energy, strength and flexibility. For sports like basketball, soccer, hockey, volleyball or even tennis it can be that extra something that lets you change directions that much faster. For swimmers and runners its that glue that helps you support your large leg muscles from the moment you push out of the starting blocks, until you are done gracefully propelling through the air or water.