Happy Post-Birth Hips

There are so many yoga poses I cannot do (yet) or I am just now attempting to do. And that’s ok. I’m still a beginner and I’m not in it to win. But the wide-legged “frog pose” or “mandukasana”, which is a deep hip opener, but not ordinarily one that requires particular preparation, opens up a level of emotion buried extremely deep down within me. I suspect, and this is the only reasonable explanation I can find, that it must be linked to the experience of giving birth.

I had a natural, unmedicated childbirth experience 23 months and a few days ago. I felt, I lived the entire experience (fairly short, but intense), in my hips. I never considered it a traumatic experience and it’s an experience I cherish and am proud of, but the sensation of my hips being pulled sideways, out of their sockets, and me fearing it and wishing it would stop stayed with me. Among others, since it took me completely by surprise.. I know, the mechanics of childbirth should have made that predictable, but somehow I had not registered or expected it.

Based on this fond memory I decided, when I restarted a regular yoga practice three months ago, that it would be beneficial to attend a hip opening class on a weekly basis. It is described by the yoga studio I attend :”We hold a lot of tension and emotional baggage in this area of the body (i.e. the largest joints). Creating awareness and allowing release will not only increase flexibility, promote healthy organs and release emotional tension, but also allow us to have better posture and reproductive health”. Not too dynamic, but not easy either, on the contrary, challenging but without tiring me; I love the class and I love the teacher.

We do the frog pose maybe once every two-three weeks. I would settle comfortably into the pose, knowing that holding it for some minutes will mean I will slide deeper into my hips. In under one minute, without fail, I relive the sensation of childbirth, tears come running down my cheek and I start sobbing quietly. Slowly, I get out of the pose and into a restorative child pose and I take full, deep breaths. Every time.

Every time we do it, I’m curious how it will feel, and it is still emotional; and raw. It comes out of nowhere and quietly overpowers me. What emotion is that? It’s not something that I am conscious of or that has manifested in any other discernible form. Anxiety? Fear? Other?

I find it fascinating how the hips became a repository of my emotions. From a quick search on the internet, I only found (scant) yoga-related resources on the matter, pointing to the spiritual benefits of the frog pose in activating the root chakra, responsible for our sense of safety and security. I’ll keep my eyes open for science-based research on this.

At the end of the class, the teacher asks “happy hips?” With the unexpected and surprising release the frog pose allows me, they must be getting happier. I’m looking forward – in a very yogi observant, not rushing anything but allowing it to happen kind of way – to the day when I’ll be able to hold the pose serenely. Until then, I’ll keep taking care of, challenging and interrogating my hips.

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