At the beginning of June 2010, I ran Comrades in South Africa. Its a tough 90k’s between the mountain town of Pietermaritzberg and the coastal city of Durban. One of the reasons I wanted to do the race was to show myself I could. I wanted to show myself what I was capable of accomplishing, enduring, achieving. I thought if I could run 56 miles of hills in one go, I could do most anything.
I finished the race, smashing my time goal by 44 minutes. I was more sore than I’d ever been in my life but within a few days, I began to recover. I noticed a little tightness in my knee but nothing I thought a couple weeks of taking it easy wouldn’t fix–boy was a I wrong.
About a week after the race, I woke up to an e-mail box full of “Call Home Now” from pretty much my entire family. I flew home to say goodbye to my young nephew who had been in a tragic accident and all of the sudden, the past weeks race seemed like nothing. The next few weeks were a blur of intense pain–emotionally, physically, spiritually–that my body is still re-cooperating from. Within a month of completing Comrades, my young nephew passed, I traveled back and forth across the globe, and I had my own near death experience in the wild Drakensberg Mountains of South Africa. My life seemed like a tornado. My chest ached, my knees moaned, and my hips seemed to lock up with a vengence. I went to see the PT.
After examining my lower limbs and listening to some of the emotional and physical trials I had recently endured, she rendered me out of service, or at least unable to run, until we rehabed by lower limbs. Well, it’s a year and a half later and I’m STILL on the mend.
Yogis believe that our hips are where our bodies store all our negative emotions. Fear, resentment, anger, sadness, anxiety and stress all get thrown into our hips just like we throw junk into that crazy scary drawer most of us have in our kitchens/dens. Tight hips lead to a strew of other physical pitfalls like lower back pain, ITB syndrome and runners knee, and poor circulation. When our hips ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.
Of course there are plenty of physical contributors to having tightness in the hips but as I look back on the past 18 months and reflect on the different areas of pain in my life, I’m finding it interesting that the hip junk came at the same time as some serious emotional and spiritual junk was occurring. I’m learning that maybe doing hip opening yoga poses is only half my battle–maybe If I find the areas of resentment, anger, and sadness I’m harboring in my heart (and hips), and I let it go, I’ll be able to find even greater physical healing in my hips and legs. Shall we give it a go?