Finding your Hip Flexors

For this first exercise it will be best if your feet are not on the sticky mat, but rather on the floor itself. So, rotate your body such that your feet are on the floor and your spine is still well aligned. Begin with your knees bent, your feet flat on the floor, you shoulders and hips on the mat.

Notice the shape of your lower back: is your back arched or flat? Notice the sensory presence of your lower back: pleasure, pain, neutral?

Now slowly let your legs slide out to full extension, legs lying flat on the floor. Return to a sense of your lower back: : is your back arched or flat? Is there pain, pleasure, any sensation in the low back? What is the position of the legs and thighs? Are the thighs pressed to the floor or lifted and higher than the hips. There is no right or wrong here, the intention is to notice what your body does. Slowly switch back and forth between legs extended and knees bent. Watch the movement of your low back as you move, stay aware of the sensations of the hips, pelvis and thighs, and perhaps farther a field as well.

After repeating the cycle 5 to 6 times rest in whichever position, legs extended or knees bent, is more comfortable for you.

Your psoas and illiacus muscles are the primary hip flexors. They attach to the front of your thigh bone, extend up into the pelvis, lay behind the pelvic organs and attach to the lower spine (psoas) and the back crest of the pelvis (illiacus). When you are lying on your back they are at their longest and they therefore pull forward on the low back and top of the pelvis. The result is forward tilt of the pelvis. If your hip flexors are short and your weak abdominal and back muscles the constant tilting forward of the low back increases your risk of back injury and pain. We want to work toward length and strength in all of these muscles sets: hip flexors, back muscles and abdominals. We want strength and length to be balanced.