Hip Openers 4

Hip Opener: Eka Pada Rajakapotanasana

My hip injury has long since healed. I have retired from the work that involved international travel. I have taken classes on Ayurveda, done spring and fall ayurvedic cleansing diets and even tried a sesame oil enema. (No more about that, I promise.) My husband and I will celebrate our 42nd wedding anniversary in a few months, the trauma of our separation largely subsided. For the first time in a long time, I am focused less on changing things and more on living fully what is, including staying open to what might emerge. For now, what I most want to do is stay settled in my practices: in marriage, practicing staying out of the victim mentality and showing up “authentically present;” in meditation, studying the Dharma and making it onto my cushion every day; in yoga, keeping the hip openers going.

More than the lunges these days, I rely on Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (pigeon pose) and the Yin Yoga version, sleeping swan. I also make it a point to step out of Ado Mukha Svanasana (downward dog) with my right leg, because the right hip is still much tighter than the left. The fact that I am also doing lotus regularly, which I could not do a couple of years ago, is a sign this hip opening is having an effect. On the other hand, I can’t sit in any position for more than 15 or 20 minutes without my hips being stiff and sore when I get up. I feel that, if I were to stop practicing, I would go straight to decrepitude.  Chip Walker’s fine poem on practice says it all:

Dig deep


The gold vein beneath all gold veins
Way beyond the mother-lode

With only tap hammer     and chisel
                       the going   is slow

Every inch                        a universe

No such thing as faster
Not on this dig

Tapping harder
Only breaks the chisel

What’s the rush

Chipping patiently
Yields steadily
Ensures longevity

 Chip Walker, "Practice," in Half a Mala: Threading Towards Wholeness (2011).