Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Hip Hip Hooray

In yin yoga it’s called Shoelace Pose. In yang styles, it’s Fire Log. In sanskrit it’s Agnistambhasana. In my practice it’s known as Goodbye Mrs. Williams.

Think of an expanded Sukhasana (Easy Pose), with the lower legs (knee to foot) stacked one on top of the other, like two logs. Once the legs are positioned you fold forward from the groins, bringing your hands, or perhaps forearms, to the floor in front. (Yoga Journal’s website has a step-by-step description of the pose’s finer points and nuances).

Shoelace-Fire Log-Agnistambhasana-Goodbye Mrs. Williams is a hip-opener. The hip and pelvic girdle’s intricate web of muscles, fascia, connective tissue and ligaments specialize in holding tension, trapping pain and restricting movement. Hip openers, especially this one, are like skeleton keys that unlock these hidden caches of discomfort, and I don’t mean just physical ones.

Depending on your anatomical structure and degree of flexibility, Shoelace-etc. Pose varies in intensity. The first time I held the pose yin-like, for several minutes, it felt like electrical charges were firing deep into both hips. It was like hovering on the edge between noooo and yessss. Three minutes into the pose, the voice of Mrs. Williams, my nasty 5th grade teacher, reprimanded me one last time for misspelling Illinois (Illinios) on my year-end report. And then she took her black-framed glasses and metal rulers and left for good.

You’d be surprised at what strange, hurtful and occasionally silly stuff we carry locked in our tight hips. Spend some time in Agnistambhasana and you may release your own Mrs. Williams, whether or not your spelling improves.


  1. Just returned from a class filled with hip opening splendor. Your Mrs. Williams is joining a whole lot of other creature features floating into the ether. Yeehaw and Bon Voyage!

  2. Love this, Tanya. Validated, vindicated and victorious. Mmmmm.