Nancy Mau’s annual Hip Opening Workshop at Stillwater Yoga in Atlanta stretches your idea of what you think you’re capable of. Stillwater owner, Kathleen Pringle said, “I was so glad to be here for Nancy’s Hip Opening Seminar. The sequencing was so great and the instructions so clear that I was inspired to share many things from her class in my classes the following week.”
The workshop is the “go to” workshop to many students and non-students, especially those who feel they have ‘tight hips’. Most of us lose flexibility in our hips due primarily to under use. What is most prevalent way we under use the muscles in our hip area is by over doing one common behavior: sitting.
However, even active runners get ‘tight hips’. The repetitive act of running under utilizes and thus shortens muscles around the hips. When this area gets tight, we tend to develop back issues as well because of the way it forces the pelvis to tilt.
In Nancy’s Hip Opening Sequence, she progressively utilized the tight areas around the hips in such a methodical way, many students were surprised at how much more flexible they were by the time they got to Padmasana or lotus pose. Nancy explains, “The sequence is designed to wake up the muscles in the legs, hips and pelvis while also creating stability, which leads to better alignment for the spine. For example, standing, balancing, and seated poses, along with twisting poses work to create space and flexibility in the hamstrings, quadriceps, and sartorius muscles, as well as the gluteus medias and piriformis muscles. The same sequence of poses can also reduce injuries to knees and lower back for the same reason.”
Iyengar Yoga is pretty awesome that way. What distinguishes Iyengar
Yoga is not only its precision in alignment, but also its timing of sequencing asana in order to systematically strengthen the body to open and move more consciously. In this way, students reduce injuries and safely increase their range of motion in their poses.
Corinne Lee who is new to the Iyengar system learned a lot about being more conscious in her poses. She explains, “In the workshop Nancy said, ‘Be interested in the pose, yet not wanting.’ Her words have resonated in me on and off the mat after her workshop. She talked about when we have practiced a pose a thousand times we may fall into bhrantidarshana or illusion, of a pose. Taking a pose for what it is not. An example of this illusion would be in vrksasana, tree pose, where we sacrifice the integrity of the pose (making sure the pelvic bones are facing forward) by "wanting" to have the balancing knee turn all the way out. She stressed to be "interested" in reaching that final pose but not "wanting" so much that we sacrifice our integrity, our alignment, our awareness for it. Thanks for that little life nugget, Nancy!”
Sophia Terranova a more seasoned practitioner agrees and adds, “Nancy’s hip opening workshop was a wonderfully informative sequence of poses with her instruction helping each pose become attainable at some level for all different ages and stages of yoga study. Her clear and logical instructions and explanations of where to focus your attention and what areas to engage while moving into poses was enormously helpful releasing tense areas of my hips that are tight and periodically ache. Great class and very encouraging! Love it! I’ll be back next time! Thank you.”
In Astadala Yogamala Vol. 3, B.K.S. Iyengar advised, “Teaching yoga is a very difficult subject, but is one of the best services you can do for human beings. Work, not as a teacher, but as a learner of the art of teaching.” When you take any of Nancy’s classes you know, she has done just that, and she continues to refine the art of her instruction. Her clarity and impeccable sequencing, gently opens our mind and body to the possibility that we can do things, we never thought we could do.
Thank you Nancy Mau.
To learn more about Nancy Mau and Stillwater Yoga please visit, Stillyoga.com.