Guess how many hatha yoga teachers in the US had a hip replacement last year in 2012?
Years ago I first heard of long-time hatha yoga teachers and dancers, particularly ballerinas, having hip replacements as young as in their 40’s. This was generally accepted as a normal result of individual genetic propensities or a natural wearing of the hip socket due to a lot of physical activity within regular yoga or dance practice. However, today the numbers of hip replacements within yoga, dance and all of the US society today is alarmingly high in my estimation, and far from what I think is a natural joint degeneration. Last year there were ~300,000 hip replacements in the US, and that number is predicted to double to 600,000 in 2015!
Is there something in the hip alignment within the yoga pose or the dance movement that is largely contributing to a quickened degeneration of the hip socket? Conversely, is there an optimal alignment of the hips, which could greatly reduce the likelihood of ever needing to install an artificial hip into the pelvis?
Today most people who have intense and debilitating hip pain visit the doctor, followed by the physical therapist, who will in turn assign the patient hip exercises to regularly perform at home. Also, chiropractors, orthopedic doctors, and bodyworkers will try to help the patient better perform ‘neutral’ pelvis and ‘neutral’ lower back posture during their normal daily activities. The neutral anatomical position of the pelvis (defined as the ASIS aligned vertical in line over the pubic bone) is universally considered to be the key for effective hip therapy. This is at least a100-year old paradigm that underlies the spectrum of biomechanical physical therapies for the hip joints across the globe today. With a shocking increase in the number of hip replacements and then knee replacements (doubling to 1 M in 2015!) in the US, I think that this long-standing alignment paradigm needs to be finally challenged.
At Vital Yoga, Desi Springer and I have been exploring and teaching a new alignment definition of ‘neutral’ position for the pelvis and lower back. This paradigm-shifting alignment system has already clearly demonstrated an astonishing improvement in the health of students’ hips. Our Sridaiva alignment technology includes learning how to isometrically engage all the main muscles of the legs, hips, and back, then creating an optimal ‘neutral’ alignment at the hip socket. It has been very rewarding for us to witness the remarkably quick improvement in the hip conditions of students who are applying these Sridaiva alignment principles during their regular practice of fundamental base poses.
Won’t it be great if everyone from children to elders learned a simple, new way of aligning their hips so that hip replacements became rare for people under 90 years old?!