Thursday, 20 February 2014

The Link Between the Hips and Jaw

A recent trip to the dentist re-sparked my interest in the relationship between the hips and the jaw. I first explored this link in my yoga teacher training and looked at how un-clenching the jaw and making sounds during labour helps to open up the muscles in the pelvis and aids in a smoother more relaxed delivery. The link exists because of how the embryo develops in utero. The embryo forms two bulges, one goes on to develop into the skull and jaw, while the other develops into the pelvis. The spine grows between, linking these two parts. The hips and the jaw never lose their connection, it's often said that hips hold emotion and I'm sure everyone has felt tension in our jaws as we hold back anger or bite our tongue . If we are holding tension in either of these areas you can be sure that the other will be tight too.
So, back to my trip to the dentist... Needing some work done that I couldn't put off I found a holistic dentist in Melbourne CBD. As I am currently breastfeeding I needed to find a practitioner that understood the need to avoid any of the dangers often associated with dentistry and pregnancy/ breastfeeding and I was lucky enough to find one that took all the precautions to avoid anything entering my bloodstream that shouldn't. When the dentist had finished his work I stood up to discover my hips were aching, at the time I thought nothing of it, assuming it was just from lying in the chair for one-and-a-half hours. It wasn't until I woke up from a nap that afternoon that the realisation of the connection between the pelvis and jaw hit me. It's surprising how much a bit of dental work takes out of you and after the anesthetic wore off I spent the afternoon feeling like I had been hit in the head with a rock and my hips were aching.
Yoga, being my first port of call for everything, was what I knew I needed. I lay down to do some hip work to loosen my pelvis and essentially de-stress my jaw. Feeling like I needed the calm of Yin yoga to release energy I relaxed into happy baby and noticed straight away a sharp pain stemming from inside my right pelvic area and extending from my butt down my thigh. As it had been only 24 hours since last holding this pose I noticed the distinct change instantly and linked the cause to my dental work a few hours earlier. Being a busy mumma I didn't have time to hold poses for extended periods as you generally do in Yin yoga but I did my best and by the time the little ones were asleep and I was able to focus on some hip work again my hips were no longer aching and my jaw was nearly back to normal.
Using this understanding of the connection between the jaw and the hips enables us to work through a range of issues that come up in our lives. We can use yoga for the hips to treat headaches or releasing the jaw along with sound work to open the pelvis in labour or to shift energy from the lower chakras in meditation. We can use yoga for the hips to treat a jaw injury and we can use jaw, neck and shoulder work to aid in treating a pelvis injury. Our bodies function as a unit and paying attention to how it feels can lead us to a greater understanding of how to work through and overcome many short and long term issues.

Happy baby pose.


1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for this insight Kari. I have jaw woes and find any upper body work makes matters much worse. I'm going to follow your suggestion and practice some gentle hip yoga. Funnily enough I enjoy it more and feel infinitely more relaxed after.

    Blessings my dear.