Transforming Fear to Joy

Yoga Relief for Muscle Tension (Trapped Emotions) in Your Outer Hips & Outer Thighs

  = Frustration and Impatience

Over 20 years ago, when I first began to practice yoga, I discovered that I held a lot of “nervous energy” in my body. In my case, sitting still for extended periods was challenging. I would find myself squirming in all kinds of ways, which was my way of distracting myself. These small movements or muscle contractions can take the form of a constantly swinging leg, tapping foot, bouncing knee, swaying body or cracking one’s knuckles, etc. Regardless of the behavioural pattern (habit), its intent is to distract thereby keeping the mind busy. These habits reflect a need for busyness that disguises a challenge to ‘just be’ or to just rest in nothingness. When we catch ourselves engaged in one of our habits, we have opted for unconsciousness, not mindfulness.

The more quickly and mindlessly you live, the more likely you have frustrated and impatient energy stored in your outer thigh muscles. Aletheia Luna

As someone who lived with a “striver-driver” pattern of speed and impatience throughout my first half of life, releasing this control habit meant shifting from Ashtanga yoga (greater exertion) into Restorative practices (ease and effortlessness). Thus, embracing all forms of yoga that slowed me down, required longer holds and allowed me to be with my mental state brought greater awareness and healing.

Of course, we know that “wherever we go, there we are.” Meaning, we take our unconscious habits into every aspect of our lives — jobs, relationships, hobbies, etc. For instance, driving a vehicle can contribute greatly to muscle tension in our outer hips and thighs, particularly if we are driving in rush-hour traffic twice a day. Already an impatient demeanour? Well, just add congested traffic and the outcome is road rage.

Arguably, even more significant to holding tension is the fact that most of us are right- or left-dominant in our physical movement. I have spent the past several years working to create a balance between the over-used right side of my body and my under-used left side. Similarly, my young painter neighbour spent three years learning to paint with his left hand when he encountered muscle tension and pinched nerves due to overuse on his right side.

Do you find the dominant side of your body beginning to pain you? Are you often frustrated and impatient? Likely, your unconscious movements, too fast lifestyle and future-focus are distracting you from being with what is in the present moment. To help you experience what it feels like to slow down and be patient with yourself, practise the following yoga actions in the 60-minute yoga sequence illustrated below.

SUKHASANA    (centre using the yoga actions below)  3-5 minutes


1. Relax (don’t press or force) both thigh bones into your hamstrings.
2. Draw each inhaled breath into your lower floating ribs on both the left and right side of the thoracic spine.

SUPTA TADASANA  (Lying-down Mountain) 10 minutes
– Belt upper thighs & calves
– Place sandbags across upper thighs
NOTE release of  
1) thigh bones into hamstrings
2) buttocks’ & outer thighs’ flesh
3) lower abdominals to sacrum & lumbar (scooping)

SUPTA PADANGUSTHASANA I   (Reclining hand-to-big-toe)
– 3 minutes each side
– 2 belts

– 20 Breaths/2 minutes each side
– Internally rotate right femur as leg moves out to right

– 20 Breaths/2 minutes each side
– Externally rotate femur as leg moves across midline

– Knees and outer edge of feet at sides of mat
– Sit on foam, block, bolster or mat
– Tendency to roll off baby-toe side of feet as heels roll inward (bring whole of front foot to floor; prop foam between heels & outer hips)

1) UPRIGHT     3 minutes

2) FLEX FORWARD (neutral head of femurs in hip socket)   2 minutes

WALL STRETCH    1 minute

– 20 Breaths/2 minutes each side
– toes above moulding; arms extended up wall

– 3 minutes each side
– only raise arms if at ease in the pose

VIRABHADRASANA II (Warrior II) 3 minutes each side
– Both hips face wall, right angle in bent leg
– Block between shinbone and wall
– Thumb-index web into back leg hip crease to move femur toward front leg
– Straight arm into wall
– Lift inner arch to move baby-toe side of back foot into floor

UPAVISTHA KONASANA (Wide-angle seated forward bend)
– 3 minutes
– Sandbags across thighs
– Belt across arches

SAVASANA (Corpse)   5-10 minutes
– sandbag across waist/low abdominals
– Soften all six senses:

  1. Soften inner lining of throat
  2. Soften jaw
  3. Soften tongue away from the roof of the mouth
  4. Soften inner ear canals
  5. Soften back of the eyeballs
  6. Soften space between the brows

– Scan body for sensation; soften areas of sensation
– Surrender to the silence and stillness   

May all beings be peaceful and at ease. Namaste.     

Picture of Author: Helen Maupin

Author: Helen Maupin

Helen is passionate about transforming fear into love — from her, for her, for all. She expresses her commitment to transformation through writing poetry, self-awareness and yoga books, co-designing organizations into adaptive enterprises and deepening her daily meditation and yoga practices.


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