Here's the sensation: most mornings, I wake up with a ring of musculo-pranic sensations from the glutes to the iliac crests, down to the greater trochanter, and in a pretty clean line from each iliac crest to the base of the rectus abdominis, within an inch of the pubic bone. It feels like I've had some kind of deep muscular massage there, maybe, or worked WAY too hard doing some kind of ab/hip workout from Mars or something. Very strange sensations; impossible to relate to any kind of workout I can imagine.
These sensations are SIMULTANEOUSLY "tightness," "release," lactic acid hangover, muscular torque, emotional containment, emotional release, needing massage, having had too much. I can't tell what the heck is going on, and whether I want to leave this ring of fascia alone or work it out.
Primary poses which particularly work into this area: Up-dog, Virabhadrasana 1, Parivrtta Parsvakonasana, "up and back" before Prasaritas, "swing to the side" in Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana, Half-lotus ANYTHING, Janu Sirsasana C, ALL Marichyasanas, Baddha Konasana (but it often feels brilliant), backbends.
If I work too hard into this hip/abs ring, I get overwhelming "sweet fatigue pain," and I'm still trying to dial in the levels. This morning standing half-lotus was too much. I've been able to take the foot for over a year, even on the famously tight right side, and suddenly today it's too much; had to go to svasana.
What makes this feel better? On a stressy day, some gentle sun salutations, gentle twists, and a supported bridge (either by hands or over a futon). Wrings the lower back right out.
What REALLY makes this feel better, most days? INTERMEDIATE. Can you STAND that?
Now admittedly, there are days when I do standing and then sink into Pasasana and it is the pose from hell and I go right to svasana from there. BUT, say in all of last week, I got some great relief from this hip/back/abs situation by doing Intermediate up to leg-behind-head, and one day, well beyond that.
BEST POSE EVER: Ardha Matsyendrasana. Addresses these tensions and aches and never seems to make them worse; always better, no matter HOW DEEP I take the pose.
Also good poses, these days: Gomukhasana. Agnistambhasana (double pigeon). I used to LOATHE those poses, and now they provide such nice release. Heh--the whole puzzle is right there, no doubt.
Anyway, my idea is that Intermediate, if this is how it affects "western guy hips," is all about teaching men what pregnancy might feel like. I've been told that pregnant women, in a yoga class, will be quite strong and flexible, and that their practices will vary day to day. Check. I'm still strong, still flexy, and my practice varies virtually day to day, sometimes precipitously. There's pain, but it's not always pain, sometimes it's release, and sometimes that's emotional, which then brings physical release. Some days it's better to work into it and some days it's better to leave it alone.
I feel like my hips are about to give birth to SOMETHING and I don't know what it is. Other times, it feels like there's so much torque going on in the glutes and hips, that I'm going to "pull free" on the line between them and turn into one of those long-bellied snaking energy people from old Odilon Redon paintings.
I remember Jason talking about being adjusted in Kapo by Sharath, and describing the abdominal and armpit work as "ripping(!)" (parenthetical exclamation point, his). That's also in the mix. I wonder if my dual quest for Kapo/dropbacks isn't working itself out like this.
Another tricky thing is, I don't think I'm overworking those poses. I drop back, two hands to wall, bend elbows, spring up. Four or five times at most, per practice. Sometimes in Intermediate I'll take ten breaths in my modified Kapo, but it's not like I'm doing the pose five times. This hip business just seems to be par for the course where Intermediate and I are concerned.
After all, it's not like my WHOLE YOGA PRACTICE hasn't been, at times, about the tight right glutes/abs I've inherited, I think from 1993's appendectomy. This is simply another incarnation of an area of long term fascial/muscular/energetic/emotional interest.
Aside from this hip-glutes-abs ring of fascia, I feel pretty good; even the healing left wrist permits Intermediate's arm balances or Primary's vinyasa, without hurting the next day (but I still don't handstand on it). So, since all of this sensation is not "overwork" pain, or really pain of any kind, I'm going to assume it is a cocoon for transformation. Grow, emerge, take flight. It's springtime, after all.