Why Is My Yoga Teacher Obsessed With My Groin?

Posted by: on Dec 23, 2013 | No Comments
Why Is My Yoga Teacher Obsessed With My Groin?

“In human anatomy, the groin (the adjective is inguinal, as in inguinal canal) areas are the two creases at the junction of the torso with the legs (thighs),[1] on either side of the pubic area.”

The GROIN!! (echo, echo, echo…)

My yoga teachers (Rodney Yee and Colleen Saidman Yee) are kind of obsessed with my groin (okay, everyone’s). They are always telling me to “soften my groin” when all I cared about was how I looked in Trikonasana! In my 10+ years of practice, this is the first time I have thought about the state of my groin. According to my teachers, when the groin (or ingunal canal) is hard or pulled tight, the natural inhale and exhale are compromised and when the breath is compromised, the flow of prana is compromised- and you definitely don’t want to mess with prana!

Now the skeptic in me said, “How do we know the state of the groin is directly related to the breath?”

I figured I’d just have to see for myself. I experimented a bit and found that when my groin is pulled tight, hard, or not in its hollowed “canal like” shape, my inhale WAS a little ragged! (Mind Officially Blown.)

Have you or anybody you know ever been kicked in the groin? What happens? Besides the fact the person is completely hunched over and red in the face, they are coughing or holding their breath. In either case they are definitely not inhaling. As Iyengar says, when you inhale the breath moves from heaven to earth (exhale: earth to heaven). Therefore, the inhale is actually a GROUNDING action… Hold that thought.

Interesting etymology: The word groin is derived from the word “grynde” which can be translated as abyss or depression. Okay so abyss, like open space, like something that things can pass through? (Anyone else thinking panama CANAL?) Groin also comes from the word “grundus” which means ground.

You smell what I’m cooking?

The groin is meant to be an open space; a free flowing river of prana – not a dam! – SO that the inhale can pass through the “pot” of the torso (kumba), through the open trench of the groin and straight to the earth giving us free and easy breathing and a sense of grounding in our postures. If the abyss of the groin is hard there is no pathway for the inhale?!  YIKES!

A hard groin happens when the muscles of the groin are pulled tight and there is no longer an “abyss” or “canal”. One of the most common places we see this happen is when we are instructed to “stack the hips” or pretend the hips are “between two panes of glass” in poses like Ardha Chandrasana, Triangle  or Warrior 2. This can also happen in passive poses like Supta Badda Konasana without the support under the knees – OUCH!

When the hips are “in between two panes of glass” the right and left groin have no chance at softening! There goes your clean pathway to pranic bliss!

As a small token of appreciation for you reading my article about the GROIN (echo,echo,echo) I whipped up a little practice video to help you apply this in your practice!

Keep me posted on your progress! Namaste.


Tags: , , , ,