External hip rotation is the movement used in yoga poses such as the standing balancing pose known as Tree Pose. Another yoga pose that requires external hip rotation is Warrior II. External hip rotations are important for creating balance in our yoga poses. ‘External hip rotation’ is the anatomy term used for this particular hip movement.
Externally rotated hip poses allows muscles to strengthen and develop a healthy balance between active contraction and stretching. With this hip movement the opposite muscle groups get stretched and strengthened in relation to poses that work internal hip rotation, as outlined in our previous blog about internal hip rotation.
External hip rotation occurs when the thigh is rolled out and away from the midline of our body. This is evident in poses such as Tree Pose (in the lifted leg) and can also be seen in both legs in Warrior II Pose.
In Tree Pose we must also consider another movement of the legs and hips that makes the pose possible, commonly known as ‘abduction’ of hips. However, Tree Pose is great for drawing our attention to the external rotation of the lifted leg. In most poses we use a range of movements rather than just one wherein more than one group of anatomical movements will occur within a particular yoga pose.
Externally rotated hip movements counter the earlier mentioned internal rotation of our hips in various yoga poses.
Commonly our external rotation can be stronger than its opposing movement of internal rotation. Practicing yoga with internal rotation hip awareness and external hip rotations will, in time, bring great balancing benefit to our yoga practice and life. Yoga offers this excellent balance whether it is our mind through yoga meditation or our yoga poses. Again and again yoga offers its full ancient potential and a balancing effect to our whole being.