Free Download! From Hip Opening to Hip Preservation: Why Yoga Can Predispose You to Hip Injuries & How to Avoid Them with Dr. Ginger Garner


Our knowledge of the hip joint has progressed tremendously over the past ten years, notes yoga therapist and physical therapist Dr. Ginger Garner in this free download.

This progress is particularly great news for the numerous people whose hips are structurally “unique,” who until now had little recourse other than a hip replacement as the joint wore out. We now know that in many cases, hip replacement can be avoided through early intervention, including physical therapy.

However, what has not changed, notes Ginger, is the way we use movement for fitness, including yoga. People with different hip structure or other congenital or developmental changes require a different approach to movement and fitness.

Yoga practitioners with a different hip structure are at higher risk for permanent damage to the hip if their yoga practice does not modify activities according to their unique structure. This applies not just to yoga, but to any type of exercise that is repetitive or emphasizes end range of motion.

Most yoga postures are biased toward hip flexion, abduction, and external rotation. This means yoga postures, as they historically stand and are currently taught, are inherently imbalanced. Unless this changes and modifications are made to accommodate all types of hip joints, yoga injuries of the hip will inevitably be on the rise, Ginger notes.

Ginger points to the need to take more steps to protect the hip in our yoga practice and teaching. “Many of my patients and colleagues have suffered from unnecessary hip injuries, from labral tears, all types of impingement, and compounding secondary diagnoses such as torn hamstrings, sports hernias, gluteal tendinopathy, to pelvic pain, all due to yoga practice,” she notes.

She goes on to discuss some of the steps we can take to introduce greater safety in our yoga practice, including learning observational skills that will enable yoga teachers to spot students who may be at risk.

It is also important, she notes, to modify our language to avoid phrases like “hip opening,” which implicitly encourages pushing against the end range of the hip joint. Hip safety in yoga is entirely possible, she notes, but more education is needed in light of the increased understanding we now have of the hip joints and the mechanics of injury.

You may also be interested in Ginger’s course, Save Your Hips! Asana Evolution for Hip Preservation.

Related courses

Dr. Garner is a physical therapist, published author, and educator. She received her master and doctorate degrees from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1998 and 2016, respectively.

$/ Lifetime Access

I wanted to expand on my thank you. Yoga U Online has been an absolute lifesaver for me. I moved from a yoga mecca to a yoga desert. Instead of having my choice of teachers and styles and special workshops, I now have to travel an hour to take a class. The excellent teachers and interesting topics at Yoga U Online have kept me moving ahead in my practice. I am grateful for all the wonderful yoga you bring to me. Thank you.
You are doing a great service! I live in Mexico and your on-line events have been a terrific way for me to stay in touch with yoga colleagues and continue learning from teachers of the highest caliber.
Arielle N.
My students will appreciate all the gems I've picked up from your teachers.Thank you so much!
Beth O.