Wow, what a sequence Manouso taught yesterday! I always appreciate a good hip sequence, and Manouso is second to none when it comes to Iyengar yoga therapeutics. The sequence was focused on strengthening the outer buttock/outer upper thigh to stabilize the femur in the hip socket. He had the 600 or so students (my estimate) working that area in different poses. We held the poses for a long time which isn’t unusual. Some classes we move through poses and other classes we do fewer poses for longer holds. Manouso often says that most people are stronger in the inner leg than the outer leg. He also says that yoga poses balance strength and flexibility. We held upavasita konasana for several minutes each side. We placed a wooden block corner right in the inner groin where the underwear line is. As we pushed the side of the block in as we used our brain power to tighten the outer buttock and thigh at the same time so that the femur could find a state of alignment/neutrality in the hip socket.
We revisited this concept in supta padangustasana with the leg out to the side. We rolled a blanket and placed it under the outer thigh/outer buttock of the leg going out to the side. The pressure of the blanket forced the femur upward. Meanwhile, the inner upper groin area where the block was in the previous pose (pictured above) Manouso directed us to imagine a weight there pushing the femur down. He told us to equalize the pressures.
He told the story of when his hips began to go bad and he went to India and BKS Iyengar helped him with his hips. He had spent years working on flexibility in his legs and BKS Iyengar had him work on strength on the outer thigh buttock area to help the align the thigh bone (femur) in the socket. He said Iyengar put him in this version of the pose and stood on his inner groin and told him to equalize the pressure and find some peace in the hip joint. It is not uncommon for Manouso to adjust students with his foot in the inner upper groin while they stay in the pose. I have received tremendous benefit from this adjustment as a student with back and hip pain.