“You want me to do what with my hips?” I always enjoy the look on the face of someone who has never tried a Kelani Dance class and watches me demonstrate a Kelani hip movement which they will be doing next. Most of the time people are convinced their hips “can't do that”.
I remember after one particular Polynesian dance performance someone asked me if there was a machine under my hula skirt! That was hilarious. The truth is though that anyone can move that way. Unfortunately, tightness in the hips, back and hamstrings can affect our range of motion and the ‘hippy dancing' – which is for the most part a bunch of hip isolation and hip opening movements becomes a little trickier. In fact, often pain which is experienced in one of these areas could be related to tightness in another.
So what is so special about our hips?
As a holistic movement practitioner and instructor I often like to illustrate in terms of our chakras. Most of us are familiar with the seven Chakras or energy centers in our body. Blocked energy in any of our Chakras can often lead to illness so it is important to understand what each Chakra represents and what we can do to keep this energy flowing freely.
The 7 Chakras You Want to Pay Attention to
- Root Chakra– Represents our foundation and feeling of being grounded.
- Location:Base of spine in tailbone area.
- Emotional issues:Survival issues such as financial independence, money, and food.
- Sacral Chakra– Our connection and ability to accept others and new experiences.
- Location:Lower abdomen, about 2 inches below the naval and 2 inches in.
- Emotional issues:Sense of abundance, well-being, pleasure, sexuality.
- Solar Plexus Chakra– Our ability to be confident and in-control of our lives.
- Location:Upper abdomen in the stomach area.
- Emotional issues:Self-worth, self-confidence, self-esteem.
- Heart Chakra– Our ability to love.
- Location:Center of chest just above heart.
- Emotional issues:Love, joy, inner peace.
- Throat Chakra– Our ability to communicate.
- Emotional issues:Communication, self-expression of feelings, the truth.
- Third Eye Chakra– Our ability to focus on and see the big picture.
- Location:Forehead between the eyes. (Also called the Brow Chakra)
- Emotional issues:Intuition, imagination, wisdom, ability to think and make decisions.
- Crown Chakra– The highest Chakra represents our ability to be fully connected spiritually.
- Location:The very top of the head.
- Emotional issues:Inner and outer beauty, our connection to spirituality, pure bliss.
Want more info on the 7 Chakras? Click here.
Hip movement, specifically movement which isolates the hips, awakens and assists with the release of the root and sacral Chakras. In releasing the hips we are also letting go of a lot of emotional and physical tension. This is why in my Kelani Dance classes I have been witness to such an array of deep and intense emotions ranging from elation and giddy laughter to full on emotional breakdowns. There is a real tangible ‘release' when we open up the hip area and it can be absolutely profound and euphoric.
So whether it be a salsa, yoga or Kelani ‘hippy' dance class, try to set some time aside to shake and open up those hips – you never know what might happen 😉
Ioana is a wife and a mom of three girls who she refers to as her inspiration. She is the founder and creator of KELANI International, a Polynesian inspired ‘holistic' movement. Ioana is a Kelani dance instructor, Pilates instructor, holistic nutritionist and wellness speaker. She is also a passionate advocate of eating disorder awareness, self-love and positive body image, especially in the youth.