jo skates

Skating in the key of life

Balloons and more


So I have started some sessions with a different physical therapist, who has had a lot of experience working with dance-related injuries. Sarah says that hip misalignments are her thing! She is having me do some pretty challenging exercises that involve multiple muscles and diaphragmatic breathing in order to strengthen the pelvic floor. I am also working to stretch my left “hip capsule” (the ligaments surrounding the hip joint).

Some tough days, but it is good to be working with someone who is so relentlessly positive that I will get better. I think I’m seeing some good results, but it’s a lot to take in, so I will just go over a few key points here.

  • Adductors. These lovely parts of the inner thigh help stabilize the leg in the hip joint. Every exercise seems designed to make these fire up big time. Sarah emphasized that I shouldn’t have to think about them, and is trying to figure out ways of just having them kick in. More on that later.
  • Breathing. I started out having to blow up a balloon while doing one of these exercises. This was hard! I am happy to say that I think I have graduated from the balloon phase, at least for now.
  • Core position. One of the many things we noticed at my last session was the way my torso is distorted from this hip misalignment. I am somewhat twisted clockwise and my waist is sort of smooshed out to the left (as in this scary illustration).


I am working on getting this straightened out, which involves engaging the muscles in my left side (rather than allowing myself to be smooshed in) and feeling like I am consistently turning just a little bit counter-clockwise.

These insights, by the way, confirm that some of the difficulties I’ve had with what should be straightforward actions (like turning my head to the right or keeping my hips underneath me) might actually stem from these physical problems.

I have mixed feelings about this.  On the one hand, it’s sad to think that I have been working so hard over the years to try to mold myself into what have turned out to be anatomically-impossible positions. On the other hand, now that I have a much better sense of how to put myself into alignment, I am hopeful that I will be able to make some progress on things that have baffled me in the past.

“Three-turns?” she said in a wee and tremulous voice. Even softer, “Choctaws?”

Time to stretch that hip capsule again. More later on my awesome adductors!

Author: Joskates

Don't see me on the ice? I may be in the classroom or at the theater, or hanging out with my family and friends.

2 thoughts on “Balloons and more

  1. We used “balloon” breathing in music (I was a flute performance minor). It’s pretty amazing how much lung capacity we have if we all learn to use how to breathe from the diaphragm. This is definitely hard to do while skating though!


  2. Definitely, Eva! Hey, congrats on your AN performance–sounds like SLC was a lot of fun.


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