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More often than not, the first hour of a movement meditation class is simply a warm-up for me. Even after the designated 10-minute-or-so warm-up period, my arms, legs, and neck still feel like rigid sticks and twigs protruding from my tree trunk of a torso. I am hyperaware of any stiffness, the creakiness in my joints, how angular and non-flowing I feel. I imagine myself looking like a collection of hard, plastic flesh-colored Legos assembled to resemble a human being.

There is also a bit of mental hardness that accompanies this physical stiffness. Mind chatter about what I’m trying to “work on” today, trepidation/nervousness about the possibility of having to partner with so-and-so, conversations with myself about why I keep coming back to the dance when I feel like what was once an “answer” to my quest for spiritual and physical nourishment now just bombards me with more questions every time I take my first step into Flowing.

In that first hour, I work hard to chip away at the crusty dirt that is caking my body and mind. I douse it with water, a baptism of sweat softening the earth that envelops my flesh, turning the hardened earth into pliable mud. By the end of the first Wave, I may still have tree bark in my hair and speckles of dirt between my toes, but I’m no longer as skeletal as a sycamore in winter or as rough as volcanic rock.

Sometimes the shift is profound, other times subtle, but almost always there comes a point during the second Wave where I feel my body become distinctively soft. It’s like someone used the “Blur Edges” filter on me in Photoshop. I still have bones, but a mystical force has allowed them to curve and bend like vines. My brain no longer feels like an intrusive anvil in my skull; it too is soft—not mushy, though—an enigmatic organ whose own waves have shifted from on-alert beta to more mellow alpha. When I bound across the room, I feel like I am leaping feet in the air as opposed to inches.

Instinctively, I move to the center of the room, my Play-Doh limbs wanting to mesh and mold with the other pliant persons around me.

I am a soft cotton square weaving its way into the patchwork quilt of humanity gradually taking shape on the floor.

I am a plump polyester tea sachet dipping gently into a warm water bath of bodies.


By the end of class, I am an infant swaddled in the softest of blankets, curious eyes wide open, face round and creaseless. I feel fresh out of the womb, no weight on my shoulders, no labels stifling my spirit. I am not “Jennifer, the [editor/blogger/worrier/planner].” I just am.

If I am lucky, as I was during a recent class in Philadelphia with Tammy Burstein, the sensation of softness that pulses through my body as I rest in Stillness brings me to tears. I had slithered my way onto the floor, stomach pressed against the wood, and breath by breath, my pelvis melted into what can best be described as a slow ripple of waves. I often use imagery to help my dance, but this time the imagery came without cerebral command.

My hips, which usually feel like Barbie doll legs plugged crookedly into their sockets, had become liquid. It felt as though my body ended at my waistline and the flesh and muscle that lay below had become a shoreline in Maui: soft sand, lapping waves, my lower body a beach that extended beyond where my feet were supposed to be and into the ocean of energy around me.

I cried because it is so seldom my hips experience that kind of softness and openness. For someone who constantly has to pop her sacrum back in place and stomp her legs like a zebra to get the top of her femur bone unjammed from loose hip cartilage, those few moments of fluidity were a beautiful reminder that my essence extends so far beyond my bones, muscles, and skin. Despite the hard armor I wear, underneath, I am nothing more than a soft soul.


One of the things that helps keeps my hip pain (from a labral tear) under control is my commitment to icing it after vigorous activity, whether the area hurts or not. I don’t intentionally do things that would cause great harm to the hip (such as running or sinking into a split), but because my femur head has a tendency to rub against the torn cartilage, things like long walks or even a yoga class may cause inflammation of the area, which calls for an icing protocol.

The problem I face is finding an ice pack that fits comfortably around the affected area, one that both stays in place and offers satisfactory compression. The hip joint is deep and much more difficult to access than joints closer to the skin, such as the shoulder, knee, or wrist. When I ice, I like to cover not only the outside of the upper leg but also the ASIS (hip bone) and then into the groin area. It’s a large, oddly shaped area to cover, one that most ice packs alone just can’t handle.

However, using my MacGyver skills, I managed to find a way to manipulate two ice packs to cover the area. Both are gel-filled freezer packs that slip into cloth pouches with velcro straps. I would put the smaller one in my groin area (kind of cupping the upper inside thigh) and then place the larger one around my waist, to both cover the outside of the hip and the ASIS bone and to securely hold the lower pouch in place for maximum compression.

The photo above is even more MacGyver than usual, because this was taken while on vacation in Disney World, when I wasn’t able to bring along the gel packs. Instead, I used 1-gallon-sized plastic freezer bags filled with ice from the hotel ice machine (conveniently located right across the hall from our room).

Even though I’ve been icing like this for more than a year, I still complain about the awkwardness of it all. I continuously fumble with the velcro straps, and sometimes I need Bryan to hold one pack in place while I manipulate the other. Also, if I’m standing, gravity takes over and the bottom pack sags after a few minutes, diminishing the compression. Again and again, I’ve Googled “ice pack for hip,” with not many specific results popping up. Most things that come up are giant ice packs, which still wouldn’t be able to wrap around all of the affected areas and stay in place.

But then along came Moji.

I met Moji a few weeks ago when I accompanied Bryan to the Philadelphia Rock ‘n’ Roll Half-Marathon expo. I saw their booth, with keywords “ice” and “compression” displayed on the signs. The display looked high-tech, sporty, sleek, and advanced. I walked up to the sales rep and asked, “Hey, do you have anything for the hip?”

In a blink of an eye, the rep had the Moji One wrapped around my hip.

I looked up at Bryan and gave him the biggest grin. It was as though I had found a cure for cancer, the Fountain of Youth, and the secret to world peace all at once. “This is it!” I exclaimed. “This is what I’ve been dreaming of!”

On its own, the Moji One looks like a work of art, a synthetic butterfly:

The gray portion is the gel pack, which can be either frozen or heated. The backside of this is velcroed onto the black wrap, which is super stretchy while still offering maximum compression. There is plenty of velcro surface area, so no more fumbling to get a little strip of velcro attached to just the right place.

Yes, for an ice pack, the Moji One is expensive (it retails online for $99.95, but I got an expo special of $90), but it is the design I’ve been seeking for so long now. And since I ice almost every day, it is certainly worth the investment. Even better, the Moji One isn’t just for the hip; it has 11 other functions and works on the ankle, shoulder, quads, and other body parts. It is so versatile! I haven’t used it for any other areas yet, but I can vouch for its effectiveness on the hip. I can go from sitting to standing without it slipping or sliding; heck, I could even dance in this if I wanted.

I never thought I’d be so excited about a pain relief product, but this ice pack totally warms my heart! 🙂

Note. I was not paid or asked or encouraged by anyone to write this post; I just want to spread the word to anyone else out there seeking effective hip pain relief!

About the Author

Name: Jennifer

Location: Greater Philadelphia Area

Blog Mission:
SHARE my practice experience in conscious dance and yoga,

EXPAND my network of like-minded individuals,

FULFILL my desire to work with words in a more creative and community-building capacity;

FLOW and GROW with the world around me!



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