Understanding Pelvic Balance
The current evolution of yoga practice, outside of evidence-based yoga therapy practices, is heavily weighted in Vinyasa or Flow Yoga. While a talented teacher can create a flow sequence that provides a student with the experience of relative balance and a sense of release, these types of practices rarely change a person’s dysfunctional movement patterns.
A lack of awareness of pelvic positioning in yoga poses can lead to strain in several areas. I see many students who have developed S.I. joint pain, lower back pain, or knee pain as a result of a misaligned and/or imbalanced yoga practice. While it is likely that someone’s pelvic imbalance existed before they began a yoga practice, not knowing how to address the imbalance in their yoga practice can lead to further difficulties.
3 Yoga Practice Tips You Need to Know for SI Joint Balance
You can discover more about your pelvis, S.I. joints, and pelvic asymmetries, as well as how to address them, with my course offered by Yoga U Online. Watch my interview for the course FREE. You are also invited to read more about my 3-hour course, Yoga for the Asymmetric Pelvis, which includes a 1-hour powerpoint plus four 30-minute yoga practice sessions to guide your understanding toward self care and pain relief.
In this blog I am sharing a video covering important thoughts to apply to your yoga practice to help you keep your pelvis happy! In my previous blog, Sacroilliac Joint Dysfunction in Yoga, I shared my personal experience, how S.I. joint difficulties are more common in women, a video of how to use a sacral stabilization belt, and practice poses to find pain relief. Check them both out!
1. Discover Your Pelvic Clock
Consider the front of your pelvis as a clock face. The navel represents 12:00, left hip is 3:00, inner groin or pubis is 6:00, and the right hip is 9:00. When standing, think of balancing both the horizontal and the vertical lines of the clock face. Where the two lines cross is considered the pit, or center, of the abdomen. When the clock face is perpendicular to the floor, ie; making the face of the clock flat when standing, the crossing point is directly in line with the fulcrum or center of your sacrum. Also by balancing both the horizontal and vertical lines we bring our pelvic floor parallel to the earth, creating stability in the hips and spine. Recommendation: stabilize your clock face before moving into your yoga poses.
2. Choose to Balance Your Practice
I recommend students avoid a one-sided practice. This means avoiding several different poses on one leg/side before repeating the poses on the second leg/side. In order to develop pelvic balance we need feedback from our muscles and nervous system to become more aware of how we are moving thru space. If we overload one leg with poses and fatigue the muscles, we loose the feedback necessary to compare one side to the other. By practicing the poses individually, one side and then the other, we develop and improve the conversation between both sides.
3. Asymmetric vs Symmetric Yoga Poses
Have you observed that some poses make you feel unstable and some make you feel stable? In a pose that is asymmetrical, meaning one leg is doing something opposite or different from the other such as in Virabhadrasana I or Warrior I, we tend to have more of a challenge with balance. If a pose typically has two sides, we could say it is asymmetrical. In a pose that is symmetrical, we feel naturally stable and it has only one side. Examples of symmetrical poses are: Prasarita Padottanasana, wide leg forward fold; Uttanasana, forward fold; Adho Much Svanasana, Downward Dog; and Salabhasana, Locust Pose. Consider using stabilizing poses at the end of a sequence, or scatter them throughout your practice to observe and adjust your pelvic rotation for optimal balance.
Resources for You
Along with my course being offered thru Yoga U Online, Yoga for the Asymmetric Pelvis, I have also written a book Healing Our Backs with Yoga: an essential guide to back pain relief. The book offers 22 different reliable sequences with color photos and progressions with specific sequences to address different types of pelvic imbalances. You might also like a copy of one or more of my 3 DVD’s that parallel chapters in my book. You can also visit my Store to see everything in one place.