“Neutralize your pelvis” is a common refrain among yoga instructors in poses like chair, Warrior II, and bridge. Over time, both posterior (forward) and anterior (backward) pelvic tilt can cause pain from your spine to your ankles. So we asked Lara Heimann, a physical therapist and founder of LYT yoga, to explain how to use your pelvis to protect your vinyasa-loving body.
Your pelvis sits between your abdomen and your thighs and acts as a container for the intestines, bladder, and internal sex organs. “It’s a ball that’s sitting on a triangle,” explains Heimann. As we move throughout our days, the pelvis will naturally tilt in one direction or the other—even when we’re in yoga class. “If yoga teachers don’t queue the person in any degree, then they would have a misshape in all the different poses. In every pose that person will have some degree of tilt,” she explains.
Fortunately, there are a number of ways to check in on your pelvis during your daily movement patterns (and on your mat, of course). “For one, if you’re coming into practice with that tilt, you’re going to have to bend your knees quite dramatically,” says the physical therapist. This will help you resist the urge to pull your pelvis forward in downward dog, forward folds, and more.
“The second is using your hands,” adds Heimann. “Putting your hands on the front of your body and pulling up like you’re zipping up a zipper, and putting your hands in the back and scrubbing down toward the tail bone.” This one you can do just about anywhere: waiting in line, sitting at your desk, or whilst listening to your brother-in-law mansplain at length during at Christmas dinner. Really, any time is a good time to neutralize your pelvis.
Test your knowledge with this yoga flow:
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