What Might Help: Sacroiliac / SI Joints Anatomy, Pain & Issues

1) Correcting Pelvic Imbalance & Stabilizing Hips

  • Perform exercises to correct pelvic imbalance. See Doug Keller’s recommendations: Sacroiliac Support.
  • Balance and stabilize hips and SI joints.
  • Roger Cole gives detailed advice for when an SI joint is currently out of place: Practice Tips for the SI Joints.
  • Place pressure on sacrum and have student breathe into hand.
  • Roll to one side before sitting.

2) Strengthening & Stretching

  • Tone abdominals.
  • Strengthen muscles supporting pelvis.
  • Practice Mula Bandha (Root Lock) to strengthen pelvic floor muscles
  • Stretch hamstrings, glutes and low back.

Engage Erector Spinae and Pelvic Floor

The erector spinae muscles draw the sacrum into flexion (nutation) and the muscles of the pelvic floor (especially the pubococcygeus) draw the bone into extension (counternutation). Simultaneously engaging these muscles creates opposing forces that stabilize the joint. – Ray Long

3) Taking Care in Asana Practice

  1. Move with care in seated forward bends, twists, and wide-legged poses by moving the sacrum and pelvis as a unit.
  2. Keep pelvis level by placing or imagining a block between the knees.
  3. Another tactic that may help to achieve pelvic symmetry in seated twists: if you will be twisting to the right, set up by drawing the right sit bone slightly back.
  4. Twists and forward bends should be felt in deep buttock or hip joint area, not in dimple above buttocks.
  5. In poses that move thighs away from each other, contract pelvic floor muscles, and pull sit bones and pubic bones toward one another.
  6. In wide-leg poses, narrow the waist, keeping pubic bones together. (Roger Cole)
  7. Correct imbalances in other aspects of posture that might be root cause, such as weak arch in one foot. (Doug Keller)
  8. Avoid pushing down on knees to increase the stretch. (Ram Rao)
  9. Olga Kabel’s excellent article here advises that particular care be taken with advanced asymmetrical poses.

When Twisting, Do Not Use the Pelvis as the Anchor

While every pose needs an anchor, in twisting poses the anchor is not the pelvis; instead, it’s the thigh and the foot that is on the floor… In seated forward bending poses… just sitting in and of itself “unlocks” the sacrum and the ilium. If additional stress is then placed on the joint, discomfort and/or injury could occur.  – Ram Rao MD

Taking Care with Advanced Asymmetrical Poses

  1. Do not teach too many asymmetrical poses on one side. It can lead to cumulative stress on the SI joint.
  2. Do not insist on keeping the legs straight in forward bends; it creates shear stress on the sacrum.
  3. Be sure to include poses that stabilize the sacrum.

– Olga Kabel