What if reducing back pain, increasing core awareness and strength. Reducing hip pain and aiding the natural curves in your spine “where” easy to do?
It has been brought to my attention on more than one occasion that we as a society often overlook the power of simplicity. Is it that we are lead to believe that if something isn’t complicated? Or expensive or taught at a fancy center that it cannot truly be helpful?
I occasionally get students mention that they are off to PT for this or that. Only to find that what they are being told to do are the very things they are learning in my classes. And the therapists are amazed at their sense of awareness and ability. Now this is not to too my own horn. But rather push my point that sometimes we don’t realize the power of something until we step away from it.
And the same goes for simple movements.
Have back pain? Who doesn’t?
Struggling with your, ahem, pelvic floor? You’re not alone.
What if there was something you could be doing right now to help those areas improve?
Would you be O.K. with the notion that the approach was simple, elementary, small and lacks a fancy name and does not end in a complicated arm balance? Would that be O.K.?
Sometimes to truly take a step forward, we do in-fact have to take a step back.
Not in the sense that we are losing ground or less than, but rather that we are in deep need to create a deeper sense of awareness and understanding of our body and how it moves.
Pelvic tilting truly is one of my most favorite moves, and I often think of it as a secret weapon! This small movement packs a powerful punch! That it simultaneously free your lower back release your hip flexors. While improve core function and awareness and ungulates your entire spine.
I know what you are thinking now, “where can you sign me up”??
Except as a yoga and movement teacher for over fifteen years now I have learned that one: I was doing pelvic-tilting all wrong. And two: I see many following in my similar foot steps.
Let’s fix that!
There are tons of benefits to pelvic tilting and it SHOULD be an exercise that everyone does regularly. Because you can do it in just about any plane of motion and position.
If you need a list of reasons WHY pelvic tilting is not just good for you, but necessary, check this!
* Creates a sense of awareness of the pelvic floor muscles
*Releases Sacral (SI joint) pain
*Frees the femur, tailbone, sacrum connection for more mobility and motility
*Helps one access and tone the lower abdomen muscles
*Releases lower back
*Liberates the entire spine
*Loosens tightness hanging on the shoulders
*Releases tightness of the inner hips and inner pelvic attachments
*Tones the pelvic floor and core muscles
*Activates the glutes/buttocks
*Increases awareness of the hip-spine relationship
*Assist in a deeper breathing and better lung use
*Enhances your body’s natural alignment and curvature
*Assists your lumbo-pelvic relationship to sit in neutral with less pain and restriction
*Helps you look taller and leaner
*Teachings you how to wear your core on the inside of the body rather than the outside
*Release the lateral side body
*Stretches the abdominal walls from sitting all day
*Releases the fascial netting of the lower body and spine.
By now you are wondering how do you effectively and properly practice pelvic tilting?
- Pick your position. You can practice pelvic tilting lying down, standing in a slight chair pose, sitting, or even prone. I think supine is the simplest way to practice and the floor gives you good feedback as to what you are doing for starters.
- Lying down with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor, make sure your heels are not too close to your sit bones, when they are too close it inhibits the range of motion for pelvic tilting.
- Find your breath, a deep breath in through your nose and out through your nose to settle into your body.
- Keep your body relaxed for now, INHALE and work to arch your lower back away from the floor, like there was a pin poking you. Do not lift your hips off the ground. Go as far as you can comfortably and keep stretching until your inhale is complete.
- Pause for a moment.
- Now EXHALE and glide your lower back into the floor, WITHOUT squeezing your buttocks together or lifting your hips up off the floor while pelvic tilting.
- Now repeat again drawing a deeper sense of awareness to the movement, between what moves and what doesn’t.
- After a few rounds, on the exhales work to draw awareness and attention to your anal sphincter, with the exhale on the posterior tilt (when you tip back into the floor) work to contract that part of the pelvic floor. Notice what else wants to contract, more than likely trying to do the job for this part of your pelvic floor, especially if you have never used it before.
- Inhale release the anal sphincter. You will notice if you contracted when you proceed to release. Do this several rounds.
- Now mentally move forward on your pelvic floor and work to contract the vaginal passageway or for men the soft tissue behind the scrotum. For many this will be more difficult, especially if there was trauma (like giving birth) the nerves and tissues may not be connecting back with the brain properly.
- Repeat the process of EXHALE contract and tip back, and INHALE release and tip forward. This will feel more internal. Think about contracting while in cold water, or for men like flexing an erection, women engaging during intercourse. (I see potential practice opportunities to engage your pelvic floor here).
- Now finally move even more forward on the pelvic floor and think about where your pubis bone is and work to contract the lower front belly and pelvic floor on the exhales. This will feel more like pulling inward on the belly, but this time it’s triggered by the pelvic floor not the navel. Think of the action of cutting off the flow of urine or holding when you have to go to the bathroom. Good news, those two actions ask you to use your pelvic floor muscles.
- Repeat tilting trying to engage each of these three areas, all individually, and all together. Notice what is easier and what takes more work.
A few other tips:
As you become more comfortable with the movement, especially while lying down. Consider adding in the arms to the movement. INHALE and arch the back, release the pelvic floor, AND reach your arms overhead! STRETCH. Exhale and return back to the floor and contract the pelvic floor.
By incorporating the arms in you get more of a full spinal interaction. Plus, the hip flexors and lower back get even more lime light. Notice when reaching if one arm hits the floor and the other does not. This can easily become a tool for not only teaching pelvic floor activation and releasing the lower back. Which can also assist spinal and fascial assessment as well.