The pelvis is a mobility centre, connected to the two longest bones, the femurs. The pelvic bowl in which range of motion is executed during running, skating, cycling, swimming, yoga. It’s the foundation of our alignment when in motion. How we carry our pelvis determines the structural alignment of our spine, initiating upper body balance. The architecture of the pelvis and spine are a direct report from our level of flexibility in our hips.
Supple hips improve a runners stride, a cyclists cadence, a swimmers kick, a yoga practitioners asana.
Keeping an open pelvic mind
Hip extensions such as Bhujangasana (cobra), Dhanurasana (bow) and Ustrasana (camel) lengthen the psoas and iliacus (aka iliopsoas) to reverse the tightening affects of sitting in a chair. The psoas is the postural muscle master and almost anyone can benefit from it being lengthened. To bring awareness to the psoas elevate the lower sides of the waist towards your ribs while keeping the shoulders down and lower ribs in. In warrior 1, you can lengthen the psoas major on the back leg by elongating the lower side waist.
Hip flexions such as paschimottanasana and uttanasana (forward folds) strengthen the psoas. The psoas should be activated in forward bends, instead of the hands pulling the torso forward. You can tone the psoas muscles by tilting the pelvis anteriorly while drawing the sternum forwards. These poses stretch the hamstrings and piriformis.
Hip rotators such as Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (pigeon), Vrksasana (tree) and Baddha Konasana (Cobbler) externally rotate the femur via the piriformis. Pigeon flexes the piriformis muscle on the forward leg and lengthens the psoas on the rear leg. Note: pigeon and tree have one leg in extension and the other in external rotation for those of you who like to multi task. hah!
Keep in mind, you probably need to hold each pose for at least 60 – 90 seconds to release the tightness.