Some of the most common cues you hear in yoga class for the pelvic area are:
“Curl your tailbone under”
"No duck butt"
“Squeeze your pelvic floor”
"Do a kegal"
While these cues may be well-intentioned, they are coming from the perspective that everyone has an anteriorly tilted pelvis. It also assumes that if you’re anterior then you would be better off more neutral. In my clinical experience this is not the case! I haven’t seen a single neutral pelvis and I see a posterior pelvis at least once a day. Normal ranges on anterior tilt are between 6-13 degrees. There isn’t a “normal” listed for posterior tilt. In my world it's not the duck butt that's the problem. It's not having a butt!
I’ve found that it is difficult to bring a client from a posterior tilt to more anterior. These clients often have pain in their low backs, hip joints, knees, and pelvic floors. They are also often yogis who may have had a more anterior or neutral pelvis and years of poor yoga cues lead them to a posterior pelvis.
Speaking to the pelvic floor, I think it’s naïve to assume that everyone has a weak pelvic floor. I see clients regularly who have high and tight pelvic floors, causing tension across the whole pelvis. It can cause pain during sex and make childbirth harder. In my opinion, yoga teachers should cue the pelvic floor less and maybe even cue some softening at the end of class.
Here’s the thing about pelvises: they are complicated! For instance, the pelvis can be posterior BUT the sacrum can be in an anterior position relative to it, creating the illusion of an anterior tilt. You can have an anterior shift of pelvis BUT a posterior tilt which also kinda looks like an anterior pelvis to the untrained eye. You can have one hip anterior AND one posterior creating a torsion (really common in yogis).
What should yoga teachers do? Learn more anatomy! I hope to be changing this soon. Be on the lookout for upcoming workshops!
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Nashville Native. Structural Bodyworker and Movement Junkie