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Yoga & Sacrum Pain

by
author image Lorraine Shea
Lorraine Shea writes about yoga, fitness, nutrition, healing, philosophy, art, decorating and travel for magazines and websites including Fit Yoga, Pilates Style and Country Accents. She teaches Anusara-style yoga and specializes in breath technique, active relaxation and therapeutics. She has a B.A. in English from New York University.
Yoga & Sacrum Pain
Notice whether one hip is higher or more forward than the other. Photo Credit Jed Share/Kaoru Share/Blend Images/Getty Images

Your sacrum, the triangle-shaped bone on your lower spine, consists of five fused vertebrae and connects to either side of your pelvis, or hipbones, via the sacroiliac joint. Often referred to as your SI, the sacroiliac joint is reinforced by a network of ligaments that stabilize your spine and protect your pelvis when you move. Pain in this area is common for yoga practitioners, especially women.

Causes

SI pain is generally due to the joints being either too tight or too mobile. Sometimes, the pain radiates on the opposite side from where it originates. If you have sacrum pain see your health-practitioner to determine its cause before practicing yoga. Often, this pain leads to other postural misalignments, such as thighs and pelvis too far forward and slouched shoulders.

Assessment

Look in a mirror and notice the alignment of your pelvic area. Assess whether one hip is higher or if one side is more forward. Next, lie on a hard floor, bend your knees and place your feet parallel to each other. Gently scoop your tailbone upward to press your lower back onto the floor. With your knees together, move them about 8-inches to your right, back to center and then 8-inches to your left, a few times to each side. Does one side of your lower back press more into the floor than the other? This test also gently massages your SI joints and releases stress in this area. Once you figure out which way your pelvis rotates, work to find the alignment through yoga poses.

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Self-Adjustment

If your SI joint is out of whack, place your hands on a wall or on the back of a chair. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your knees bent facing forward. Press down firmly on the balls of your feet and inner heel with your inner arches lifted. Hug your shins toward each other and, at the same time, move your inner thighs back and apart. Keep your abdominal muscles toned by drawing your navel toward your spine. Next, bend forward, and wrap your arms around your legs as you push your shins in toward each other and thighs apart. This helps relieve stress on your lower back.

Poses

Practice asana, or yoga poses, to re-align and stabilize your pelvis. Yoga therapist Doug Keller recommends stretching your hamstrings, hips, abdominal and lower back muscles. Strengthen your lower back with mild backbends, such as cobra, locust, bridge, bow and reclining hero poses. Open your hips with poses such as reclining bound-angle pose. As you practice, focus on keeping your inner thighs back and apart to help open your lower back area and ease pain.

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References

  • "Anatomy of Movement"; Blandine Calais-Germain; 1993
  • "Yoga as Therapy"; Doug Keller; 2004
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