*This is a guest post by our faculty member Margot McKinnon*

Most people only pay attention to their SI joints when they hurt. But these joints that have limited movement are critical in almost every yoga pose you do. They help integrate the whole body and keeping them healthy will keep you doing your practice longer and better.

What exactly are the SI joints?

SI Joints are the area of the body where the spine and pelvis meet. There’s a sacrum in the middle and two pelvic halves on both sides. You can easily landmark the top of these joints where the dimples are on your lower back.

These joints are considered incongruent and because of this, they can often become misaligned and cause pain from the simplest of movements.

Human hip 3D rendering isolated on black

Human hip 3D rendering isolated on black

How do the SI joints work?

SI Joints have 4 main functions and an easy way to think about them is as a bridge to transfer load between upper and lower body.

What does this mean? Imagine going up a stair. In order to do that, your pelvic half and sacrum have to move in opposition to each other to allow you to step upward with ease.

What can go wrong with the SI joints?

When the optimal position and movement of the pelvis are compromised, the SI joints become stressed. They can get stuck or hypermobile. Overtime either pattern can lead to pain and discomfort.

Typically you feel discomfort deep in the buttock or wrapping right around to the front of the hip when the SI joint is negatively affected. Sometimes the pain switches from side to side and you end up chasing it… this can literally end up as a royal “pain in the ass”.

When SI joints are compromised, they can also limit what you do in your day-to-day life. In extreme cases, even lifting a light bag can be debilitating.

How do we keep the SI joints healthy and strong?

Make sure your hips stay mobile in all planes and all directions in a balanced way. We also need to have good core control which leads to good support for the lower back and pelvis without making the body rigid.

Some key muscles we need to target are psoas, piriformis, glute max, glute med.

SI Joint Hip mobilization exercise-s

 

To learn more

Come check out my workshop at The Yoga Conference and Show 2017 on Thu, Mar 31. Register here.

Margot McKinnon

Body Harmonics Feature

Margot McKinnon B.A, B.Ed, M.Ed, is an international presenter, known as the “teacher’s teacher”. She trains professionals in the fields of Yoga, Pilates, Athletic Therapy, Massage Therapy, Kinesiology and Physiotherapy as well as maintaining a busy day-to-day practice in her studios in Toronto Canada. She is founder of BODY HARMONICS Studios and Health Clinics and director of BODY HARMONICS Education. She has written dozens of manuals and articles and her focus is always on bringing attention to the foundations of human movement so that regardless of your field of expertise you can help people restore optimal movement patterns at any stage of life. Her motto when she trains teachers is “keep it simple, help people feel what you mean, and spark curiosity through movement.