By Lauretta Furlonger
Sacroiliac (SI) dysfunction, with its signal pain which can be sharp or dull, often on one side of the lower back, often means that we have to alter our yoga practice and our life. SI dysfunction occurs when the sacrum moves too much or too little for the joint to be able to function or distribute force optimally, and therefore causing pain. In severe cases there might also be pain in the buttocks, groin, or thighs.
Pregnancy and childbirth are the major risk factors in SI dysfunction, especially if delivery was difficult or if you’ve had multiple pregnancies. Mummy activities like carrying a small child or other loads on one hip place the pelvis in an asymmetric position for a long period of time.
Some simple and common sacral resets can be safely used as self-treatment, and the alignment advice below may help to alleviate your symptoms. Keep your yoga practice low risk to prevent your pain from recurring.
Savasana: Feet against the wall
Lie on your back with your feet against the wall. Take your index and middle fingers to touch your frontal hip bones. Is one of your frontal hip bones higher than the other? Closer to your shoulders? Or closer to the ceiling? Are you able to press both feet evenly against the wall?
After noticing the positioning of your pelvis and the length of both legs, draw your attention to your belly and lower back. As you inhale, the belly and the lower back ideally expand. As you exhale, the belly and the lower back ideally draw in toward each other.
Pelvic Tilts: With a fitball
Pelvic tilts will reinforce your new symmetry and help you gain control of the movements of the pelvis. If you feel unsteady on the ball, set yourself up on a sturdy chair or wall you can touch for support, or even place the ball against a wall to help keep it in place. Take as long an intermission as you need between tilts.
Sit on a large exercise ball, with your hands on your thighs. Press down evenly through both sitting bones and lift up through the crown of your head. Then bring one hand to your belly and notice how your belly moves with your breath, expanding as you inhale, and drawing in as you exhale.
Now bring your hands to your hips, and move forward and back slightly, sending the ball forward as you inhale (cow pose), then back as you exhale (cat pose). Try to do this with your belly more than with your legs.
Return to neutral, then rock your pelvis from side to side as if you were in a boat, moving the ball a few inches in one direction, then the other.
Keeping the spine vertical, circle your pelvis in one direction for several breaths, gradually increasing the size of these circles. Then circle your pelvis in the other direction.
These exercises are intended to be general recommendations by a yoga practitioners and teacher. They are not a replacement for the personal advice of a healthcare professional.
For more information please contact Lauretta Furlonger.
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