Practice 17 – Aligning the spine above the pelvis

Aligning the Spine Above the Pelvis

Revisiting the Anterior and Posterior Tilt with Hip Flexors engaged.

Now you have the sensation of your hip flexors, by flexing the forwards sitting down.  Next, you are going to align your spine by moving from the sitting, folded position (90-degree angle with your upper body and eyes facing the floor) to unfolding upwards, straightening your spine and feeling the hip flexors engage, giving you a completely upright feeling.  This will enable you to:

– bring your spine upright instead of leaning slightly forwards
– push forward from the lower Hip Flexor attachment point in your groin
– feel the muscles at the back of your pelvis (Glutes) engage
– relieve pressure on your lower back and align your pelvis

1. Sit as you were, folded forwards, in Practice 16. Slowly unfold from the sitting position with your fingers still touching the area of your groin where the hip flexors are

2. Keep your spine moving upwards and back until you feel the area around your groin fully engage

3. It may feel as if you are pushing the front of your pelvis slightly forward. You will feel the muscles in your buttocks (Glutes) engage and your pelvis will tuck under into a more neutral posterior tilt

4. Notice how your upper body feels. You should feel upright and as though your upper body feels completely supported

5. Recheck your feet, make sure they are aligned and your 2nd toes are facing 12 O’Clock (if this is in any way painful, then have them as close to 12 O’Clock as you can before it becomes uncomfortable)

6. Practice a few times, moving from the folded sitting position to unfolding your spine upwards and fully engaging the hip flexors so your thigh muscles and the muscles of your belly feel completely engaged

7. Can you feel how your belly flattens a little as the lifting up of your spine and rib cage, together with engaging the bottom of your hip flexors, engages your abdomen muscles from above and below?

8. Make sure that your rib cage is directly above your pelvis and not leaning forwards. If you do lean forwards, your eyes naturally look down towards the floor, and then you have to lift your head up and back, which contracts the back of your neck!

NB.  This whole process is far more effective than sit-ups to strengthen and tone your belly muscles, as it contracts and releases them from above and below, rather than just above like it would in an exercise like sit-ups!

So to recap when you stand up, you want the Glute and hip flexor area to contract and engage at the end of the range as your spine aligns your upper body.  This will give more support in the front of your body, taking some of the pressure away from the curve of your lower back and helping to align and create a strong foundation in your lower body to support your upper body.