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anteverted pelvis

Eric_228
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anteverted pelvis
hi esther, i had a question on the finer points of pelvic anteversion. the physiotherapists, pilates instructors, etc., talk about finding something called the pelvic neutral position.  they say to do this by tucking the pelvis under as far as possible, then rotating it back the opposite way as far as possible, then positioning it forward again at a midpoint between these two extremes. i'd like to know if what you term pelvic anteversion is the pelvic neutral position  or the rotated back the other way as far as possible position that i have described above? Eric
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Neither. I am trying to help people tip just their pelvis forward, accompanied by a curve very low in the spine at a place called L5-S1. If you are not used to curving here, it is hard to isolate that place and the technique you describe probably isn't going to get you there. Tucking as far as possible doesn't do anything for pelvic anteversion. Worse, it can do significant damage to the discs in the lumbar spine, especially L5-S1. It may feel good because it stretches the lower back muscles, but it puts a lot of pressure on the lower spinal discs in the worst possible direction. I don't recommend extreme tucking for any purpose and certainly not for trying to get your pelvis well-situated. Extreme arching usually causes excessive curvature in the upper lumbar spine and doesn't necessarily affect L5-S1 at all. It usually takes training to arch back just the pelvis and not the upper lumbar spine. Most people doing this exercise will just be swaying their back in an unhealthy fashion. Again, there is a potential downside to this. Apart form training your low back to arch (a habit you want to train youself out of), if your lower spinal discs bulge or herniate, this action is risky - you are in danger of herniating or sequestrating (pinching off) a fragment of the affected disc. I did this to my back about twenty years ago and don't recommend it! Then we come to the "midpoint" position. I don't think this is a very precise guideline. Most people will just return to roughly what they started with after having done a little damage at both ends and reinforced some unhealthy movement patterns of tucking and swaying. L5-S1 is not trivial to isolate. This is why In 8 Steps I take people through the process of Stacksitting and Side Stretchlying first, where you have an implement (a wedge or your bed) to help you maintain your pelvis in a healthy position while you sort out any sway that has crept in higher up in your lumbar spine. Once your brain and your muscles are familiar with this anteverted pelvic position, it becomes easier to find it in tallstanding. Still, I have people go through the process of doing first a small squat so gravity can help you tip your pelvis forward (without any muscular effort on your part) and then backing out of the squat trying to leave your pelvis in the position gravity helped you settle it into. You want to relax into this position, not try to tense your way there.
Eric_228
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Thanks, Esther. you mentioned that "it usually takes training to arch back just the pelvis and not the upper lumbar spine."  assuming a person can arch back just the pelvis and not the upper lumbar spine, is there any damage being done by arching the pelvis to the end range? the reason i ask is because i used to be a power lifter and the sequence of pictures in step 4 on page 81 of the stack sitting chapter is almost identical to the squatting technique used by elite level powerlifters. in additon to the picture sequence, these powerlifters would tilt the pelvis all the way to the end range and keep it locked there while squatting with super heavy weights. i think you will be interested to see how close your pictures on page 81 resemble the video in this link (notice how the knees never move forward past the toes): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RM_PG_0yHck
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It depends on whether your body is used to going to the end of the range of motion or not. Since it sounds like you are used to this, it should cause no problem (see yogi B.K.S. Iyengar's extreme backbends with all the bending happening at L5-S1). for people who are new to pelvic anteversion, I recommend proceeding gently and progressively since rapid change itself can cause inflammation.
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It may be worth noting that BKS Iyengar continues to evolve his teaching and postural ideals. In fact, a number of the instructions in Light on Yoga are no longer taught by Iyengar Ji or his senior teachers. I've had the privilege of working with several senior Iyengar teachers over the years, including Usha Devi in Rishikesh, India. Backward bending is now taught to include strong thoracic bending ("take your thoracic spine in - in - IN!" is a common instruction). 

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