Pelvic alignment for a new client
In my first post on assessing pelvic alignment, we discussed and discovered the importance of Pelvic Curls and Hip Rolls. Part 2 brought us Side Knee Float & Bent Knee Opening. Now, let’s bring it all home with Part 3 and Quadruped Rocking.
Friendly Reminder: Teach the bony Landmarks
If your clients know their sacrum from their pubic bone your job will be SO much easier. While we don’t expect our clients to take on anatomical jargon we can encourage them to understand their own bodies in more detail. Teaching your clients that their pubic bone sits at the front of the pelvis and that two fan shaped bones form the sides is an easy place to begin. Our sacrum sits between those two fan shaped bones. We have a tail bone below our sacrum and our lower back vertebra above our sacrum. Nothing scary. Nothing overly technical. Just a simple way of explaining the body and speaking the same language.
The quadruped position allows gravity to affect the pelvis from a different direction. This position also allows us access to the back of the pelvis for hands on cueing. While the cat exercise is a crowd favorite for pelvic mobility (and that delicious spine stretch), the rocking variation is often overlooked. Once you have directed your client to move through hip extension/posterior tilt and hip flexion/ anterior tilt in cat, we can introduce the challenge of maintaining neutral pelvic alignment as the legs move in a closed chain. Set up with hands forward to make the shape of a parallelogram with the weight back on the legs. To move, reach down and back with the knees and allow the body to rock forward so that the shoulders are over the hands and the hips are open. To reverse, push the hands forward and allow the pelvis to rock back as far as it can stay parallel to the ground. This takes us into a squat position allowing release through the back of the pelvis. As the body rocks forward and back we create familiarity to the action at the hip during reformer footwork and how it is possible to maintain stability through the pelvis while encouraging mobility through the hips.
My closing mantra for this series: Teaching our clients that movement occurs during muscular release AND activation will help our goal of efficient movement and allows space for the breath to be involved. The quietness of these movements will give your client the opportunity to listen to what their body is telling them. Before they know it, our Pilates newbies will “be in control of their body and not at its mercy”.