Many yoga students and teachers complain of pain and instability in their low back and SI Joints. Yogis tend to need MORE stability in their sacroiliac or SI Joints. This class happens to be the second most viewed of my YouTube videos as of this writing, with over 10k views, so I wanted to share it with you as part of a series to highlight the library of videos in my YouTube account.
Yoga for a Stable Sacrum – SI Joint Stabilizing Practice
There is one online class link that I send to my patients more than any other: my Yoga for a Stable Sacrum / SI joint stabilizing practice.
This gentle, intelligently-crafted therapeutic, full-length yoga class (45 min) is designed to improve stability and symmetry in the two SI Joints, and to strengthen surrounding muscles.
This class is NOT a replacement for medical advice, and if you have pain in your hip, SI joints, or low back, etc, go see a physical therapist (physiotherapist). For those of you who have seen a physical therapist before without much to show for it — try a different one and try for more than 3 sessions. Nothing will replace skillful, hands-on, individualized care for your long term health. I send this class to appropriate patients as a supplementary, therapeutic practice so that they can be confident in some gentle movement outside of their physical therapy exercises.
In nearly every public yoga class I teach, we begin with some type of core strengthening that falls under the global umbrella of the term “lumbo-pelvic stability.” I believe in the importance of beginning classes this way — even gentle classes — because modern postural yoga takes us into repeated passive backbends and relatively extreme ranges of motion without complimentary strengthening.
Over time, repetition of these passive and extreme movements can destabilize various joints in the body. The SI joints (and hips) are particularly vulnerable due to a tendency for excess hip openers in yoga practices. That’s how I know yogis need the stability work to prime their nervous systems and turn on the appropriate muscles, even if I personally avoid teaching passive stretches in my classes.
What to expect during this class
—Mobility and stability work for your hips
—A feeling of increased freedom in and around the hips and pelvis without passive stretching
—Activation of the muscles to stabilize the SI Joint (or sacrum), and entire pelvic region
- Sacral massage, as taught to me at Kripalu waaay back in the day by Stephen Cope
- Gentle dynamic hamstring range of motion
- Muscle Energy Technique (a physio / osteopathic technique) for pelvic alignment in multiple positions
- Bridge variations (setu bandasana) for lumbopelvic stabilization
- Sciatic nerve gliding variations
- Butterfly bridge for external rotator strengthening
- Contract-relax for piriformis release
- Malasana (supported options)
- Gomukasana / Cow face pose “lite”
- Prone glutes engagement in Sphinx
- Salambasana variations
- Ends in legs up the wall
Let me explain Muscle Energy Technique (MET) briefly. This is the term I know to describe the repeated squeeze in / squeeze out abduction / adduction actions taught in this class (and if I lost you with these terms, consider joining my Online Yoga Anatomy Mentorship with YogaAnatomyAcademy.com). This osteopathic / physiotherapy technique belongs to a family of healing approaches that involve your own muscle helping to re-align joints and decrease pain. (As opposed to a manipulation or other mobilization).
MET involves a specific isometric contraction of a muscle group for a few seconds, followed by a brief rest then contraction of the opposite muscle group. It is non-invasive, and can be extremely helpful in the acute stages of healing after injury and a very valuable tool in the “toolbox” so to speak with chronic issues.
“This is the most interesting and effective flow I’ve found online for the SI Joint!”
“Finally!! I found a video that is absolutely perfect for helping my SI joint! You are much appreciated”
“Exceptional class. Thank you for your thoughtful teaching and for sharing this online! Very helpful with my hip asymmetry issues.”
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