Pelvic tilt, and ‘Sucking & Tucking’
How do you get your pelvis to tilt?
I’ve found that for most people, it’s very difficult to move the pelvis (other than
turning it to left or right!). It would appear to be the hardest part of the body for many to feel, and I’m fairly sure that for the majority, not only are its contents a mystery, but also where and how the legs connect to it!
When trying to describe it, the concept of the ‘pelvic tilt’ works for some, for others the idea of ‘sucking & tucking’ is useful, and for other people, the exercise below, combined with ‘sucking & tucking’, might work even better.
Try the following…
- Put the knuckles of one hand on the small of your back.
- By flexing your spine beneath your knuckles, see if you can push your knuckles backwards. [You can let your knees bend a little if necessary, but your body shouldn’t lean backwards]. To do this you are doing a ‘posterior pelvic tilt’ – see above.
The point of this is explained below.
What happens inside?
At the place where you have just placed your knuckles, the spine has an inward bend, part of the ‘S’ bend.
By straightening this bend (the lower part of the ‘S’ bend), the spine actually lengthens slightly; although the top of the spine doesn’t move, the portion below the ‘S’ does – it pushes down, pushing down on the pelvic bone to which it’s attached.
If you take a round-bottomed bowl and push down on one side of it, the other side obviously rises by an equivalent amount.
Pushing the lumbar vertebrae gently backwards pushes the back of your pelvis downwards, because the ‘S’ bend in the lower spine straightens. This is the ‘tucking’ aspect.
If the back of the pelvis drops, the front must rise – just as it does with the bowl.
However, in both tai chi and qigong, you always need to balance front and back, so it isn’t enough to work only the back, you need to work the front simultaneously.
This is where the ‘sucking’ comes in. You need to lift the front of the pelvis upwards, and you do this by lifting the pubic bone.
Because without using this part of your body in every movement, tai chi and qigong stop being what they are and become external movement only … arms and legs slowly flurrying about without the central motor doing any driving.
The two arts become “a tale, Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing.”