The “Sacred Sacrum”–Function & Dysfunction

The sacrum has been called the “Bowl of the Soul.” Understanding how to take care of this mysterious and sacred place is a key to self-care–learning to love our bodies and ourselves.

The Sacrum and the Sacroiliac (SI) Joints

The sacrum is a triangular bone located at the bottom of the spine that connects to the pelvis (aka ilium) on the left and right sides via the Sacroiliac Joints, known as SI. Though lesser known than the knees and shoulders, elbows and hips, the SI Joints are the strongest, most functionally important in the entire human structure.
The sacrum and SIJ are crucial and unique in their action: They support the weight of the entire upper body and transfer it to the pelvic area, like a shock absorber. The primary function of the sacroiliac joints is stability–not mobility–and their small movements can be thrown off by larger movements, including those of yoga asana.
The SI joints are stabilized by several ligaments and layers of muscles stacked on top of each other, creating what’s called the pelvic girdle. The pelvic girdle supports the entire weight of the body via the vertebral column, as well as protecting and supporting the lower organs such as the bladder and reproductive organs.

Sacroiliac Function & Dysfunction

Sacroiliac issues are increasingly encountered in the practice of yoga asana. For example, even if stretching feels good, it can quite easily become overstretching and exacerbate SI joint pain. It is critical–especially for female practitioners–to understand how the SI joints function and what pain in that area is telling them.

From the perspective of our bodies, it is difficult to imagine or “see” the pelvis; ergo, it’s important to identify and understand exactly what the pelvis is and how it’s structured. Pelvic differences between men and women create significant and distinct issues and concerns between our yogini sisters and yogi brothers. For women, these start with the female childbearing anatomy and hormonal shifts.

Workshop Description

This workshop begins with the basic anatomy of the sacrum and SI joints. As you learn how the pelvis is structured and how it relates to the weight-bearing vertebral column, you will be able to understand what creates discomfort and pain in both your daily movements and yoga practice.
Dysfunction of these balancing and stabilizing joints can cause misalignment and pain in your neck, shoulders, spine, lower back, hips, knees and feet.

Session I–Function

We will study the anatomy of the SI joints and sacrum, their alignment and biomechanics, i.e. how they function for everyday activities such as sitting, standing and sleeping. We discuss normal functional alignment and movement as background knowledge in order to comprehend what may lead to dysfunction (misalignment and pain), including from yoga asana.

Session II–Dysfunction

We will focus on sacroiliac dysfunction and how to address it in everyday life (e.g. working at a desk or driving a car) as well as sports and yoga. We will demonstrate and explore movements that may exacerbate pain and those that can help release it. These sessions work in tandem, to deepen understanding and help learn self-care techniques. This second session will address common SI problems arising from prolonged sitting or excessive activity. There are basic indicators that can show up in common yoga poses like dull, aching pain on one side in forward bends or asymmetrical poses.

There will be handouts and links for further reading in each session. You will also receive a discount for download of a 5-hour video covering all the material from both sessions, useful for reference and review.