As yoga students, we are often given instructions to “square off your hips” or “tuck your tailbone under.” But do we know what that means, or even what the teacher wants us to do? I’ve asked my students the same questions this week, and the answer was an astoundingly “no”, along with some puzzled faces.
Obviously these cues didn’t work, so it was time to get back to the basics: what are “squared hips“?
Our pelvis looks like a pair of Micky Mouse ears, and our sacrum is the triangle shape bones at the back, with the tailbone or coccyx as the bottom tip of the triangle. When you hear “tuck your tailbone”, what teachers actually want you to do is to point the bottom tip of your sacrum triangle straight down towards the earth. Since the tailbone is already “tucked in” and rounding inwards, if you try to tuck it even more, you end up squeezing your buttocks or gluts, and engaging the wrong muscle groups.
To find your alignment and squared hips, first find Tadasana, Mountain Pose:
So when you hear “square off your hips”, it’s meant for you to come back to this place of stability and balance of the pelvis. However, before you even move, you should find the alignment first, and then move within your range of motion. On the other hand, when your hips are out of alignment, it’s already too late to “square off your hips”, and it’s time to come back to the basics like Mountain Pose and start again. The goal is to be able to move your limbs independent of your torso, and having the freedom of movement without twisting or torquing the spine.
For anyone who is interested in learning more about proper alignment and movement in yoga, I highly recommend the Alignment Workshop with Perri at Living Yoga Studios.
Friday Jan 31st 5-9pm & Feb 1st 9am-5pm
11 Livingston Ave, Kingston, ON
I look forward in sharing more with you.