Is Your Body Tighter on One Side?

alignment yoga postures Apr 02, 2020

Have you ever wondered why one side of your body always feels somewhat more stiff, the other side more mobile or you seem to twist further to one side than the other?

This video and post explore one important factor in this imbalance and how to check for it.

You might remember a song from when you were little, something from primary school. It includes the line: ‘… the thigh bone is connected to the hip bone, …

Because of its direct connection at the hip socket, along with the many ligaments and strong muscles, the thigh (and with it the thigh bone) have a strong influence on positioning and stability of the hips.
The hip bone is only one part of the three-part pelvis. The pelvis itself is comprised of the left and right hip bones, and the sacrum in the back centre of this ring structure.

What makes the difference between a rigid ring structure and our pelvis are the three joints.
At the front of the pelvis the pubic joint is mobile, so are the two sacroiliac joints, or SI Joints, connecting each side of the sacrum to the hip bones.

The thigh bone (femur) with all its attached tissues will pull on the pelvis components differently, unless the legs are absolutely parallel and even. In our living reality, they are either one in front of the other, on top of the other, or turned more one way than the other.

As a result, over time our hip bones will reflect this uneven pattern.

Take sitting cross legged as an example. Or think of lotus pose if that is accessible to you.
One leg will be in front of the other, or on top of the other with slightly different thigh rotations.
What commonly happens is that we establish a preference for one leg to be in front or on top. Some yoga systems even instruct to always keep the same leg arrangement.
These habits lead to an imbalanced pelvis.

Let’s consider the next step.
The sitting bones (ischial tuberosities) are both the lowest point of our pelvis and the attachment area for the upper end of our hamstring muscles.
An imbalanced pelvis will have one side of the sitting bones higher than the other. This brings more tension to the hamstrings on the side of the higher sitting bone and relative slackness of the hamstrings on the other side.
Now guess which side feels more tight when we do a forwards bend from the hip?

With all the fascial and muscular attachments to the pelvis, this imbalance will also be felt in your back and core areas. Depending on your sensitivity, you may notice shoulders, neck, knees or feet also being involved in the unevenness.

But how do we know if our pelvis is uneven, or whether it’s actually movable?
This following easy test helps you check on both.

sit cross legged in front of a mirror or in front of someone
take your fingers to the hip points (ASIS or Anterior superior iliac spines)
Check for or notice differences in distance to the floor or the wall in front of you
keep your fingers in place while you change your cross legged position
check your hip point balance again as before

Most people can observe a change in the hip points. A persistent imbalance indicates a pelvic unevenness that has settled in somewhat.
You can also check your hip points when standing. Are they level to the ground and / or to the wall in front of you?

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