Stick Your Butt Out is a General Instruction


Stick Your Butt OutAlmost everyone I see, meet, and work with, tucks their pelvis under which throws off the body’s alignment and its ability to transfer weight successfully through the bones. It is such a universal condition that most people I ask think their pelvis is in the correct position however they happen to be standing.

My main instruction in teaching walking and yoga is to “stick your butt out”. This couldn’t be less specific but that is the point. From the general to the specific is an approach that works for me. I have numerous images and instructions for how to feel when your pelvis is in the correct place—the gluteus maximus should be relaxed; the gluteus maximus should have a room of its own; and when you do a kegel the muscle action should move clearly up the central channel of the body without any interference from the pubic bone or the sacrum.

But those can be subtle instructions—“stick the butt out”, might be general but it is exactly what everyone needs to do to one degree or another.

When I first change someone’s posture I want to hear them say “I feel like an ape.” If I hear that I know we are on the right track. I don’t think anyone can go from their bad posture to good posture right away. It is simply too hard to be that subtle. I am happy to watch people lean and slouch forward in an effort to find new movement patterns. If they have walked poorly by leaning backwards for their whole lives, I have no problem with the walking badly while leaning forwards for a while.

The idea is to eventually find the middle ground that we are all looking for.

When I stand in front of a client I am upright with good posture and when I walk to show a client how I walk I always hear, “but you aren’t leaning forward like an ape.” While this is true, it took a long time to get successfully upright which involved a lot of core work to stabilize a lower spine that used to be far from stable, and making major changes to movement patterns that all lead with the foot rather than the core.

Rome wasn’t built in a day and it takes patience and repetition to change the way we walk and stand. But you have to start somewhere and the easiest thing to do first is to stick your butt out.

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The Pelvic Floor Moves Up and the Gluteus Maximus Moves Down
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