Tucking The Pelvis And Kyphosis

tucking the pelvisThe four curves of the spine—sacral, lumbar, thoracic and cervical—are supported by the position of the pelvis. If the pelvis is in the correct position the spine can extend and its four curves can be maintained. Unfortunately most people go through life tucking the pelvis and throwing the alignment of the spine into disarray.

Tucking the pelvis leads to all sorts of dysfunction. The thigh bones are pushed forward of the hips, the gluteal muscles activate constantly, and for this discussion the lower back flattens or rounds backwards throwing the rest of the spine out of whack. The curve of the lumbar or lower spine bears and transfers the weight of the bones that lie above it and is essential for creating and maintaining the other vertebral curves.

As you can see in the picture above when tucking the pelvis the upper back moves backwards and the head moves forward. When the lumbar spine is curved in the correct position the spine extends up into its natural curves.  Kyphosis is the natural rounding of the back but then the pelvis is tucked under it puts more pressure on the upper spine often pushing it past its natural degree of curve.There is a lot of core tone involved in maintaining these curves but tucking the pelvis disconnects our ability to access and activate the core muscles that we need for the support of the spine.

Nothing stops the march of time but skeletal alignment and muscular tone can go a long way to making the hike a much more pleasant one. We must stop tucking the pelvis. It is pretty basic stuff. Stick your butt out a little. Get your legs under your hips. Find your lumbar curve.  Any and all of these things will prevent you from ending up with an excessively kyphotic upper back.


Preparation For Full Wheel Pose
Shoulder to the wheel...still.
  1. I agree with your post when it comes to everyday life; yes, I’m one of many yoga students that ended up with a very flat lower back – thankfully my chiropractor saw it and it’s now fine.
    However, the idea of flattening the back while going into a twist is not dangerous, won’t hurt you, and moreover will protect your intervertebral disks from damage.
    So I’d say we can still tuck our pelvises in certain parts of a yoga practice, and make sure we have enough mobility in it to untuck it in our daily life.

    • Hi CHristine, thanks for weighing in. I have to say I am not a big fan of tucking or flattening the low spine for twists. I always work in search of a balance between the lumbar and cervical curves and for me flattening the lumbar negatively affects the cervical. But it is a matter of opinion and if it feels right for you, who am I to say. Best, Jonathan

  2. I couldn’t agree more!!!!! in fact in my case , being a woman, there are other things about the pelvis I have found myself discovering…for example sticking out and tucking in to a point of real comfort , finding my position aligned and feeling like floating yet rooted, allowed me to know the tension in my buttocks area also contracting my pelvis floor!!! and anal region. when I felt such tension I realized how much more at ease I felt when walking , allowing the convey of energy moving from my feet up to my spinal cord. My buttocks openned up- I didn´t know how much tense they were !!! In yoga Astanga there are moments in which breath is sustained, It has a purpose for it, but I found out that when there is tensión, breathing is shortenned and muscles, in this case the pelvis muscles, get so contracted we don`t even notice it until it calls through pain. I am very glad that you say this of : Hey untuck a little bit , see and feel what happens. In the sessión I offered of movement I have invited woman to “present their wombs” rather than “tucking in”.The effect was an oppening , and a recalibration of the pelvis over the legs with anatural movement upward of chest,Well I have been practicing to allow oppening and relaxation in buttocks for they already work , and relaxation in movement , that way, I found out that movement is more charged, easier, and merrier to do. Thanks for your post!!!!!!!!!!!!! l

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