“I can’t tilt my pelvis ” – Pelvic tilt

/, Cross fit, Gyrotonic, pilates, yoga/“I can’t tilt my pelvis ” – Pelvic tilt

“I can’t tilt my pelvis ” – Pelvic tilt

Why is it that some of us are able to tilt the pelvis and some of us cannot? I have seen this time and time again in seated forward bend asanas, GYROTONIC handle unit, and Pilates variations of the roll down and roll up. We are forever being sold solutions to gain flexibility in our hips, but how much flexibility in truth can we actually gain?IMG_3010


First things first the pelvic tilt whether anterior or posterior is the ability to roll the head of the femur either towards or away from the ASIS. If there is little or no movement, another area of the body will compensate.The acetabulum (Latin for small bowl) is a deep socket formed by the junction of the ilium, pubis and ischium. It should not be confused with the foramen.may_workout

Because of the structure of the pelvis, the acetabulum is directed laterally, anteriorly, and inferiorly. In the anatomical position the anterior femoral head is partly exposed. The head fits better into the socket when the femur is flexed to 90 degrees angle relative to the trunk as in a four point kneeling position.

back-stretching-fourpoint-kneel-extAbnormalities of the shape of the ball or socket may be congenital (born with this condition) or developmental (develops in childhood or adolescence with bone growth). These abnormalities can be quantified on Xray/CT scan/ MRI scan and there are various measures to signify whether the shape differences are mild, moderate or severe.FAI-pic1

Population studies have identified that at 18 years of age a significant percentage do not have spherical femoral heads (ball). Of these individuals, only a very small number go on to develop the clinical symptoms and signs associated with FAI. This is an important point because FAI is NOT a condition that is diagnosed because an Xray or scan report indicates there is a shape variation to the ball or socket.



Occasionally FAI can occur in individuals with normally shaped balls or sockets. These individuals have hypermobile joints and impingement occurs when the joint is at an extreme of its range of movement. The average angle between the femoral neck and shaft is 135 degrees. In some individuals this angle is smaller, a condition called (coxa vara) in which the range of abduction is reduced. When the angle is greater than 135 degrees (coxa alga), the range of abduction is increased.FAI-pic2 Variation-in-femur-angles

So whether your movement speciality is Yoga, Pilates, GYROTONIC, Martial arts, Cross Fit or something else, try this little experiment. The initial aim of this exercise is to establish pelvic mobility. Once this is achieved the motor control of the movement can be further enhanced. This drill (particularly with the passive assistance described) works well for teaching pelvic mobility regardless of an individual’s pelvic alignment.

Preferred position 

  • Seated with both feet flat on the floor


  • Whilst keeping their shoulders still the individual should attempt to tilt the pelvis anteriorly (forward and down)
  • Hold the new position for a few seconds before relaxing back to the original position and repeating
  • IMG_4956IMG_4957

If the individual’s movement is lacking or particularly poor, passive assistance may be provided. A wide webbing belt or towel around the waist allows the trainer to passively extend the lumbar spine, then assisting the pelvis to lift anteriorly. I have shown the demonstration seated as it easier for the practitioner to find space in the joints rather than working in compression on the floor.


images-49Here are some Yoga Asanas demonstrating the pelvic tilt, in my teaching experience and self-practice if the facility is not there it will not automatically happen, modifications need to be given plus more rhythmic movement patterning. The forward bend asana often gets mistaken for short and tight or long and taut hamstrings, this can be a contributory factor but not the full diagnosis. Look at the lower back on this downward dog.images-51



“The physical body is not only a temple for our soul, but the means by which we embark on the inward journey toward the core.” B.K.S.Iyengar

By | 2018-05-16T13:11:20+00:00 October 28th, 2015|anatomy, Cross fit, Gyrotonic, pilates, yoga|0 Comments

About the Author:

Nisha is a certified Chek practitioner and holistic lifestyle coach.Her journey started when a visiting Laban teacher introduced her to Pilates at Dance College during her first year. It's effects were forgotten but she then re discovered Pilates through Michael King eleven years later whilst running her dance school. Her background spans over 25 years with formal training in classical ballet, modern dance, tap, national choreography, stage production and theatre. Her formation includes Pilates, Thai bodywork, Yoga, GYROTONIC, GYROKINESIS and anatomical studies. Her particular interest is fascia, and the connective lines and movement patterns that allow a full moving structure rather than the isolation of bones and muscles. Her fascination with questioning the traditions of modern medicine and fascination with searching for meaningful answers has taken her in many different directions and has offered her an abundance of opportunities gaining a wealth of knowledge. “I tried many movement modalities and extended my search after experiencing fascia, because of its simplicity in movement. Quickly, I noticed my own body changing as well as the bodies of my own clients. In the last 25 years of teaching I’ve developed a workout unique to Yoga Anatomy". Throughout her studies Nisha has done numerous dissections with Julian Baker and Cery Davies and has the opportunity to take lectures and courses from Robert Schleip, Joanne Avisons, Tom Myers, Matt Wallden, Emma Lane, Gary Carter, Paul Chek, Dan Hellman, Peter Blackaby, James de Silva plus many many more Nishas teaching method promotes reflective self-discovery and provides the requirements to integrate a shift in consciousness for attaining individual goals. She maintains that an attitude of compassion, consistency and joyous humor are excellent components to growth and expanded potential. She welcomes all level of movers from the beginner to the seasoned athlete who have a desire to increase their skill potential, also teachers and students. Her specialties include assisting post rehabilitative individuals, injury prevention for dancers and athletes and advanced movement programs.