|Freeing the sacroiliac joint using|
the gluteus medius and
tensor fascia lata.
is abduction of the hip (taking the leg out to the side away from the midline). The TFL and the more anterior (front) fibers of the gluteus medius also internally rotate the femur. If the femurs are fixed in place (by constraining the feet to the mat), then activating these muscles pulls on their origins at the iliac crest, creating a degree of mobility at the sacroiliac joint. This is an example of “closed chain” contraction, wherein engaging a muscle moves the origin rather than the insertion (moving the insertion is considered “open chain” contraction).
In Uttanasana, firmly press the feet into the mat and then gently attempt to drag them apart (without actually allowing them to move). This is a cue to activate the TFL and gluteus medius. These muscles then pull on the iliac bones and free the sacroiliac joints, allowing that extra millimeter of forward bend from counter nutation.
Remember to go slowly when applying these techniques. It is not necessary to use strong muscular contractions to experience the benefits. Start with gentle force and learn to moderate the contraction, “dialing” it in. Use similar care as you gradually release the action of the muscles. This applies to using the shoulders as well--gentle contraction and release.
Stay tuned for the next post, when we’ll illustrate a fringe benefit of engaging the tensor fascia lata and gluteus medius to counteract the kneecaps rolling outward in forward bends.
Ray and Chris