Standing and walking – free the pelvis

‘Pelvis’ – derivation is from Latin, meaning basin or bucket.  It acts as a shock absorber; balancing forces from 2 directions:

….the downward fall of weight from the trunk and the upward thrust from the ground as it receives the impact of the weight….The Thinking Body by Mabel Todd

Shock absorbers require some elasticity and spring in order to balance such forces, if not, they cannot transfer the energy of the “shock” into another form of energy.  In balanced walking, the leg muscles  provide the “spring” to the arches of the feet and the thigh muscles provide the “spring”of the knees  etc.  I write “spring” as a quotation following a startled response from one student when I suggested that we “..spring into tree..”  Quite right to question such an instruction!

We regularly work on our feet and try to align the body from the ground up.  We have been mobilising the feet and ankles so that the foot can move through the stages of plantar flexion, neutral and dorsal flexion as we walk and find stability when we balance.  Mabel Todd describes walking itself as a balancing act – we propel our body forward (“fall”), we “catch the falling weight” and then we continue the first two movements.  This balancing act works best with a structure that moves freely and without tension.

Problems sometimes occur in yoga classes when we strive for a “neutral” or “stable” or “still” pelvis.  There can be a solidity associated with “stable” and “still” , that is not helpful.  I seem to remember Pete Blackaby referring to our perceptions of the term “still” as – still like a brick wall or still like a bowl of water.  The second image seems particularly apt in view of the etymology of “pelvis” – bowl or bucket.  Thus the unhelpful nature of the cue “tuck your tail” – which flattens the lumbar curve and extends the hip joints.  Look at Johnathan FitzGordon’s site and his notes on this.  I have been using his term “..relax the butt…” recently and this has also been greeted with slightly raised eyebrows!  The site is interesting, as are the webinars offered.

 Previous posts also cover aspects of standing and balance:

The feel of Balance

Arches – high and low.

Coming to the end of term.  Blogs will now be posted as  queries occur in the classes, as I discover new information and if requests are made.   Meanwhile, this image might amuse and help you to “loosen up” when walking.






One thought on “Standing and walking – free the pelvis

  1. Hi Liz – just got round to reading the info on walking!  didn’t realise it was so involved – I do a lot of walking (the dogs) so will have lots of practice – I do always wonder why so many dog walkers need hip replacements and now I know why- they don’t know how to walk. thanks again for sending/posting these. see you Wednesday Alison 


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