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5 Things We Didn’t Learn About the SI Joint in Yoga Teacher Training

Today I’d like to offer 5 insights about the SI joint( or sacroiliac seam) that we don’t tend to learn about in yoga teacher training, but which obviously have implications for how we educate and practice yoga. Also included are several scientific remarks for each point. I invite you to read these points with an open recollection and a desire to possibly question your own biases( because I know I have had to question my own many times as I continue to study and learn about the body !)

Insight# 1: The SI joint is a strong, resilient organize that is consistent with dense beds of some of the most prominent ligaments and muscles in the body.[ Ref, Ref, Ref]

Although the SI joints are some of the most prominent joints in the body, we often receive the thought from our yoga teacher trainings that they are actually quite fragile organizations that are vulnerable to trauma and insecurity from the slightest misalignments in yoga. For pattern, we are sometimes taught that if we nurse our pelvis “square” when we twist in constitutes like changing triangle( parivrtta trikonasana ), we can “tweak” our SI joints by pulling them out of adjustment, and we should therefore instead always be mindful to let our pelvis turn slightly in future directions the administration is changing in these constitutes. Another sample is that we are often informed in backbends like connection pose( setu bandha sarvangasana) and locust constitute( shalabhasana) to loosen our glutes( or to at least lighten them moderately) because if we contract them more hard-handed, this could disable our SI joints.

One reason we tend to believe that our SI joints are vulnerable to damage in yoga is that we generally learn about SI joint chassis by looking at a skeleton framework or a describing like this one here 😛 TAGEND

When we construe the bones by themselves like this, we can certainly get the impression that the sacrum can “slide around” relative to the pelvis easily, resulting in an SI joint that can be pulled “out of place” or “strained” due to big misalignments in yoga poses.

However, what we rarely see after learning about the bony anatomy of the SI joint’s organization is an image like this, which represents all of the extremely pliable, hard ligaments that surround and support the SI joints from all sides, impounding them firmly in place 😛 TAGEND

  The ligaments that support the SI joint include the anterior sacroiliac ligament, interosseus sacroiliac ligament, sacrotuberous ligament, posterior sacroiliac ligament, and sacrospinous ligament.

The ligaments that support the SI joint include the anterior sacroiliac ligament, interosseus sacroiliac ligament, sacrotuberous ligament, posterior sacroiliac ligament, and sacrospinous ligament.

A rarely-cited point is that the ligaments of the SI joint include some of the strongest ligaments in the human body![ Ref]

If after reading an image of the SI joint’s ligamentous subscribe, we were then proven an likenes like this one below, which depicts all of the thick-skulled musculature and fascia on top of all of those ligaments on top of the SI joints( including the potent gluteus maximus, the largest muscle in the human body ), we might have reason to be more confident and little afraid about this naturally strong, sturdy range of our form 😛 TAGEND

While our SI joint is to be able to be injured and we are going to be able absolutely know-how pain there( more on this in# 4 ), it would take much more power to injure a healthful SI joint than the relatively low ladens involved in a yoga practice.

Insight# 2: The SI joints are inherently stable by design , not inherently vulnerable.[ Ref, Ref, Ref]

The SI joints serve to transfer the laden of the upper body to the lower organization, as well as to distribute troops moving up the body from below. Therefore, stability is built into their awfully motif so that these forces can be transferred efficiently through the pelvis.

In fact, the SI joints are so inherently stable that there is only the tiniest extent of movement may be obtained on these braces. While some generators state that the amount of flow available at the SI joint is a barely-perceptible 2-4 millimeters, other sources actually state that there is in fact no push available at these joints at all.

Insight# 3: Even if the SI joints could “slip out of place” easily, we don’t have a reliable method to assess this in someone’s person.[ Ref, Ref, Ref, Ref, Ref]

SI joint progress is so minute and difficult to identify with either manual palpation or radiographic portrait that no one is of the tests traditionally done to assess the SI joint have been shown to be reliable. Without an accurate technique for testing the position and shift of an SI joint, how is impossible to definitively know that someone’s SI joint is “out of place”, “misaligned”, or “unstable” in the first place?

Insight# 4: SI joint pain is surely a common know-how among yogis and non-yogis alike, but SI joint anguish would not be necessary mean that there is an SI joint hurt.[ Ref]

  His left hand would actually be a bit lower if this were truly SI joint pain. (I couldn't find a photo that showed the right spot - they all seem to feature general low back pain instead!)

His left hand would actually be a bit lower if this were truly SI joint sting.( I couldn’t find a photograph that testified the right smudge – they all seem to feature general low-grade back ache instead !)

Thankfully, penetrations from modern agony discipline are beginning to become more widely known in the yoga world, but if this topic is brand-new to you, consider taking a look at the introduction to sorenes discipline section that I wrote for Yoga International a few years ago. It turns out that despite what we have traditionally been instruct, tendernes and tissue damage often do not correlate on a 1:1 basis – extremely when anguish is experienced in a most persistent or chronic route. Pain is actually a far more complex, multi-factorial phenomenon than simply “I have tissue mar and therefore that is what is creating my pain.”

As an example, if someone has SI joint aching and the government had knowledge a recent blunt pressure trauma to their pelvis field( thoughts from a car accident or a major descend of some sort ), then their aching is very likely due to an actual SI joint harm. Once this injury has soothed, this agony should abate. In reality, my husband and I suspect that his SI joint may have been injured many years ago in yoga by a strong accommodation he received. His yoga professor forcefully plucked both of his legs behind his head in a pose announced dwipada sirsasana and he felt a sear aching at his left SI joint in that minute. Thankfully the gash mended, but this type of cogent, deep adjustment seems like it was enough to cause injury to his SI joint( or at least a strong protective yield of sorenes in the field ).

But in contrast to those examples of short-term sting links with acute trauma, when someone’s SI joint aching is more long-term or chronic in sort( chronic pain is sometimes defined as hurting survive longer than three months ), it’s less likely that the matter is ache is connected to a specific hurt or damage to the place, and more likely that the person’s nervous system is instead feelings around that distinguish. Fearful organisation sensitivity and an output of grief can be the outcomes of many different factors aside from actual tissue injure. Other influences include ardours, past knows, stress ranks, notions – and particularly faiths about one’s organization. In point, the more that somebody am of the opinion that their SI joints are precarious and prone, the more likely their nervous system is to perceive threat in that area and to output pain there. And conversely, the more someone learns that their SI joints are strong, inherently stable formations well-supported by some of “the worlds largest” durable ligaments and muscles of their own bodies, the less likely their nervous system will be to perceive menace and output ache in such areas.[ Ref, Ref]

Insight# 5: Tellings-off about protecting the SI joint in yoga are often pointless.

As we have insured, the SI joints are harbour stable by a ligamentous and musculature funding organization that is strong and resilient – and the seams themselves have only a insignificant sum of flow available( if any) in the first place. With this in head, whether or not we regard our pelvis square when we construction in yoga is probably not a likely device for SI joint harm either way, having regard to the relatively limited loads involved in the pose. And whether or not we constrict our glutes in backbends in yoga is too unlikely to be a mechanism for SI joint gash; in fact, contrary to the common admonishes in yoga, contracting our glutes in backbends has actually been shown to have a positive stabilizing influence on the SI joints.[ Ref, Ref]

Additionally, it’s common these days to hear warns about “overstretching” the ligaments of the SI joints in yoga poses, has contributed to SI joint instability and sorenes.( I myself used to offer such carefuls too – the idea just seems to make sense !) We are learning, nonetheless, that this is not actually how ligaments respond to pulling. During a pull, a ligament expands temporarily, but then it returns to its remaining length afterward( sometimes after a short improvement age .) Despite popular alerts, passive extending has not been shown to prolong and destabilize ligaments and seams. I have personally changed my perspective on this matter due to revelations from newer research and learns from my yoga biomechanics mentor Jules Mitchell.

( For more see on the fascinating topic of straining, ligaments, and joint imbalance with lots of research notes quoth, I inspire you to read this recent blog announce by Greg Lehman, a researcher and clinician whose employment I have followed and admired for quite some time now. But fair warning: this pole is long and is truly region for the most serious torso geeks amongst us. You can always jump right to “Questionable Assertion # 3”, which precisely addresses these topics and might offer some new, interesting information in order to be allowed to ponder .)


In summary, SI joint anguish is common among yogis and non-yogis alike and there are many points that can contribute to it, including physical, psychological, and social ones. How we align our person in yoga is probably not existing mechanisms for SI joint trauma, though( strong, emphatic revisions by yoga teaches excepted !) Rather than annoying too much about adjustment for SI joint safety, a more effective means to injury-prevention is to simply enhance and ailment the muscles and connective material that support the SI joint, so that their capacity to handle onu increases.

Thank you for reading these 5 points with an open judgment, and I hope to see you on the matting virtually or in person in the very near future!

** Related: Keeping Your Yoga Teaching Current Online Training

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