Imagine a clock that rests on the top of your pelvis. Your belly button is 12:00, your left hip is 3:00, your pubis bone is 6:00, and your right hip is 9:00. When your pelvis is balanced, all points of the clock are level and even.
First developed by Moshé Feldenkrais and used in yoga, Pilates, physical therapy, and other modalities, the pelvic clock concept brings awareness to imbalances that may lead to chronic or acute back pain.
Take for example:
Do you sit for long periods of time? Unless you have great posture, chances are the top of your pelvis tilts back flattening your lumbar curve and rounding your shoulders. 12:00 is further back than 6:00.
Have you been on your feet and feeling it in your low back? Depending on your stature, the top of your pelvis may be tilting forward while overarching and straining your low back. 12:00 is further forward than 6:00.
Been doing a lot of driving? Are you leaning to one side? If yes, 9:00 may be higher than 3:00 (or 3:00 may be higher than 9:00), meaning your left and right hip may be off balance.
Have you been carrying a baby on only one hip? One hip may be higher than the other, as in 9:00 higher than 3:00 (or 3:00 higher than 9:00) creating an imbalance in the torso.
Whatever your daily, repetitive positions are, take note. Observe. With an increased awareness of the pelvic clock, you can work towards more balance and ease. Switch hips when carrying your little one. When sitting, support your lumbar to keep the low back curve neutral. Stand with a level pelvic clock.
To explore this concept more, try this sequence:
Balanced Pelvic Clock Sequence:
- Lie on your back and imagine these four points of the clock.
- Notice what happens in your body when 12:00 moves up towards the ceiling and 6:00 moves down toward the floor. Feel how your low back over-arches as your lumbar curve gets deeper.
- Feel in your body what happens when 12:00 moves down towards the floor and 6:00 moves up towards the ceiling. Notice how you lose the curve in your low back and how your thighs lift up off of the floor. Move back and forth between these two positions to find your body’s neutral, balanced, and even state.
- Now bring your awareness to your left and right hip. Move your left hip up towards the ceiling and feel the weight of your body move to the right side of your body. Move your right hips up towards the ceiling. Again, move back and forth, between these two positions to find a balance between your left and right hip.
- Finally move your left hip towards your ear and your right hip towards your feet. Notice how your left waist gets shorter and your right waist gets long. Move your right hip up towards your ear and your left hip towards your feet and find that place where your hips are level and balanced.
While this example was given while lying on your back, it can be applied while standing on your feet, practicing yoga pose, or brushing your teeth.
Image Credit: Fanny Rognone