Inspired by yoga teacher Alexandria Crow’s articles on decoding alignment cues (click here to read more), we decided to decode and explore some cues our local teachers say in classes that may be confusing for those new to yoga. DRAW YOUR… is a series by anatomy art geek Tami Ledesma, in which she literally draws the body parts up, down, in, and around, illustrating the most common cues you hear at a yoga studio.
We sometimes see it in Tadasana and most often in Warrior 1 – the pelvis tilts forward, letting the ribs and butt stick out. Standing like this can pinch your lower back and tighten your hip flexors.
To counter it, you often hear teachers say:
- “Draw your tailbone down”
- “Lift your hip bones up”
- “Draw your sitting bones down”
- “Pull your pubic bone up”
- “Soften your front ribs”
But how do we do that? Let’s take a look at the muscular actions that make those movements happen:
The front abs lift your pubic bone up, while the hamstrings and glutes tilt your sitting bones down. These actions tilt the pelvis backwards slightly, so that the hip bones lift up and the tailbone draws down.
Balancing out the pelvis this way leads to a more spacious lower back and a wider range of movement in the legs, less compression in the organs and less tension in the ligaments – a healthier practice overall.
When she isnʼt drawing body parts, you can find Tami Ledesma teaching Vinyasa, FNR, Gentle Flow, and Pre-Natal yoga at Urban Ashram, or pulsing among her students at Barre3. Follow her asana adventures on Instagram at @movewithtami.