The structural integrity of the spine and the mobility of its secondary curves are intimately related to the musculature and non-elastic connective tissue layers that surround and suspend it. As SI practitioners, we see the spine with its secondary spinal curves more like the mast on a sailboat. And the girdles and connective tissue system more like the ‘spreaders’ that lie perpendicular to the vertical mast and the ‘standing rigging’ that suspend the spine and lift the core.
We acknowledge the importance of the pelvis as a base of support for the spine. Its ability to pivot freely and rest in a horizontal plane, perpendicular to the vertical spine, defines the most basic objectives of the entire Structural Integration process. We see how a pelvis that is locked in an anterior tipped position forces the body’s vertical center forward of its gravitational center, straining the cervical and lumbar spine, and forcing the knees to hyperextend. We see that if pelvis is locked in a posterior tipped position, the body’s vertical center will be forced to shift backwards of its gravitational center, flattening the lumbar and cervical curves and collapsing body’s vertical center!
The ability of the pelvis to pivot freely at the femoral heads will, of course, affect the ability of the sacrum to move with the spine, and the core’s ability to move with the breath. The collapse of the secondary spinal curves will leave clients feeling physically unsupported from within, and the inability of the core to move and ‘breathe’ will limit clients’ ability to build an emotional charge in their core and to dissipate tension through the core.
The structural integrity of the spine and mobility of the core are also supported by the mobility and balance between the transverse myofascial diaphragms contained within the pelvic, abdominal and thoracic cavities. Release of the fascial layers that line these internal cavities and the body’s transverse diaphragms contained within them will thus have a major impact upon the spine and its ability to move and lift the core.
The importance of the pelvis’ ability to pivot, the spine’s ability ‘lift’ the core and the mobility of the body’s transverse diaphragms cannot be overstated. These are the movements that have the potential to radically affect our clients’ physical and emotional health and well-being, and these will be our focus when working with clients in class and in clinic from now on.