Yoga for Lower Back Pain—Part I: Keys to Sacroiliac Stability and Ease of Movement


“ . . . no anatomical structure functions in isolation, and the mechanical load anywhere in the body is distributed through a continuous network of fascia, ligaments and muscles supporting the entire skeleton.  . . focusing on singular anatomical structures to comprehend lumbopelvic pain, rather than considering the spine and pelvis as an integrated, interdependent and dynamic biological structure, might ‘blind’ the observer to the larger picture.” (1)

More and more Yoga practitioners (and teachers) are showing up to class with debilitating sacroiliac discomfort becoming members of a rapidly growing international “SI Club.” In many instances, SIJ issues in Yoga practitioners are the consequence of repetitive dysfunctional movements, skewed body mechanics and forceful overstretching. Little by little, these actions can erode the inherent stability of the pelvis, resulting in pain and movement impairment. This course will be an invaluable investment in helping you to prevent and resolve sacroiliac instability for yourself and your students.

In this course, Donna will guide you through the complex anatomy and kinesiology of the sacroiliac joints so that you can better understand why certain practices compromise the integrity of these joints. Drawing on decades of medical research, we’ll look at several models for joint function and spinal stability that can inform your movement choices, and better enable you to adapt the method or tradition of Yoga you practice.

Donna has been leading sacroiliac courses for Yoga students and teachers for over a decade. In April 2017, as a result of a horse riding accident, she broke her pelvis in two places causing debilitating pelvic instability. Her explorations during months of therapeutic Yoga practice and movement work, has deepened her understanding of the importance of working in progressive stages to first alleviate pain, regain symmetry, stability and strength, and gradually restore multi-dimensional movement crucial for everyday activities. The discoveries she is making from her own recovery now inform her work in helping others to restore pelvic stability.

  • Lectures 1 and 2: Anatomy of the Sacroiliac Joints covering the history of the SIJ, its relationship to the lumbar spine and hips, and the specific anatomical features that contribute to its stability bias yet paradoxically also allow for small degrees of mobility essential for optimal movement. We’ll look at how gender differences can make females more prone to SIJ issues, and how variation in pelvic, sacral, hip and femur structure can create implicit limits for some individuals. Finally, we’ll investigate how unsound biomechanics can leverage into and pry apart these joints setting the stage of SIJ misalignment.
  • Video: Eight Things Yogis Do to Stuff-Up Their SI-Joints: Including femoral and spinal leveraging, misguided biomechanics in standing postures, faulty transitions in flow sequences, and poor core strength coupled with hypermobility. Discontinuing these common practices can radically alter the future outcome your sacroiliac joints, hips and lower back.
  • Video: Reducing Pain & Discomfort:  Research shows that pain alone can contribute to ongoing poor motor control and movement dsyfunction. You’ll learn a simple practice sequence for calming and alleviating sacroiliac discomfort and helping to recenter the pelvic bones. We’ll do targeted release work with the iliopsoas muscles, gently mobilize the pelvis and lumbar spine, and learn to adapt practices to prevent excessive loading into the SIJs. We’ll also look at prop considerations that can make a big difference for those with pelvic discomfort.

This Premium Course Also Includes These Bonuses!

  • Recordings of All Sessions: Yours to keep. It’s generally acknowledged that many people only retain 10-20 percent of what they learn in a workshop. You will get access to the recordings of both sessions, enabling you to go back and listen to the workshop as many times as you like.
  • Transcripts of All Sessions: Ever wanted to refer to a certain part of a course? Even the best note takers miss a point every so often. With the transcripts of the webinar sessions, you can go back and refer to particularly important passages or clarify sections you were in doubt about.

This course qualifies for 4 non-contact hour CEs with Yoga Alliance.

(1) Vora AJ, Doerr KD, Wolfer LR. Functional anatomy and pathophysiology of axial low back pain: disc, posterior elements, sacroiliac joint, and associated pain generators.  Phys Med Rehabil Clin N Am. 201:21:679-709 [Pubmed] 

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Donna Farhi has been practicing and teaching yoga for more than four decades. She is one of the most sought-after guest teachers in the world, leading intensives and teacher training programs internationally.

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