The Bodywork Perspective – the Pelvis and the Small of the Back

back index ahead

The Small of the Back

The small of the back.

small of the back In this picture, the person on the left has an “excessive” small of the back curve.
The person in the middle has a “tight” curve.
The person on the right has a “neutral” curve.

The small of the back is a gateway that blocks or allows the free flow of passion.

Passion for life is found in the small of the back. In Chinese medicine, the kidneys, located in this region, are described as the “feet” that propel the body forward. This area is the major centre for “life vitality and pleasure.”

The small of the back should have a neutral curve. Too “straight” and passion is blocked through force of will. Too curved and passion is blocked by giving up — collapsing.

Do the “wall thing” again. Touch your heels, butt, shoulder blades, and back of your head to a wall.

Cross your hands in front of you, as per the photos above.

There should be a 1 inch gap between the wall and the small of your back. Too tight, and you might think of yourself as being a bit rigid, as far as passion for life goes. A large gap might indicate either that you’ve been studying ballet ๐Ÿ˜‰ or are afraid of your passion for life.

Again, these are hints or guidelines.

Too Curved Small of Back
curve and tipToo curved

Too curved — a too curved small of the back is caused by:

  1. pushing the stomach out. The stomach is over-extended, and the back is weakened.
    • This is something of a “spineless” posture, leading one to think that the person will be emotional, placid and “wishy-washy.”

  2. tipping the pelvis back while pushing the stomach out. (See image, left) A tipped pelvis (in this case, “tipped back”… see below) contributes to the curve.
    • Pushed back pelvises are a sign of sexual discomfort / repression, as well as discomfort with “passion for life.”

Tight Small of the Back
rigid smallToo rigid – tight

Too tight — a “tight” small of the back lacks a distinctive curve. This is often the result of pelvic rigidity and the tightness is also caused by overly tight back and butt muscles.

Indicates a life stance that is behaviourally and / or sexually rigid.

Pelvis from the back.

The pelvic area is the source of passion.

The back pelvic area, as we mentioned in the small of the back section, above, is the home of passion for life.

The front pelvic area is home for sexual passion.

Pelvic energy needs somewhere to go; you always, in Bodywork, open the pelvis last. More on that later.

I said in the Body Tilt section that the pelvis should be in a neutral position front to back. The pelvis should also move freely. You can observe this by watching how the person moves.

Free pelvic movement

The lead-in video, shot from the back also mentions again the idea of “pelvic tilt,” which is best viewed from the side.

The Pelvis, tilted either back or front, when viewed from the side
The Pelvis, tilted back

You determine the position of the pelvis two ways; by looking at the front of the pelvis and the butt.

If the butt is back, creating a round derriere, we know that the pelvis is also back. It’s as if the person is trying to hide their genitals by pulling them back.

This is a marker of sexual insecurity, shyness or embarrassment, and is the typical pelvis position for Westerners.

The Pelvis, tilted forward
butt forward

The opposite tilt will cause the butt to look small, “boy-like;” the pelvis thrust forward. This is a position of sexual comfort and perhaps aggressive sexually.

North Americans tend to be from “Puritan stock” — even those who immigrate, over a generation, will begin to pull the pelvis back. In North America, the pelvis is often tipped back.

In Europe, where there is more comfort with the body and sexuality is freer, the pelvis is often tilted forward.

The Pelvis, neutral
neutral pelvis

The Pelvis is completely relaxed. The genitals are in a neutral position, and there is freedom of movement in the pelvic region. You can test this at the end of this page!

Pelvic Tilt, high to right or left, viewed from front

Tilt from front

tilted pelvis


If the right side is high, this would indicate an excess of yang, male sexual energy. If the left side is high, an excess of yin or female sexual energy.

Again, every tilt is compared to “neutral,” so knowing what a neutral pelvis looks like is a starting place.

Moving The Pelvis – testing for freedom of movement

As a test, move your pelvis. Rock it forward and back. The movement should feel even; as if your pelvis can move in either direction equally.

If you notice more movement forward than back, you can rest assured your pelvis is normally back.

If you notice more movement back than forward, your pelvis is normally forward.

Rock your pelvis in a circle, like doing a hula. Also rock it from side to side. Again, use the pelvic muscles, not the legs to make this movement. You’re looking for ease and flow of movement.

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