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

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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 😉 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.

The Pelvis

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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