The Way You Twist Might Be Damaging Your SI Joint

The Way You Twist Might Be Damaging Your SI Joint

As we study the long term effects of active physical yoga practice on our bodies, SacroIliac (SI) Joint issues keep popping up on the radar in discussions with practitioners and instructors, in yoga magazines, and in blog articles. Holding the pelvis in one position, while wrenching the spine in opposition appears to be one of the culprits in over-lengthening the ligaments and tendons around the SI Joint, leading to destabilization and sometimes pain in the area. The WAY you twist might be damaging your SI Joint. So how do you prevent this?


Here’s how to practice a seated twist, Marichyasana C with kindness to your SI Joint. Bend your right knee, bringing your shinbone to vertical. Have about one fist-width distance between your right foot and your left inner thigh. Slide your left heel about four inches forward, which will start the twist in your pelvis, creating spinal rotation without strain or destabilization. Flex your left thigh and left ankle. Place your right arm behind your back for support, take a big inhale, then exhale, and hug your right knee with your left arm. If you want more sensation, place your left elbow outside your knee. Your sacroiliac will love you for this.

Kelli Russell
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  • Harumi McPherson
    Posted at 14:30h, 07 September Reply

    Kelly, Thank you for this great article. I’ve been having SI joint issue since my surgery. Certainly this information is an essential knowledge to me as a practitioner and yoga instructor. I could be wrong, but “left heel about 4 inches fwd” is not “right heel”? Sorry if I’m wrong. Anyway thank you again. I truly enjoy and learn a lot from your newsletter!! Hope to see you some time in the near future!! 🙂

    • Kelli Russell
      Posted at 22:37h, 02 October Reply

      Hi Harumi! I just saw your reply right now! It’s the straight, extended leg, in the photo above and my description, the left leg, that you’ll guide forward before you twist. This starts the twist in a way that’s gentler to your SI, allowing you to focus your twist on your upper back! Miss you my sweet friend and amazing yoga teacher!!!!

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