I am the Director of Advanced Yoga Teacher and Yoga Therapy Training at Soul of Yoga. Over the years I have learned countless wonderful things from my students. These students are already yoga teachers and are enrolled in training in order to deepen their skill sets and/or become certified Yoga Therapists. Some have been teaching less than one year, some for decades.
One of the strangest things I hear repeated by both new and experienced teachers is the confounding instruction to “Pull your flesh away from your sitz bones” when instructing a seated pose.
I always ask these teachers why they give this particular instruction. And by and large the answer is “My previous training taught it this way.” This is a great example of why it’s important to explore the validity of things before spreading false information.
I think this is a potentially damaging instruction and encourage all Yoga teachers to stop using it. But if my word isn’t enough, (and it shouldn’t be) here’s some science to back it up.
The medical term for The Sitz Bone is actually “Ischial Tuberosity.” And it’s an important piece of anatomical real estate. It is where the hamstrings and large muscles of the inner thigh (adductors) attach to the pelvis. In fact for such a small landmark it’s got a lot of large muscles pulling on it. It is also the location of a very important bursa sac – the ischiogluteal bursa. We have bursa sacs strategically located all over our bodies. They are small liquid filled sacs that help cushion our bones and foster smoother movement for the ligaments that cross them.
When we pull the flesh away from our Sitz Bones we are exposing the bursa sac and the hamstring and adductor attachment points (ligaments) to unnecessary pressure, pinching them between the floor and the bone. This can cause inflammation and pain which is often referred to as hip bursitis or hamstring tendonitis. These are highly uncomfortable situations which can take quite a while to heal.
This condition has become so common amongst Yoga practitioners it’s been coined “Yoga Butt” (and not in the good way.)
So as Yoga teachers and students let’s leave the flesh over the Sitz Bones from now on and celebrate our booties as the perfect amount of cushion just where nature intended it!