If I were to ask you to touch your toes, how would you do it? Without straining, go ahead and give it a try. What do you do with your back as you reach for your toes?
If you’re like most people, chances are you rounded your back and tried to bend at the waist. While we can do a bit of bending at our waists by tilting the top of the pelvis back, it’s not necessarily the most efficient or effect way of reaching toward the floor. A far easier way would be to hinge at the hip joints. But where are the hip joints?
Most people believe the hip joints correspond with what I like to call the Butterick® pattern image, i.e., that broad expanse of pelvis resting at the top of your legs. If I ask people to point to their hip joints, they most often point to the bulgy bits out to the sides that serve as repositories for all those tasty snacks we can’t resist. While this is where a seamstress will take your “hip” measurement, the actual hip joints are at the front of your pelvis.
To find your hip joints, place your fingertips right above the middle of your kneecaps and slide your hands upward until you reach the very top of your legs. Eureka! Hip joints. This is where we are designed to bend or rather fold forward most efficiently. Give it a try.
Place your fingertips into the creases where the top of your legs meet your pelvic area. Straighten your back. Keeping your back straight but not stiff and your head in line with your spine, fold forward over your fingers as if you were closing a hinged box lid, the kind you’d find on a piano or child’s toy box. Notice how much easier it is to bring your upper body toward the floor.
Once you’re in this position, let your arms hang down toward the floor. Do your fingertips touch the floor? Do they get closer than they did when you first tried to reach toward the floor?
To come up, simply reverse the movement. Keeping your back straight but not stiff and your head in line with your back, lift upward as though opening a hinged lid. Voila!