I always loved the line correlation does not equal causation. Mainly because I enjoy alliteration. But in this case, I am curious about the relationship between two events. Handstands and SI joints.
I have written before about my bothersome left sacroiliac joint. If you don't know what the SI joint is, you can wiki-learn about it here. After my ego post a few months back, I've had many yogi's come up to me saying that their left SI joint also bothers them. Additionally, more and more people who take my class have been coming up to me complaining about left lower back pain. It's kind of a yoga epidemic.
So I've pondered it, analyzed it and have come to an unsubstantiated opinion on the whole thing. My hypothesis? Kicking up into handstand off your right leg is no bueno for your left SI joint.
The SI joint isn't a very mobile joint and my humble observation is that when a yogi starts in standing split and then kicks off the right leg into handstand but doesn't make the catch - they often land loudly down on their right foot - which over time (5 or more classes per week with multiple handstand attempts per class) would be extremely jarring to the lower back. Most students kick off the right leg because it is stronger than the left, thus increasing their odds of getting their butt over the shoulders in order to hold the elusive handstand.
So I think there is some correlation between these hops and SI joint pain. Is it causation? I don't know. I'd love legit medical input here. But the fact that it's mainly the left SI joint and that many of these yogi's with this issue are frequent handstand hoppers does make it seems like there is a some relationship here. Here is a quick (and poorly focused) video that hopefully illustrates more of what I'm talking about.
So what am I doing about it? Bringing it up, first and foremost. And in my classes, I'm going to have people work more on donkey kicks or frog hops which use both legs at the same time in hopes to prevent this asymmetrical movement issue. Would love any input/thoughts on this one... xx.