“The action of hip disassociation/differentiation happens when you reach your ischial tuberosities or sits bones as you descend to sit in a chair. The pelvis stabilizes and the femur heads scoop out your pelvis creating a deep crease at the front of the hip, as the photo at right demonstrates.”
Unfortunately, some key Pilates concepts – such as “disassociation” – can be couched in overly-scientific jargon. The quotation above, from the pilates-pro.com web site, is but one example.
Fortunately, however, there are plenty of “plain English” explanations out there. One particularly inventive (and instructive) approach to understanding hip disassociation is offered by Francis Cahill, of the Pilates Fitness Institute.
In her article, “A Lesson from the Lego Man,” Cahill writes:
“We Pilates folk are always searching for ways that we can most effectively describe hard to imagine technical info as part of our education. One of these Pilates technical concepts is hip disassociation. Whilst this terminology sounds very ‘science nerd’, don’t run screaming for the hills just yet, all it really means is that we are trying to teach our bodies how to move our legs in isolation to our pelvis. Why would we want to do this, you ask? It is a crucial part of having a strong and stable core…. If you are someone whose hip flexors are often screaming at you during your exercise, this is a sure sign that your muscle balance around your hips is out of whack and this article will help you enormously.”
Importantly, she goes on to say: “To imagine this concept more easily, we will draw inspiration from our trusty little Lego Man (Our model is a James Bond Lego Man courtesy of Hilary who has these cuff links!!). Check out the picture (above) and notice how he has a hinge at the hip joint where he is able to move his legs without affecting the rest of his torso. Now that is impressive hip disassociation!”
Cahill then offers practical advice for applying what the Lego is showing. Her step-by-step guide can be found at: http://www.pfiwa.com.au/a-lesson-from-the-lego-man.
So, the next time you’re picking up your child’s toys (or maybe your own?), don’t forget: Inspiration – AND instruction – can be found in the least expected places.