I rolled over from my back to my stomach, excited to get through the last set of my physical therapy exercises. The goal: Do three sets of twenty leg lifts (like the pilates swimming exercise, only without the upper body) without letting my pelvis rock around.
This exercise had been driving me crazy the past few days. Leg lifts I could do, but I could not for the life of me hold my pelvis stable. It seemed inevitable that my iliac crest would grind into the floor when I lifted my leg. It is why I always hated doing this exercise in pilates.
I did the first set of twenty and almost gave up. I just couldn’t keep anything stable, so why bother? I could go through the motions, or I could save time and avoid this exercise. But something stopped me. I wanted to be a good patient. I have heard so many therapists and bodyworkers lament their non-compliant patients. There is little you can do for someone who won’t try to help themselves.
So I sat down and focused on just doing one proper left lift. That was my goal for the night. I braced my abs and my pelvic floor. I placed my hands under my iliac crests so that I could feel the slightest movement. And I lifted my right leg… about an inch off the floor. Right then, I felt it. My glute was straining, but my pelvis didn’t budge. My leg had hardly moved! Yet, I was doing the exercise correctly. I memorized that feeling and repeated it for the next two sets.
I had forgotten that these exercises are not about the motions; they are about focusing. The movement could be tiny, but it’s all worth it if I do it right. I am so tempted to spell out the connection to tango, but I will let you do that yourself. I am just happy to dig deep into these exercises—and be one step closer to correcting the issues in my hips.