Your anococcygeal ligament is a band of tough connective tissue that is continuous with the fascia around your anal sphincter and the periosteum around your coccyx. Although it doesn’t produce movement, it can shorten and tighten in response to the activities of the muscles and fascia around it.
Ligaments serve as sense organs, helping monitor the position and movement of joints. Your anococcygeal ligament gives you sensory feedback about the orientation of your pelvis and hips.
The Root of Posture
For many of us, this is the seat of our postural collapse. The triangular space between the sit bones and coccyx, called the anal triangle by anatomists, becomes compressed whenever the pelvis is thrust forward or pulled under by postural habit.
To feel what I mean, stand up and tuck the tip of your coccyx toward your anus. You will feel a clenching of the lower gluteal muscles, the deep rotator muscles and possibly your perineal muscles. You may also feel your thighs turning subtly outward in your hip sockets. Notice, too, that your whole body has shortened by about an inch, your belly has thrust out, your chest has dropped down and your head has poked forward.
Now try the reverse of that movement. Simply imagine that your tail is floating away from your anus. Picture the the anococcygeal ligament lengthening. Try to move your coccyx without purposefully straightening up. You'll straighten up without trying.
If you didn't feel anything the first time, try both moves again with your eyes closed so you can concentrate inwardly on what you feel in your body.
Practice in Daily Life
If you have a deep set habit of narrowing the posterior triangle of the pelvic floor, it will take some sincere practice to change it. If you practice yoga, you'll need to open that space in every single asana. If you play tennis you'll have to re-teach yourself to serve and swing. You'll also need to be aware ofit in daily life.
Today was trash day in my neighborhood, which requires carrying my recycle box 61 steps down to the bin at the curb. Sixty-oneopportunities, step-by-step, to carry a heavy and dripping carton of cat food cans—it had been raining for days–—and with each step to renew my awareness of that space in my posterior pelvic floor.
This region of the body is a common place to clench whenever we are in pain, or are facing perceived threats. Ramping up your tail space awareness in mundane situations helps you build new brain mapping so that stressful times are less likely to destroy your posture.
© 2017 Mary Bond