Three Simple Moves to Keep Your Spine Flexible

These three movement explorations will take about five or seven minutes each. You can do them separately or together. Think of them as questions or experiments rather than reps or exercises. The exploratory nature of your awareness will improve the movement a gazillion times more than mindless repetition.

Side-bend:

  1. Lie on the floor. Bend the right leg and reach the right hand toward the heel many times.
  2. Where do you initiate from? Pause.
  3. Put the left hand behind the head and slide the hand down again, this time bringing the head with the right arm to the right. Where do you initiate from? Do this many times, and put your attention on different areas: the ribs, the spine, the shoulder girdle, the hand, the foot, the pelvis. Which place helps you move?
  4. Pause a moment. Then reach the right hand down toward the right heel and note what happens spontaneously. How much of you participates?
  5. Rest with the legs long. Then experiment with the left side.


Extension:

  1. Lie on your stomach. Put the hands on top of one another and the forehead on the hands. Lift the head gently to see the wall opposite you. Only go as much as it's really easy. Test a couple times. Then put the head down on the hands.
  2. Close your eyes. Look forward through your closed eyes and roll the eyes toward the eyebrows and the chin many times.
  3. Slowly lift the head again, this time with closed eyes looking toward the eyebrows. Open the eyes and note how far you went. Do this a few times. Pause.
  4. Then lift the head with the closed eyes but look down at the chin. As you put the head down on the hands, look at the eyebrows. Do this many times. The movement might be small. Rest a moment.
  5. Lift the head with the eyes closed, looking at the eyebrows. Open the eyes. Is it further? Do this a few times. Then rest on your back.


Flexion:

  1. Lie on your back. Feel the shape of your low back. Bend your knees and stand your feet. Slowly tilt your pelvis so the low back presses a little. Not a huge, effortful movement, a gentle tilt. Note the jaw and the neck. Any stress? Do less. Pause a moment.
  2. Interlace your hands behind your head. Bring your elbows forwards. Lift the head and feel the ribs pressing down. Look at the legs as you do this. Put the head down and repeat a number of times, slowly. Focus on pressing down and backwards with the ribs.
  3. The next time your head is up, leave it up with the low back pressed into the floor. Slowly lower one leg and then the other leg as you keep the head up and the ribs and low back pressed into the floor. Set the head down. Repeat five or six times: Knees bent, lift the head, keep it lifted and the back pressed, then lower one leg at a time and then lower the head.
  4. Rest on your back. Feel the low back now.