Unlocking the Spine

Return To Center Unlocking The SpineIf you're like most Americans, you probably find yourself in a seated environment a little bit too often than you like. Whether you are commuting to work or sitting at work or sitting at school or whatever the case maybe we're going to try and do things to help unlock the spine that is continually encouraged to lock up the more your sit. Ironically, we will get started in the seated position. The goal is to encourage a little bit more movement through some rigid muscles and stiff spine you don't have to get up right now and you can just stay seated and give yourself an assessment of how well you can rotate while sit tall. After you have an idea of well you rotate (or how poorly you rotate) turn just as far as you can with your whole torso in one direction. When you get to that end range just do a little bit of a side bend. Return to a tall position and then repeat this action: rotate to the end range and perform a side bend, repeat. What you should experience is just by adding rotation with side bending you actually mobilize a lot of the vertebrae in your spine and the tissue that surrounds it. This is a very simple thing that you can do as a little bit of a work break. That is called type II spine mechanics. Meaning that we're rotating and side-bending on the same side. There is also type I spine mechanics where we could rotate to the right but then side-bend left. Try performing that action and see if that frees up the spine as well. You might find does the same job.

Another approach to start opening up the spine is in a standing posture. Begin by rotating the whole body to feel what it's like to turn. With your feet underneath you, in a nice tall relaxed posture, take your right arm hand, and with the head following along, begin the rotation around to your right. Can you feel your rib cage start to rotate driving the rotation into your hips? Can you experience the pelvis driving rotation into the legs all the way down to your feet? When you come back around take that same arm and rotate to the left with the palm down. See if he can go the same distance in the opposite direction. Spend a little bit of time rotating back and forth before switching arms. It is almost like a wash rag of all the tissue from the head to the feet all the way up wringing out the tension.

Next, in a tall standing posture, internally rotating both arms. Can you get a sense of how this will help to encourage the ribcage to drop and push back flexing into your spine? Then start to unwind the arms and unravel. As the arms externally rotate can you feel your spine extend? Continue internally and externally rotating the arms. Travel in and out of extension and flexion while keeping your head level. As the arms internally rotate, can you experience your shoulders moving forward and upward toward your chin or jaw while the chest and rib cage tilts forward? Meanwhile, the pelvis is going to be tucking under with the tailbone so the front of your pelvis is tilting up. As the arms externally rotate can you feel your shoulders dropping back pulling back behind you? Does the rib cage begin lifting toward the chin and the pelvis begins dropping away? Experiencing the oppositional movement between the head and the ribs, the ribs and the pelvis, and all the major joints in the body will open tissue that is often restricted. Just by going in and out of these motions will begin to give the body a reminder of how it is meant to move instead of staying in that Jell-O mold we call a car or a chair. Give these three movements a shot. See how it feels after you do them. Walk around. Are you lighter? Longer? More grounded? More energized?