This month I want to share with you the six healthy movements of the spine. These movements are not yoga specific, they are more body movement science and when performed throughout the day help to keep the spine moving.
I have said this before, the spine is the highway of the body and when the spine is tight, congested and not moving the rest of the body will follow suit. The spine has muscles and connective tissue that hold it together and join the spine to the rest of the body. These muscles spiral around the spine in vertical, diagonal and horizontal directions.
The six healthy movements of the spine address all of these directions and help to keep the spine moving freely. Think of these movements as the oil that keeps the spine lubricated.
My suggestion is to perform these movements every hour of the day. Use a reminder app on your phone or desktop to help keep you on track. I have had students contact me after returning home from their stay in Phuket to tell me how useful these six movements have become in their daily routine, and that the daily stiffness they felt from stagnant, repetitive movements of an average work day were alleviated.
Here are a few reasons on why the spine is so important:
• Your spinal cord gives you the ability to bend and twist. An injured spine limits your mobility. If you accidentally injure it, wear it out over time, or have repeated bad posture, you could have difficulty with things like bending over, picking things up, sitting up straight, walking, twisting your spine, or moving your neck.
• The nervous system runs electrical impulses up and down the spine to areas that feel sensation. A damaged spinal cord can disrupt neural responses, disabling sensations in parts of your body.
• When you swallow food and water, it travels down your throat into your esophagus, and then into your stomach. Your esophagus is parallel with your spine. If you accidentally injure your spine, it can press against your esophagus, obstruct it, or puncture it.
• Incorrect movement, intense exercises and bad posture can add unnecessary pressure to the spine, which over time can lead to degenerative diseases. Abnormal movement and improper posture can cause wear and tear to your spinal structure, leading to injuries and can permanently damage your spinal discs and joints.
• Without your spine working properly, your quality of life can greatly deteriorate. You won’t be able to enjoy many of the activities you love.
Let me guide you through the six healthy movements of the spine.
The fold forward – Standing upright with your legs straight, either together or apart. Lean forward and fold the top of your body over the bottom half of your body. You can touch your hands to your knees, to the floor, lean over a bench top, lean over the back of a chair or lean forward and place your hands on a wall.
2. The hip thrust – This is probably the most difficult of the six movements to get right as most people will bend and compress at the lower back instead of stretching at the front of the hips. This is how I explain this movement - “Place your hands on your ribs and as you breath in pick up your ribs, lift them high off your hips, then as you breathe out imagine someone kicks your bum forward to the front. You will feel a stretch at the front of your hips.”
3 & 4. Simple twist – Still standing with your legs straight, bring your arms to your chest with elbows facing outwards and twist your shoulders and back to the left and the right looking over each shoulder as you do so.
5&6. Lateral side twists – Your feet are hip-width apart, in-breathe and bring your right hand above your head, left hand on your left hip, out-breathe and hips to the right torso to the left. You will feel a stretch down the right side of the body. Inhale to come back to centre and swap arms and exhale to lean right to stretch the left side.
You can hold each stretch for as long as you like, but a minimum of a five second count is a good place to start. As you work with these movements you will notice they take less than 30 seconds total. Therefore they are a quick and simple way to keep moving all day. Try it out for a week and let me know how much better your feel.
Have a great December, stay safe, be mindful and happy stretching.
Metta, Kim oxo.
Kim White Yoga
One of the main motivations that drives Kim to teach Yoga is her desire to keep true, real Yoga alive; the propagation of Yoga for Yoga. She strives to achieve this through teaching and helping people fall in love with Yoga everyday. She gives you her yoga mind and yoga heart to guide anyone wishing to traverse the beautiful journey that is Yoga. Teaching group classes, private classes, yoga intensives & retreats across the Island.
Call +66 862 769 174