A part of our body we often take for granted as it seems it is just another part of us, doing its job, all day long, however the spine is a major part of our structure. It has many vital purposes; to protect the spinal cord, nerves and several of our internal organs, it is our main structural support and helps us to find our balance and maintain an upright posture and enables flexible motion.
The spine acts as a shock absorber for our body, the weight of the head bounces on top of the spinal column compressing the vertebra as we walk. It is very important that we continue to elongate the spine to create space for the bones and cartilage between them to remain supple and also to keep fluid flowing around the joints.
I often explain to people that the spine is like a bike chain and moves with the articulation of each of the vertebra. As we age sometimes the spine gets sticky or stiff and does not move as easily as it could. In mind body movement practices (such as Pilates and Yoga) we use awareness and visualization to assist in creating movement for the spine. Imagining the spine as if it were a bike chain can help to free it up. For clients who have spinal conditions like degenerative disc disease, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis and ankylo spondylothesis, we focus more on the visualization and maintaining a neutral spine.
Awareness and Movement Tip
Notice in your daily activities what movements you currently do, notice which movements are easiest and which don’t seem to want to budge. Notice that you likely actually do have a fair amount of ability, try to focus on what IS available to you as opposed to “I can’t do that because...”
When we open our eyes to all the micro movement available to us, suddenly you realize that you CAN move and that the range of movements you do can be increased. I recommend increasing range of motion in a careful and progressive way, in order to keep you safe. If we are pro-active and avoid over reaching, over-doing and over pushing ourselves we help avoid injury. If you injure yourself then you are back to limited range, limited movements. I strongly recommend taking movement in increments and gradually building to greater range, harder, heavier and more intense forms of exercise.
“All movement is valuable, from the tiniest micro movement to the most grandiose gesture”
You can discover more about safe and healthy movements for your spine at one of my Spinal Health workshops.
This weekend coming up at Get Yoga in Trenton,ON, I will be hosting a 2.5 hour workshop called “Awakening the Spine”, this workshop is all about functional range of motion for the spine, what movements are safe, directions of the spine, which should we avoid and so much more! There are a few more spaces available, please do join us! 1- 3:30pm, $50. Taxes in.