If you only do one exercise to care for your body and your self, please make this exercise the one!
Allow me to share with you a life changing spinal exercise that has changed my life.
It is simple.
It needs no bells and whistles, nor fancy wrist-banded measuring sticks or data counters.
Because it will change how you feel within your body in an immeasurable way.
- Some kind of block or bolster
Yes – only two things and neither have screens!
We’re off to a fabulously healthy start already aren’t we?!
A note about your block/bolster:
The woman who taught me this exercise used a yoga block.
I use a foam roller.
Superman uses pillows.
You could *MacGyver a yoga block-type-thing for your good self out of a:
- stocky book, think Shantaram or Gone with the Wind (if you’re not a cancel culture crank of course!)
- a towel to protect your dear and precious book and
- something to wrap around the towel – think rubber bands, ribbon, tape etc.
Basically just MacGyver a “padded book” that you will be able to slide along the carpet beneath you.
MacGyver is both the 1980s American TV series starring Richard Dean Anderson AND a verb, describing what his character of the same name did with all sorts of random stuff!
The Life Changing Spinal Exercise
*This exercise is for happy, healthy spines. If you know yours isn’t, check with your bodywork professional before giving it a go.
Big Picture/The Forest
You’ll be lying on your back for about 15-20 minutes and moving the block underneath your spine, stopping at, then staying for a minute or three at different points along your spine. Start as high as feels good and end with the block beneath your sacrum (that flat, heart shaped bone at the top of your butt).
Small Picture/The Trees
- Lie on your back.
- Place your block so it sits beneath your spine at the very top of your back, BEFORE it becomes your neck. Find the nicest feeling spot for you.
- For me, it’s usually C7 (Cervical Vertebrae 7) or that part of your spine that sticks out like a bit of a lump where your neck meets your back.
- Now just lie there for one to three minutes.
- All you need ‘do’ now is breathe, surrender and allow your ENTIRE body to relax.
- No need to resort to a screen or watch to measure time here.
Take the opportunity to set yourself free from time for a while.
- You will know when you are ready to move the block to another point lower down your spine because:
- Your body will have stopped resisting.
- You will be breathing more freely than when you began at this spot.
- Once you have peacefully surrendered in this first position, move the block to another point lower down your spine, maybe in line with the top of your shoulder blades? Maybe between them?
- Find where feels nice for you and trust yourself.
- Whenever lifting your body up and off the block to move it, be gentle with yourself, especially be gentle with your neck.
- You may choose to roll off the block? Or reach overhead and move it? Just be gentle with yourself okay?
- As you get lower down your spine, you will find you need to sit up to move the block.
- And when it’s time to pop it underneath your sacrum, sit up, remove the block from beneath you, lay back down, then place the soles of your feet on the floor, lift your hips off the floor and place the block underneath your sacrum. Then lie down with your legs straight out as before.
- Simply repeat steps 3. and 5. all the way down your spine, choosing spots that are about one and a half hand widths apart from each other.
- I stop at about 6 places along my spine
- You are finished the life changing spinal exercise when you have surrendered in the position with the block beneath your sacrum.
- Because we have spent maybe 15-20 minutes opened up and curved backward slightly, gently move yourself into Child’s Pose and hang out in this reverse, forward bending position for a little while to finish. Just balancing things out right?
If you are like me, you will feel some discomfort during the life changing spinal exercise.
Comfortably uncomfortable is okay.
Pain is definitely not.
At certain stopping points along my spine, especially high up near my neck, I often experience mild neural tingling down my arms and into my fingers.
This is mild and temporary and unfortunately, is something that happens for me when I am on the computer too much, in a prolonged poor posture or stressed and in my head too much.
I understand this is one of my body’s messages for me to take better care of myself and have consulted professional care and treatment in the past for it. So I am confident feeling these kinds of feelings during the exercise.
I know that a healing path is one that often triggers and works backwards through the symptoms we are treating and healing.
And for me, the amazing result of the life changing spinal exercise is daily freedom from these neural symptoms and the spinal tension causing them.
If you don’t feel confident with the discomfort you are experiencing, it’s always okay to stop for now.
You can return and give it a go on another day or like me, go find a trustworthy, caring and professional bodyworker to help you with your healing. Then return to the life changing spinal exercise when you’re ready!
For run of the mill discomfort – the kind that forms part of a normal response when moving joints that don’t usually get a lot of movement, especially in this opened position – just breath on through it.
Allowing. Surrendering. Relaxing.
Allowing. Surrendering. Relaxing.
Sounds a lot easier than it actually is.
This exercise challenges us to surrender.
And you will feel the struggle with your mind and your body! Believe me.
And trust me, at each stopping point down your spine, you will reach a moment where your whole body kind of slumps, stops resisting the block, eases, melts down into the floor.
THIS is what we want!
This is letting go.
Enjoy the benefits of the life changing spinal exercise that stay with you as you slowly get up and peacefully, connectedly, get on with your day – only now with a more flexible and happier spine and Nervous System!
And do reach out to me with any questions and tell me about your experiences with this exercise won’t you?
I am always curious.
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