This video is great after a long and stressful (working) day. Most of the time when life starts to take over, and things feel overwhelming, we tend to lift our shoulders toward our ears, and round the upper back in an attempt to shield ourselves from the tension/stress.
This exercise calms our mind down, and places our spine in an extended position before entering a slow head rotation. In the slow motion of the head rotation, we move through all of our neck and trapezius muscles, and detect the areas that feel sore and stiff. The weight of the head will gently lengthen these muscles.
This video is showing us how to build up a seated position, in which the spine is extended and active. As the lumbar spine is moving into it’s natural lumbar curve, we stabilize the lower back. From that base, we bring the back of the head as much as possible in alignment with our upper back, to extend the upper back and reconnect the whole spine. In this posture you will feel the upward energy through the spine into the crown, and a downward relaxation from the shoulders into the lower back and sitting bones.
Our breath plays an important role in opening up the front side of the body. The connection between the 2 gravity points (lower abdomen and lower part of the sacrum) plays an important role here, as we want to be able to breath from the lower abdomen into our sternum, and then down into our abdomen again. If both gravity points feel open, they will support the extension of our spine. We will be able to ground into yourself (aka the belly), and experience calmness and relaxation. At the same time will be able to experience a lightness and spaciousness in the body through the opening of the sternum. The front and back side keep each other in balance, and truly work together.
Savasana is typically done at the end of your practice. Savasana, or corps pose, is a relaxation exercise to allow the body to enter complete stillness, so it can process all the exercises you’ve done. It is also a perfect exercise to learn how to detach yourself from any outcome of your practice, and surrender to the calmness of the body as well as the mind. It literally allows the body to process the exercises they way it needs to (and that might sometimes be different than you know or expect).
The backbender for the lower back will deeply extend the whole lumbar spine, all the way into the sacrum. Specific leg movements will focus on mobilizing the SI-joints, and the strengthening of the inner core. Unless you are an experienced CA practitioner, please always warm up the lumbar spine with the lower back mobilizing exercises, as the ‘thin roll’ or ‘thick roll’, or the ‘upper back roll’.
As the lower back will be extended in a backbend position, it will create more space for the intervertebral discs in the lumbar spine, and balance out the pressure these discs have to endure from preferred postures, slouching or overarching.
A lunge is a movement that requires the right coordination of the whole body, to reach the desired effect. In the right coordination (as explained in the video), it will move the lower back into a deeper extension, while simultaneously lengthening the hip flexor on one side and relaxing the groin on the other side. To keep the lower ribs connected, it also requires the activation of the abdominal muscles.
I recommend these lunges if you need a ‘quick fix’ for your lower back after long sedentary hours. Having a good notion of the correct alignment, will help to eliminate compensational movements, such as the flaring of the lower ribs, or the shift of the upper body into a diagonal position.