A healthy spine holds it self up independently. A healthy spine claims the space that it needs unabashedly. A healthy spine is flexible yet not contorted. Does your spine bend? Of course! Is your spine one of your joints? No. Your spine needs to be flexible in order to remain healthy but your joints must do their part. Although you may have to think in a way that you are not accustomed to; try to become acquainted with you joints. These places are your “bendy” parts and they are often neglected, at the peril of your aching back.
Back Pain Stretches
Case in point: When was the last time that you saw a grown man or woman waiting for a bus, supporting their spine independently? Not by sitting but by squatting. What’s that, never? Of course, no one squats! Would you be caught in public in a pose associated with girls taking an emergency pee in the woods? Even if you don’t care about breaking the societal norm, could you even execute such a pose? Try. Do your two feet form a stable base for your weight or do they splay out awkwardly, twitching violently under the strain. Can you manage the balance? Have you keeled over, lying on the floor in the fetal position? If you stay in the pose for an extended period of time, do your toes turn all pins and needles? Once you’ve achieved the pose and noticed the intense and yet fabulous sensation of release in your lumbar area, do your thighs have it in them to bring you back to standing? Do you even know where your ankles are? Forget it, just flop down on the bench.
Now, watch children, how do they fare? Their feet are parallel AND flat on the floor. Their ankles, knees and hips are bent with the bottom of their pelvis resting comfortably near the backs of heels, folded into a human chair. Newsflash: Humans don’t need chairs, we have one built in. Think about your spine. Where does it start? Where does it end? Alexander Technique, developed by an actor in the 19th century as a method of effective vocal production, teaches proper alignment by encouraging one to allow the spine to hold itself. The idea is to be conscious of the structures inside your body that you will never see but nonetheless have ultimate control over. So, again, where is your spine? Its pretty long and it involves areas of your body that you probably do not think of as your “back”. From the bottom of your skull to the top of your legs, this is one piece! So, your back is really your neck, your back and your butt. Try this, bend over. Wait! What are you going to bend? Your back? OK, so bend it over as one piece. Can you? Put your fingers in front of your hip joints. My what now? After years of under utilization, you may not know where your hip joints are. Now bend over at this joint with your back (remember that’s your neck, your back and your butt) staying as one piece. Wait a minute; is your back even bending? No, because it’s not a joint! Stretch your mind; bend your joints and not your back!