From working with thousands of clients over a decade we know that the vast majority of adults in our population suffer with some type of stiffness or lack of flexibility.
Decreased flexibility is a major problem in our society. So many of us are sedentary and sit for over 90% of our day.
Think about it…sitting to eat breakfast, driving the car to work, sitting at the computer, sitting to eat lunch, driving home, eating dinner and on the couch for some TV or down time! If you stand or move around during the day, you have a lower risk of early death than if you sit at a desk.
If you live a sedentary lifestyle, you have a higher chance of being overweight, developing type 2 diabetes or heart disease, and experiencing depression and anxiety. It’s such a problem that sitting has been coined the new ‘smoking’!
This is in addition of all of the musculoskeletal problems, such as dysfunction and degeneration of joints, decreased circulation, increased muscle fatigue and loss of strength. Yes you heard that right! Increasing your flexibility will increase your strength! Flexibility and strength training should go hand in hand.
Why stretching doesn’t always work…
This all being said, have you ever noticed that even though you may stretch a muscle every day it still seems to be tight? Well the source of tightness in that muscle may not be related to it at all! At Open Space we know that the spine is the source of a lot of dysfunction throughout the body and simply by improving the flexibility of your spine, you will notice massive changes throughout your body. So without further ado, we will share with you one of our top prescribed exercises we give here at Open Space Healing to help our clients unlock their flexibility.
For maximum impact, do these exercises with a powerful breath and close your eyes. Tune into where your body is tight and move with awareness. Do not move your body in any way that is painful, only work to your comfort level. You will feel warmth in your body as it starts to loosen up. We love doing these exercises in the morning. All of the exercises are best done for a couple of minutes, however you can lengthen or shorten them as you wish.
1. Circles (Sufi grinds) – both directions.
Sit cross legged on the floor or in a chair, rotate your body in a clockwise direction. Think of a pen attached to your tailbone and draw circle with it. The movement comes from the base of the spine. Inhale as you come forward and exhale as you lead back. Keep your chin in line with the horizon, facing forward with neck elongated.
2. Spinal flex for the low back (camel ride) (rock pose)
Sit on your knees with your feet below your bottom (use a pillow if needed). Place your palms on your knees. Inhale as you open your chest forward and exhale as you round it back. Again keep facing forward with your chin level.
3. Spinal Twist (washing machine)
Our favourite! Sit straight and place your fingers in front of your shoulders and thumbs behind. Keep your arms parallel with the floor. Inhale as you rotate your body (including the head) to the left and exhale as you turn right.
4. Spinal flex for the upper back (camel ride).
Sit cross legged and place your hands on your knees. Inhale as you bring your chest forward and exhale as you round back.
5. Shoulder shrugs.
Sit cross legged and place your hands on your knees. Inhale as you shrug your shoulder up to your ears and exhale as you drop them down.
6. Neck rolls – both directions.
Gently rotate you neck in one direction. Inhale as you stretch the head back and exhale as you tilt it towards the chest. Stop and breathe into any areas that are tight.
You are only as old as your spine. Keep your spine flexible and you will remain young your entire lifetime!
Let us know how you go and shoot us a comment if you have any questions. Here is to a flexible spine and long healthy life!
Yours in great health,
Dr Andy & Dr Jacinta x