Saturday, August 18, 2012

Day 49- Bridge

This exercise is intended to increase the articulation of the spine, which will increase flexibility and ease of movement.
To do this exercise you will need a mat.  Start by lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet planted on the ground.  Then begin moving the low spine with a few pelvic rocks.  Inhale rock the pelvis towards the tailbone, and exhale rock the pelvis towards the belly button.  After you feel like the low spine is finding a little more mobility and you are able to move the pelvis without the legs, then take an inhale to prepare and exhale as you rock your pelvis to your belly button (as before.)  From there continue exhaling as you lift the pelvis into the air peeling each vertebra off the mat individually until you are resting the weight of the body on your head neck and shoulders.  At the top, inhale into your breastbone and then exhale as you begin returning your spine to the floor in reverse.  First your breastbone will soften towards the floor, and then your ribs will narrow as you send the base of your ribcage to the floor.  Next you will send each vertebra of your lumbar spine to the floor, and finally let the sacrum roll towards your tailbone.  Inhale at the bottom and then repeat 3-5 times.

Things to think about:
Everyone has vertebral joints that are more mobile than others.  The goal of this exercise is to distribute the force of movement over all vertebral joints and not just a few. 
To find movement in these less mobile joints some people enjoy imagining that the spine is a string of pearls or the links of a chain that are gradually being lifted one section at a time.
The breath is also really important in this exercise.  Using different breath patterns can help move the less mobile parts of the spine.  For instance, the chest breath will help mobilize the thoracic spine, the rib breath will help mobilize the base of the thoracic spine and the belly breath will help mobilize the lumbar spine.  The pitcher breath can help with the sequential nature of this spine mobilizing exercise.

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