This is the first in a series of articles on alignment and safe body mechanics by Ashland physical therapist, Rachael R. Resch.
Imagine your spine is a flower. A tall, beautiful flower.
Because the most effective way to activate the deep postural muscles of the spine is through visualization.
These muscles, the multifidii and rotatores, which run from your tailbone to the base of your skull, function, for the most part, unconsciously. Visualization activates the natural mind-body connection inherent in your nervous system.
The alignment practice, Imagine Your Spine is a Flower, makes it easy to sustain good alignment. That keeps your back healthy, and is especially important if you have, or have had, low back pain, osteoporosis, or sacroiliac or disc problems.
In addition to physically strengthening the muscles of the spine, this practice also promotes the health of your energy body. It strengthens your hara, the energy center in the belly, and assists the vertical motion of energy moving through the spine between heaven and earth.
The Practice: Imagine Your Spine is a Flower
When you sit, place your feet on the floor as wide as you can while still feeling relaxed in your whole body. Wiggle around on your sits bones until you feel them balanced beneath you, holding up the bowl of your pelvis like two little old-fashioned bathtub feet.
Feel the connection between your feet touching the floor, and your sits bones touching the chair. Your sits bones are the heels of your pelvis. Wide feet support your pelvis and give it the freedom it needs to find its own dynamic alignment. When the pelvis is in alignment, it’s easier for the whole spine to be aligned.
Now — imagine your pelvis is a flower pot, your head is a flower and your spine is the flower stalk. Your spine and head are growing up out of the flower pot, reaching upward to the sun, like plants love to do.
When you sit, the flower pot of your pelvis provides a stable base out of which your spine can grow. When you walk, your flower pot grows a tail that wags. (What kind of tail is it? Tiger tail? Hummingbird? Dinosaur?)
And whether you’re sitting or walking or dancing or washing dishes, your feet are your roots connecting you to the ground. Your feet draw in nourishment, bringing the Earth’s energy up from below to circulate through your whole system.
Now look out into life from the beautiful, open flower of your face. From your ancestral root, blossom up to the sun and shine your shimmering uniqueness out into the world for all to see.
Rachael R. Resch is a physical therapist in private practice, owner of Synergy Physical Therapy in Ashland, and an instructor in The Nia Technique. She can be reached at 541/482-8333.