Helical Spine Stretch

Holiday Greetings!

The attached video is a holiday gift to my subscribers—a de-stressor practice.  But it actually has a further purpose.

When we walk, our spines are designed to move in two counter-rotating helical patterns.  This movement is the basis of our contralateral walking gait; it’s why our arms and legs swing oppositely when we walk.

Leaving your arms out of the equation for now: when your right leg drives you forward by pushing back, your pelvis rotates left.  To prevent your whole torso from going off into left field, your ribcage twists just slightly to the right, at which point your neck has to adjust left a tad so you won’t be walking into things.  Don’t think about this too much.  It is—or should be—a seamless coordination.  (It’s broken down in detail in Chapter 9 of The New Rules of Posture.) If you try to make it happen, you will only look and feel awkward.

articulated rolling

What blocks your inner helix?

Most of us carry tensions that stop our spines from being adaptable enough to embody this normal motion.  When we’re well grounded and oriented in our surroundings that helps decompress the spine so it can be more free to move. (There’s more about this everywhere in my writing and teaching.)  In this way you allow the helical motion to begin to emerge.

This video invites you to differentiate the containers of your body—your head, ribcage and pelvis—so that the regions between them—your waist and neck—can be more articulate.


Yield--and also twist

Before watching this video, I recommend that you go back and watch Grounding and Relaxation.  If you haven’t yet explored that video, it will teach you to yield your body weight to the ground—and is also an excellent de-stressor.

Yielding to the ground is our foundational perception as humans.  So any reaching or turning of our bodies needs that to be secure.  It will be tempting to get so involved in managing your helices that you forget to yield.  Keep coming back to your first perception, over and over.

Happy rolling!

©2013 Mary Bond