Newsletter no. 15 – Monday 13 September, 2021

This is the web-based version of Stretch Therapy Newsletter no. 15

Spinal rotation

Rotations are among the strongest of physical movements – and one of the reasons is that when you rotate in one direction, all the internal organs on the side you are turning to are given a bit of a squish (that's a technical term 🐱), and conversely, on the other side, space is opened up. Movement of the internal organs inside the ribcage and in the abdomen is essential for health. The main restrictions internally are fascial. Once you're in any of the rotation positions try directing your breathing into the most squished areas – and then see what they feel like when you turn to the other side. The stomach is in the left-hand-side of your abdomen, and the liver is in the right-hand-side, so try to feel what these organs feel like when you turn towards them.

In all exercises that permit comparison of left- and right-hand-side, note which side is the tightest, and the next time you practice begin with that side. Then do the looser side, paying close attention to what that feels like, and do the tight side a second time, trying to achieve the same feeling on the tighter side, by relaxing more in the final position. In time, experience shows us that the right and the left sides will become much closer to each other in respect of freedom of movement, and thousands of our students have reported that as this happens, minor aches and pains disappear, and the body feels more graceful moving around.


Chair rotation, excellent for back pain

A simple, yet extremely effective, thoracic and lumbar rotation exercise, needing only a chair. The simple-looking exercise can be as gentle as you need, or as strong as you want, too—it is infinitely scalable.

Simple cues, including a contraction--relaxation technique, can help unlock hidden thoracic rotation potential.

Use a chair that cannot slide: an old-fashioned kitchen chair works very well.

The "lift the chest" cue moves the emphasis out of the lumbar spine (the locus of so many rotation exercises) into the thoracic spine – and breathing is liberated as a result.

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Coffee table rotation

Liv demonstrates a rotation variation that will target new places in your upper body, in particular. Because both an arm and the same side's leg are involved, fascia is strongly targeted. Let us know what you think after trying this.

[The 'standard' lying rotation or 'crucifix' is part of the Spinal movements follow-along class video from a recent newsletter.]

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Combination lunge, spinal extension, and spinal rotation

This video shows a combination movement to stretch multiple lines through the front of the body. Quads, all hip flexors, abdominals, intercostals are all targeted, as is the diaphragm. It's a very active exercise, meaning you are strongly pulling yourself into spinal extension and rotation. Super effective!

An addendum to this video shows a variation where you rest on the elbow of the bottom arm – this is very effective if you seek to emphasise the thoracic rotation aspect of this position.

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A note from a student

Going well with the Starter Course and for the first time in a long time starting to be more in touch with my body and taking note of my restrictions.

Michael V., Australia