“If your spine is inflexibly stiff at 30, you are old.
If it is completely flexible at 60 you are young.”
The standing or seated roll down movement performed in Pilates is
wonderful for relieving back tension and mobilising your spine. The
action of rolling your spine down from your neck to your hips opening
up space between each vertebrae is designed to promote healthy spinal
movement. So often our spines are stuck in positions of stiffness
because we are not encouraging this healthy roll down movement often
Using our breathing to initiate this movement creates a wave of
movement through our spine that can be helpful in relieving tightness
through the lower back. The simple action of breathing mobilises our
sacrum which is located in our pelvis. Short, shallow breathing is not
effective in creating that wave of movement in our spine as is deeper
inhalation and exhalation.
The standing roll down is a great warm up exercise as it loosens the
spine. Care should be taken before performing this exercise if you
have osteoporosis of the spine, or are pregnant.
Standing with soft knees, feet hip distance apart, begin by exhaling
and engaging the lower abdominals. Lower the chin to your chest
without jamming the chin down. Continue to roll the spine down one
vertebrae at a time from the neck to the lower back. Try not to
collapse through the waist, imagine you are rolling over a large ball
and creating a long C curve through your back. In this position focus
on your breathing, drawing up through your chest for three breaths.
As you begin to return to standing, exhale and engage the abdominal
muscles and start to stack the vertebrae one on top of the other.
While you are performing this roll down be mindful of areas that are
tight or if big chunks of your spine roll down. Feel any areas of
tightness or imbalance, and begin to make improvements to your posture
through mobilising your spine.
“Have you ever heard of a spine transplant? Neither have we. Take care
of the one you have.”