Terre Pruitt's Blog

In the realm of health, wellness, fitness, and the like, or whatever inspires me.

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Posts Tagged ‘lengthening of the spine’

For A Taller You

Posted by terrepruitt on August 27, 2013

There are a lot of things I like about yoga, one thing that I really like is that many of the asanas or poses are executed with a lengthening of the spine. In many poses the idea is to reach with the top of your head, or the crown of your head, in the opposite direction of your tailbone.  Often the cue is to reach with the crown of your head to the sky while reaching with your tailbone into the earth.  I feel as if the reaching and stretching in the opposite directions really help the body be taller.

While standing, sitting, bending the motion or action is to reach. Reach in opposite directions.  Create space in between each vertebra. While consciously stretching the backbone, you are pulling your shoulders back and down. Create a long neck by reaching. Push the shoulders away from the ears.  The ribs lift upwards, and off and away from the hips.

One motion or thought to help straighten and lengthen is to extend your sternum skyward.  This somewhat juts the chest out and the shoulder automatically go back and down.  With this as an image there might be some adjusting that needs to take place, but it can help move you in the right direction.   With the lengthening of the spine comes the separating of the ribs.  Allowing space in between each rib can sometimes help increase lung capacity.  If your lungs have more room to move in they might expand further.  This all lending to bigger, deeper breaths.

In the Gentle Yoga class I am currently teaching I am continually reminding the students to lengthen their spine.  I, myself, have a habit of scrunching.  I think I have mentioned this before.  I both scrunch my shoulders up to my ears and round my back.  I liken my posture to that of a spoon.  So it is very easy for me to fall into that even while I am leading a class because I begin to shift my concentration.  So the reminder is for all of us.  A reminder is nice because then you can check to make certain you are doing all the things involved in lengthening the spine.  Although sometimes I feel a bit repetitive, I think it is worth it.  In addition to myself I usually see at least one participant make an adjustment.

In Nia while we might not always be lengthening and reaching with our spine throughout an entire routine there is often at least a moment.  If not in one of the dances itself in the cool down or the floorplay.  I often include imaging space in between each vertebra as we sit or bend over in a stretch.  The Nia routing might not include yoga poses by the idea of it is included.  Part of the yoga inclusion “is the conscious alignment of bones and joints”*  While lengthening the spine we are lining up the bones and the joints.  Our posture is intact.

I really enjoy the growing taller sensation that yoga can offer through a variety of asanas where we are reaching and lengthening.  To me it makes for a taller me.

Do you sense you are taller after doing yoga?  Do you sense your spine is more straight after yoga?  Do you do a pose that really has you feeling you are taller after?

*The Nia Technique, page 276.  A yoga focus.

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