Have you ever watched a cat or a dog find itself a sun-warmed piece of ground or pavement and proceed to roll around on its back? Animals roll their backs as naturally as they stretch and relax. Grounded in their deep body sense (the kinesthetic sense) animals move and respond to internal cues. Their ease and naturalness appeals to us and reminds us of something we have forgotten.
At some point in the process of our own expanding physical awareness the spine becomes our principle focus of interest. It dawns on us that the back is stiff and tense. Some areas may be worse than others but the whole spine is affected.
Using a thinly carpeted section of floor, with possibly a blanket added as cushion, the back and spine can be massaged and rolled. The hardness and firmness of the floor is important and should be used to press into stiff, tight areas. The back may crunch and snap as these areas of stiffness are worked out. Spinal curvatures and distortions may be sensed, and these can be rolled and smoothed out over the course of some months.
ROLLING ON THE FLOOR
PRESSING THE KNEES TO THE CHEST AND ROLLING THE LOWER BACK ON THE FLOOR
Pulling the knees up towards the chest limbers and stretches the hips and lower back. The small of the back (lumbar spinal area) is pressed into the floor. Roll up and down and from side to side upon the lower back. This loosens into the hip joint and massages and stimulates the lower back.
Squatting is a perfectly natural position. Children assume the position easily in the course of play and most primitive peoples sit in the squat for long periods of time. Because of our complete reliance on furniture, squatting is difficult and foreign for many of us.The simple squatting position has the feet slightly apart and the heels on the ground. If this is too difficult, place a cushion or rolled towel underneath the heels.Sitting in the squatting position for a few minutes or more gives the legs, the hips and lower back a gentle stretch. The entire lower half of the body is stimulated with increased circulation.
The forward bend uses the body’s own weight to stretch the back of the legs, the hips, and lower back. Bend forward and let the head and arms fall freely or place the elbows on your knees for support (a better position for most of us over 35 or 40 years old) and to minimize too much strain occurring in the low back and legs. Keep the legs straight or slightly bent. Let gravity do the work in this stretch and within a minute or so the muscles involved will give and lengthen. When coming out of this forward bending position, bend the knees and slowly unwind the body up bit by bit, the head straightening up last. Sense the flexibility and flow in the back as it uncurls into an erect position.