Flexibility is a way of being, a way of thinking and doing. Each of us has our own unique interpretation of flexibility, made evident within motion.
I consider the spine to be our most articulate and flexible body structure, each vertebrae designed to move individually and in harmony with each other in accordance with its shape and position in a flowing sequential response to the movement of the limbs.
Inconsistent flexibility happens when parts of the spine are locked solid in a block forcing the more flexible members to take on tasks they’re not designed for.
For example, bending forward from the waist or lower back instead of higher up in the thoracic spine accentuates and deepens the inward curve of the lumbar spine, a most common back complaint.
I look at the shape of the spine to determine the function of its parts. The neck and lower back are shaped similarly in a gentle inward curve perfectly designed to extend and the thoracic and sacral spine curve backwards like a bow, perfectly designed to flex.
The universal principle for every action there is an opposing and equal reaction applies also to our spine. To bend forwards, a part of our spine needs to move backwards. The example of a bow keeps coming to mind as I write this. Picture yourself picking up a bow, selecting an arrow and fitting it to the bow, pull the string back and watch the bow bending, deepening its curve, drawing the top and bottom towards each other.
Relate that to your spine, your thoracic spine deepens its backward curve as you bend forwards, your upper and lower body move towards each other.
I use this example because I’ve observed the connection between lower back pain and stiff, rigid shoulder girdle, thoracic spine, ribs and neck. The spine is a family of parts designed to share the load of supporting and moving the weight of our body.
‘When there’s an imbalance in the distribution of labour, organic logic choses the path of least resistance’ Ruthy Alons.
Lacking articulation in the thoracic spine the tasks the lumbar spine is forced to undertake is confirmed every time we lift, bend and walk.
Become aware of the unique way you use your spine. Is the integrity of your spine limited to flesh and bone? Are you able to imagine each vertebrae articulating separately as you bend? When parts of our body are unused the nervous system disconnects nerve and fluid flow. If we don’t use it, we can’t move it. To reconnect energy flow and motion, imagine moving it. Imagine each vertebra sequentially moving as you bend, lift, walk.
The relationship between your mind and body is strengthened through awareness. Flexibility is confirmed and magnified when your mind allows new images, ideas and thoughts to become motion. In this way, compassionate awareness of your body in motion is a pathway to understanding the beauty of your being and the functional simplicity of self.