What does a flexible spine mean? The back feels loose and moves easily. You can change positions quickly and smoothly. You have a full range of motion so you can reach high and bend low, move to the right and left and on a diagonal plane. You can make sudden moves to catch an errant baseball, or drop to the ground to watch a strange insect traverse the grass, or swing a child around in joyful abandon. Your back doesn’t hurt on a regular basis. You stand tall. You feel alert and confident.
My dad shrank as he aged. Although he was physically active working outside in the garden in the spring and summer, raking leaves in the fall and shoveling snow in the winter, he shrank. Once six feet, he eventually lost 6 inches. The one thing he never did was stretch his spine.
Why did he grow shorter? Because he didn’t stretch, the muscles and vertebra along his spine became compressed and contracted. Year after year he didn’t relieve the contraction and so the spine became accustomed to that shortened position. His back ached and he lost his ability to move and react quickly. He lost some of his height and bemoaned it and felt less powerful and confident. He became tentative, more afraid to try new activities, more rigid in his ways and mindset.
A flexible spine allows the muscles, tendons, and ligaments attached to the spine to breathe. A fully functioning spinal column doesn’t impinge on nerves, or blood vessels or other bodily systems that carry toxins away. A flexible spine allows you to move spontaneously, react to new situations, and maintain equilibrium. You feel more open to change. You feel freer to try something new. You are less rigid in your thinking and more open to possibilities.
It’s all connected – how our bodies feel, what emotions we experience, what thoughts our minds hold.
© 2010 by Sheila Peters. All rights reserved.