If you have attended my classes you know that I usually start with the 6 movements of the spine. Here's why...
The lower back performs the following important functions:
Supports and stabilizes the upper body. The 5 lumbar vertebrae are the largest in the spinal column. In conjunction with the muscles and ligaments, these vertebrae help support the weight of the upper body, including the head.
Allows truncal movement. The lower back is the primary facilitator for movements of the trunk in various directions, including front and back, side to side, and twisting movements.
Movements mostly occur in the last two vertebral levels.
Protects the spinal cord. The upper lumbar vertebrae protect the spinal cord in their vertebral arches. The lower vertebrae provide a bony enclosure for the cauda equina nerves that descend from the spinal cord.
Controls leg movement. The lumbar spinal nerves that branch off from the spinal cord and cauda equina to control movements and sensation in the legs.
When viewed from the side, the lumbar spine has a concave lordotic curve that helps distribute weights and reduce the concentration of stresses. An increase or decrease in this lordosis may contribute to lower back pain
Side stretching exercises can be beneficial for the lower lumbar region for several reasons:
Improved Flexibility: Side stretching exercises help improve flexibility and range of motion in the lower back. The muscles and ligaments around the lumbar spine can become tight and inflexible due to prolonged sitting, poor posture, or lack of exercise. Side stretches elongate and stretch these structures, promoting increased flexibility.
Alleviating Muscle Imbalances: Imbalances in muscle strength and flexibility can contribute to lower back pain. Side stretching exercises specifically target the muscles on the sides of the torso, such as the obliques and quadratus lumborum. Strengthening and stretching these muscles helps to balance the musculature (muscle system) around the lower spine, reducing the likelihood of strain and discomfort.
Improved Posture: The lower lumbar region is susceptible to stress and strain, often resulting from poor posture. Side stretching exercises can help correct posture-related issues by lengthening and strengthening the muscles that support the spine. By promoting proper alignment and reducing muscle imbalances, side stretches can alleviate stress on the lower back and improve overall posture.
Enhanced Spinal Mobility: Side stretches involve lateral bending of the spine, which helps improve spinal mobility. By incorporating side-to-side movements, you encourage the vertebrae in the lumbar region to move more freely. This can help relieve stiffness, increase circulation, and promote a healthier spine.
Increased Blood Flow and Nutrient Supply: Lateral stretching exercises can enhance blood flow to the lower back region. Improved circulation ensures that oxygen and nutrients reach the muscles and tissues, promoting their health and aiding in recovery from injuries or strains.
In addition, lateral stretches often involve deep, controlled breathing, which can help improve lung capacity and enhance relaxation. It stretches the intercostal muscles. The intercostal muscles comprise many different groups of muscles that run between the ribs, and help form and move the chest wall.
By focusing on your breath and elongating your body through side stretches, you can promote a sense of calm and reduce stress levels.
It's important to note that everyone's body is different, and certain individuals may have specific conditions or limitations that require modifications or caution when performing side stretches. If you have any concerns or pre-existing health conditions, it's advisable to consult with a qualified healthcare professional before incorporating new exercises into your routine.
If you would like to book and private session, my privates offer several benefits, including individualized attention, the ability to learn at your own pace, and the opportunity to address specific concerns or limitations. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Studio community classes are 11am every Monday and Thursday at Sukhasana Studio Los Barriles, BCS, Mexico.
Looking forward to seeing you on the mat!