This is an excerpt from Yoga Therapy by Kristen J. Butera & Staffan Elgelid.
This series focuses on spinal articulation from a reclined, kneeling, and belly-down position. Perform the movements slowly while visualizing each vertebra as a pearl on a string, each pearl moving when it is ready. As you explore this series, see whether you can focus on creating a fluid quality of movement in the spine as you come into and out of the shapes.
Bridge: Start in a reclined position with the knees bent, feet on the mat, arms by the sides of the body, and palms down and pressing lightly into the floor. Bring the feet hip-width apart under the knees.
Inhale to roll the front of the pelvis toward the head and pick it up off of the ground. Continue the movement into the midspine, allowing each vertebra to lift off the ground, one after the other. Stop the articulation when the elevated pelvis is in line with the thighbones.
Exhale to reverse the movement, starting with the midspine back down to the ground. As you land, let the front of the pelvis roll toward the feet and create a small space between the low back and the floor. Repeat 5 to 10 times.
Cat - cow: Position yourself on all fours with hands under the shoulders and knees under the hips. Keep space between the knees.
Exhale to roll the pelvis under the body, continuing the movement into the midspine and neck, slowly articulating into roundness. Press the hands into the floor to help spread the shoulder blades apart at the top of the movement (a).
Inhale to reverse the articulation, slowly articulating the pelvis, midspine and head in the opposite direction into a backbend (b). Repeat 5 to 10 times.
Cobra articulation: Start in a belly-down position with the legs straight behind the body. Bend the elbows and bring them in line with the torso, lightly pressing the palms into the mat with the fingertips in line with the shoulders.
Inhale to lift the breastbone, slowly peeling the front of the body off of the ground, keeping the neck in line with the rest of the spine.
Exhale to slowly articulate the front of the body back down to the mat. Repeat 5 to 10 times.
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