Spinal Movement Sequence (Part 28): Bringing Spinal Movements into your Walking

This video is Part 28 of a YogaSynergy Spinal Movements Sequence taught by physiotherapist and Director of Yoga Synergy, Simon Borg-Olivier, which he teaches in person in courses throughout the world as well as Online in courses at RMIT University and Online in courses at YogaSynergy called Yoga Fundamentals and Applied Anatomy and Physiology of Yoga.

In this part Simon Borg-Olivier explains how most people inhibit the natural movements of their spine during walking by inappropriately tightening their abdomen. If you walk naturally, where the abdomen feels relaxed, and you are comfortably able to breathe into the abdomen using your diaphragm, then the spine automatically remains mobile as it goes through as series combined spinal movements, including twisting to left plus side-bending to left and twisting to right while side-bending to right. This can help both prevent and relieve lower back pain as well as significantly improve your circulation, energy levels and the health of your internal organs. If you want further proof that this is a good idea then please read the results of this research from 2008 (http://phys.org/news139761580.html) that showed that women who moved their hips more during walking had a higher frequency of orgasm. So, if you relax walk more naturally you are likely to digest food better, get more energy, be more flexible, be free from back pain, as well as have better sex ! What more do you want !

Edited Video Transcript with Notes:

“This same effect can be achieved if you walk naturally. A lot of people walk very, very stiffly. If you walk stiffly what tends to happen is that the hips will move but the spine doesn’t. If you see an Olympic athlete running or an Olympic athlete walking, they move their whole spine and by allowing the abdomen to relax while you walk it frees the spine to move. If you walk smoothly and relax the abdomen it will nevertheless be firmed by the fact that you’re pushing right hip forward, left shoulder forward and any movement which takes opposite hip and shoulder forward will cause the abdomen to firm through the mechanisms I’ve described (in previous videos for spinal twisting movements).

Also, as you walk one hip comes up and down and like in all the side bending spinal movements I’ve described moving one hip up and down causes one side of the abdomen to firm and one side to relax. So walking can tremendously improve blood flow if it’s done with what feels like a relaxed abdomen and diaphragmatic breathing. Natural walking will give you firmness in your abdomen so you don’t have to consciously firm the abdomen while you’re walking naturally and allow the hips and shoulders to move freely. But if you actually tighten the abdomen (with the muscles of abdominal exhalation that pull the abdomen inwards) that will restrict the movement of blood, it makes you heart beat faster and it inhibits your digestive system, your reproductive system and your immune system. So by breathing diaphragmatically you’ll enhance your physiology. By breathing diaphragmatically you’ll enhance blood flow because the anatomy is free to move, and the freedom the body has to move in natural walking with a relaxed abdomen actually makes the trunk more stable. Because every time one hip moves forwards, backwards, up or down that will give some sort of firmness to the abdomen which is balanced by the other side doing opposite movement.

Conclusion of the Spinal Movement Sequence Video Series:

“Walk naturally, breathe naturally and this is living everyday hatha yoga, similar to what is being practised in the East with the Chinese Taoist Yoga which manifests later as the Chinese Martial Arts and in the India Hatha Yoga which manifests in the Indian Martial Arts. Learn how to do stressful things in a way which is relaxed. Yoga teaches you ways of being relaxed while doing stressful things. The essence of Yoga is learning how to be relaxed in semi-stressful situations in a controlled environment while learning how to be relaxed. Yoga is the art of doing stressful and boring things while being relaxed and focused at the same time. This is a model for your life. It’s easy to be focused when things are exciting but a lot of life is boring, so if you can stay focused in boring situations it’s very useful. It’s easy to be relaxed and not stressed if all you’re doing is lying down on the ground and relaxing about to go to sleep. But the art of relaxation only comes into usefulness if you can learn to relax while doing stressful things.

You can see a demonstration of the the entire sequence by clicking here

You can see Part 27 of the instructional videos of the sequence by clicking here

If you want to learn more from YogaSynergy and its Directors Simon Borg-Olivier MScBAppSc(Physiotherapy) and Bianca Machliss BScBAppSc(Physiotherapy) you can enrol in one of the comprehensive and award winning Online courses at YogaSynergy called Yoga Fundamentals (a very practical course for anyone with an interest in yoga, exercise or health) and Applied Anatomy and Physiology of Yoga (a more technical course for teachers, therapists and experienced students). You can also do the more advanced version of these courses online at RMIT University as part of a Masters of Wellness Degree or as part of most bachelor degrees from participating Universities throughout the world.

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