Spinal Movements Sequence (Part 4): Spinal Tractioning

Simon Borg-Olivier. Ardho Mukha Vrksasana in a Clovelly Cliff Storm, by Stuart Fell

Simon Borg-Olivier. Ardho Mukha Vrksasana in a Clovelly Cliff Storm, by Stuart Fell

This video is Part 4 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.

Video Transcript:
“Raising up the heels in this way automatically causes a co-activation of the muscles around the ankle and knee joint and helps activate the muscles around the abdomen to give me firmness. Breathing into the abdomen gives me calmness and helps activate and stimulate the internal organs. As I bend my knees the further I go down the more I have to squeeze the thighs inwards. This activation of the inner thigh muscles helps strengthen my knees and the lower back at the same time. As I bring the arms up I let the sitting bones drop down like a weight on a string. The string being the spine and the arms coming upwards allows me to traction my spine yet this is only possible because I am relaxing my abdomen. Yet the abdomen is firm through the posture. Again an in-breath from the abdomen in diaphragmatic breath helps me achieve that. Now squatting on the heels is reasonably safe because I have just come off the ball of my feet. So, although I am on my heels the weight is on the front of my feet which protects the knees, hips and spine. Shoulders forward and up and throat forward chin up lengthens the spine.”


You should experience no discomfort doing this practice. Do not over-stretch, over-tense or over-breathe. Move slowly and calmly. Only work towards feeling good. Your temperature should increase without your heart-rate increasing much, which indicates an increased blood flow, increased circulation without stress.

If you have weak knees do not squat more than half way. You do not have to raise the heels, arms or head if it does not feel good and if you do raise any of these it should only be as far as you can without strain

Your main aim is to lengthen your spine and relax the muscles of trunk that cause compress as well as inhibit blood flow and the natural function of your diaphragm. By breathing into your abdomen you can usually relieve back pain as well as support and nourish your internal organs such as those to do with digestion, reproduction and healing (the immune system).

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

You can see Part 3 of the instructional videos of the sequence by clicking here

This video was one of a series filmed by David Samulenok of RMIT University for the course entitled Applied Eastern Anatomy.This is a low resolution version of video, higher resolution versions are available in the online courses.


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