If there are 10 things right in our lives, and one thing wrong, that one wrong thing will irk us–whether consciously or unconsciously–despite our gratitude for the 10 right things.
Stagnant qi pockets (SQP) are like that one wrong thing which puts a damper on our good vibes; to remedy these imbalances, therefore, is kind of like taking an already jamming party and leveling it up by sliding a frosty one into Grumpy Gertrude’s hand and sandwiching her between two hotties on the conga line.
One manifestation of SQPs is tension and inflammation in the muscles and related connective tissues. Of interest to the present conversation are situations affecting the muscles of the upper, middle, and lower back; what you may experience as nagging tightness, soreness, or low grade pain. Our modern lifestyle, for better or worse, can favor the development of these problems, especially: 1) with the ubiquity of eyes staring into smartphone screens while head and shoulders are forward-slumped, 2) in both the professional and production classes required to work at a desk for up to several hours per shift, 3) a lack of education in proper self-care practices, 4) some combo of the aforementioned.
Today’s post features two simple yet meaningful exercises easily integrated into your present self-care routine which allow for greater expression of the thoracic and lumbar segments of the spinal column. Greater expression of the spinal column (and the body in general) helps to resolve these stagnant qi pockets. Resolving stagnant qi pockets puts the mind at greater ease. Mind at greater ease has as its natural and logical result…what? Lil mood boost, from good to gooder. Bam.
Supplementary video follows below.
1) Upper Thoracic Mobilizer: Hands Orbiting Head
Method: stand or sit with spine upright yet relaxed. Interlace the fingers of each hand and raise the hands to the level of the eyebrows while maintaining shoulder relaxed. Think that the head is like the sun, and the hands joined with interlaced fingers are like the earth orbiting the sun. Perform a clockwise revolution of the hands about the head for the decided-upon number of repetitions, then switch and execute the same move for the same amount of reps counter-clockwise.
Feeling: at all times during the exercise, let the shoulders and upper extremities move fluidly and without any clenching or tensing (for those of you who wear your shoulders as earrings, this will be a nice challenge for you). Let there be a clear intent to describe a circle with your hands
Suggested Dose: 4-8 times per direction, 1-2x/day
Caution: as with any of the exercises in our collection, watch for the appearance of pain. There is the type of pain–a stretching or pulling type quality like you’re activating stiff, underused muscles–which benefits from gently pushing through it; then there is the type of pain which does not benefit from gently pushing through it. Let your intuition be your guide.
Variation: you can level-up the richness of body expression by adding an oppositional bowing of the interscapular vertebral segments; that is, wherever the hands are in space/time, the thoracic spine curves outward in the opposite direction. For example, when the hands are in the northeast, the spinal column between the shoulder blades curves out to the southwest. This creates an axial gyration-type effect
2) Lower Thoracic-Lumbar Mobilizer: Dynamic Pelvis Waist Rotatives
Method: Start standing with spine upright yet relaxed, feet planted evenly on the ground and a slight bend in the knee joint. Move the pelvis clockwise for a decided-upon number of repetitions; then change directions and perform the same amount of times. The palms of the hands can rest comfortably on the thighs.
Feeling: Let the body maintained a curved character throughout the movement–like a bow made of sturdy yet pliable wood. You want to clearly feel a stretch all around the waist at each phase of your movement. Have the clear mental intent to describe a circle in space and time with your pelvis. Avoid locking up the muscles of the lower back. Maintain feet planted on ground during practice
Suggested Dose: 4-8 times per direction, 1-2x/day
Caution: see above
Variation: create an additional challenge by doing the exercise with hands raised overhead and palms comfortably rotated toward the sky. Remember to keep shoulders relaxed!
Team these up with exercises for eyes and neck and you have a more complete foundation-level routine to intentionally activate all myofascial segments of the spinal column; why not throw some upper extremity and lower extremity movers into the mix to help your qi flow globally!
Best to you in your quest for health, wholeness, and fulfillment, J*
Even when our proactive wellness game is tip-top, we need help from time to time from qualified health professionals. Justin Jaucian, MS, L.Ac is a NJ Board Certified Licensed Acupuncturist and Herbalist whose practice specializes in the health of the muscles and joints. Follow the links for office location and testimonials.
Copyright (c) 2018, Justin Jaucian
Copyright (c) 2018 Epicenter Wellness, LLC