If you're a student, you've done it in class. If you're a client, you've done it in a session. Its the most asked for E-cise, and most cherished. But what is it doing that makes you feel so good afterward and want to do it every day?
Whats Going on Here
This is one of the simplest ways to let gravity do the work of aligning the body. Muscles move bones. They can move the bones unilaterally meaning on one side asymmetrically, and they can move bones bilaterally meaning on both sides symmetrically. Can you guess what demand this move is putting on our anatomy?
Legs and Knees: With a chair or block, your legs are forced into right angles, relaxing some tissue and muscles and engaging others.
Pelvis: With a flat stable surface like the floor, your pelvis is also forced into a right angle. Again the work in the muscles changes, and any rotational compensation is released as you lay in the position.
Back: Now the muscles on the back must achieve a more symmetrical position for the bones that they move, because of the demand on the legs and pelvis and vice versa.
Shoulders: With the arms at a 45° from the hips, the shoulder blades are in a more neutral position to also re-educate any adjoining muscles symmetrically.
Head: When the shoulders take their position against the floor, the head position can follow suit working bilaterally as simply as we can. (Question Answered)
Tips For The Best Static Back Ever
Arms: You want them at about 45° from the hips. Some of you can't get there (yet) so if you're feeling limited in one arm, put it where it feels best, and make the same angle on the other side. Remember that word you just learned? Bilateral. We want to achieve symmetry.
Legs: Really try for 90° here in the knees and hips. Any less, and it recruits the muscles differently. Add a matt to a chair if its too short. It is really important to get the backs of your knees on the object of choice to allow the tissue and muscles to relax. It feels passive, but as you've learned, there is a good amount of demand.
Head: If your head can't hit the floor (yet), use a pillow. The muscles and tissue will align you relatively quickly. So keep checking to see how the head repositions and discard the pillow when necessary. Give it some time, and breathe.
Breath: Most of us breathe with our shoulders. Some with our belly (that is not diaphragmatic but better than shoulder breathing). Being out of alignment can impinge the nerve that works the diaphragm, or just leave that muscle out of the equation as we compensate. We should be breathing with our diaphragm, but you're probably not right now. It forgot how. So when in this position, you can belly breathe.
OR a good cue is to breathe into the space on your back beneath your ribs. Let your breath expand the tissue there, as if I had my fingers under your ribs on your back and you had to breathe to push them out. Feel that? Almost like your organs are being massaged downward to your pelvic floor. Thats how EVERY BREATH is optimally designed to be drawn every day. Think of the impact that has on organ function, blood flow, digestion etc.
Where: Anywhere anytime! Some of you are not on the floor yet, so in bed is fine but you want to graduate ASAP to a flat hard surface. The bed allows for too much compensation. If you're not ok with the floor, you better have a DAMN GOOD REASON not to get there and I only know of two so far. The floor should not be a scary place, we began there, and we are in a life long relationship with it. Get used to it, and get on the floor. Bring whatever props you need. If you need help getting up for now, make sure someone can and will help you. Eventually you'll build the stamina to get up and down with ease, no props no help but from your muscles.
Feeling Stiff: Don't be alarmed. Newly engaged muscles that have responded through this move, often become stiff due to effort. They're tired. The more you move, getting up and down off the floor, the better it will get. Static Back. Your body will thank you for it.