This week we focus on the Green Light Reflex which involves the muscles of the back of the body.....from the soles of your feet to the back of your legs, to the muscles that move and support your spine, including the back of the neck and shoulders. These are the muscles that contract when we are busy, striving and pushing ourselves to get things done. It's a normal reflex but becomes a problem when our muscles are on so much they forget there is an off switch.
Muscle is a lot like Goldilocks really, it needs conditions to be just right. Constantly tight muscle is weak and so is muscle that is too loose. It needs to be just the right length to be strong. It's a fascinating and complex arrangement of fibres that are largely responsible for the circulation of blood through your body (and energy and lymph) but I will save the detail on that for another day (or you can look up sarcomeres on Katy Bowman's blog).
We tighten the muscles of the back body every time we sit in a chair. Hence our chair focus today and the series chair talk....and don't we all look forward to that!?
While we are speaking of chairs:
Recently a dear friend, who has been coming to classes with me for a few years, had a big breakthrough in her pelvic health. She had already achieved so much (she is devoted to her movement health, practicing optimal walking and stretching every day) but this was the icing on the cake. Guess what the clincher was? She rarely sits on a chair now - she chooses the floor instead. She is a gifted textile artist and this necessitates a lot of time working with her fabrics in some sort of seated position, so she has set up a nice little coffee table and some pillows on the floor. She noticed pretty quickly that she would no longer ache when she had been working for a while. She has also (in a relatively short space of time) created a beautiful forward tilt of the pelvis when seated on the floor. Which means that her pelvic floor is moving towards it's optimal length and that there is much less pressure on the lumbar spine when she sits down.
I'm not saying you need to give up chairs, but maybe you could start cutting down! It's a lot more cost effective prescription than many I've heard of.
Here is the Cactus Arms version of the Backlift. It comes after your Arch and Release and Arch and Curl.
And for those of you keen to keep up with the value added strengthening home practice - keep practicing your knee squeeze and monster walk, because next week we have the option of moving to the next level of them both.