Weekend Challenge: The Whole Body Aligner
Today’s Weekend Challenge is different from the previous ones. It’s a stretch that aligns your spine, ribs, and lower back. I call it the Whole Body Aligner because of the restorative effect it has on the skeleton and your nervous system.
It provides a gentle stretch for your hamstrings and inner thighs, while relaxing your upper body to promote deep breathing, aligning the spine and releasing tension in the muscles. Plus the Whole Body Aligner is an excellent way to get rid of stress.
Relaxed muscles and aligned joints are vital for your muscles to apply the proper bone-building action that is required for increasing bone density.
Why: The Whole Body Aligner is a yoga pose that’s known as “Legs Up the Wall.” It stretches the backs of your legs and inner thighs, aligning your knees and hips. This is a key element in balance, enabling you to stand straight and improving your gait.
Also, if you have circulatory issues in your legs such as varicose veins, this stretch can help improve blood flow back to your heart.
Another important aspect of the Whole Body Aligner is that it eases anxiety and promotes a sense of relaxation. Feeling relaxed is actually quite important for your bones – I devote an entire chapter of the Save Our Bones Program to this issue, because constant stress can be detrimental to your bone health.
When you’re chronically stressed and tense, you produce high levels of cortisol. Like all steroids, cortisol can decrease bone density by producing a highly acidic environment in your body. Getting cortisol levels down is essential for your bones to thrive.
In addition to stretching and aligning the legs, the Whole Body Aligner positions your upper body correctly, allowing the muscles and connective tissue in the pelvis, back, and ribs to release. This alleviates misalignment caused by muscle tension. This is also excellent for your thoracic vertebrae, the area of your spine associated with kyphosis (Dowager’s Hump).
How: Because the Whole Body Aligner uses the psoas muscles, it’s important to stretch them before you begin. You can use the Lunge Stretch to do this if you like.
You don’t need any equipment at all except for a yoga mat or carpet.
- Lie on your back close to a wall (feet toward the wall).
- Walk your feet up the wall and scoot forward so your bottom is up against the wall and your legs straight up. You’ll make an L shape.
- The bottom of your feet should be facing the ceiling.
- Hold this pose for as little as 2 minutes or as long as 20 minutes – whatever is most comfortable for you. Ten minutes is a good “middle of the road” goal.
- Instead of the legs being straight up, spread them outward in a V shape and hold.
- If you need support for your neck and head, roll up a towel or use a foam wedge.
- You can support your lower back with a rolled towel as well.
- Remember to breathe so you’ll feel even more relaxed.
This is called a “restorative” pose because it does indeed restore posture and alignment to the skeleton.
Exercise, stretching, and movement are essential elements in building your bones and reversing osteoporosis. Please share your experience with the community by leaving a comment below!
As always, I love to hear from you.