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Weekend Challenge: The Whole Body Aligner

weekend-challenge

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.

  1. Lie on your back close to a wall (feet toward the wall).
  2. 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.
  3. The bottom of your feet should be facing the ceiling.
  4. 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.

Variation:

  • Instead of the legs being straight up, spread them outward in a V shape and hold.

Tips:

  • 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.

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26 comments. Leave Yours Now →

  1. Irene (Philippines) July 4, 2014, 5:56 am

    Dear Vivian,
    Thank you for all the information concerning the bones. Your Save our Bones Program
    and the Whole Body Aligner were helpful to me.
    Even my Doctor advised me to stop taking medicines instead do the exercise, walking,
    and eat the right foods. God bless!

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA July 4, 2014, 1:58 pm

      I am so glad that you’ve found the Program and the exercise helpful, Irene!

  2. Isabella Mcaleese June 30, 2014, 8:32 am

    Thank you Vivian for all the advice. Iam 84yrs, I am going to try this exercise, I was told after a bone density scan,that I had osteoperosis .I do have a pain in my hip but more the muscle than the bone. I walk a lot, and exercise,It hurts more when I sit for long,is better when I move.
    Thanks again

  3. Joyce June 29, 2014, 7:20 pm

    Thanks for all your help. Anxious to try this one too.

  4. Nkadi June 29, 2014, 6:59 pm

    Hallo Vivian,
    I must express my profound gratitute to the information you sent to me concerning the bone issues. They are educative, informative and enriching. My friend Nwanneka sent me your e-mail and since then is been loaded useful information. The one i tried and i found so useful is is the “Restorative pose”. Is very useful, relaxing and effective. While i am still on this posture i sleep off. Thank you and i have been spreading the news to my academic colleagues.
    Nkadi

  5. Leslie (Ms. L. Carmel) June 29, 2014, 3:04 pm

    Good Afternoon Vivian,

    This Weekend Challenge, The Whole Body Aligner May Look Easy, But I Sure You Get A Lot Of Benefits From It, Especially Ones To Help Your Bone Health.

    Thank You Very Much For Sharing It With My Family And I.

    Until Next Time – Take Good Care Of Yourself, And Stay Well!

    LOVE, LESLIE (MS. L. CARMEL)

  6. Nura dolal June 29, 2014, 10:55 am

    Dear Vivian
    First thanks for your effort of helping us to help our selves. I was with this community for the last six years and I feel much healthier then i was in the past But I can,t say that my bones are as the doctors saying i am loosing instead of gaining and that dose,t discourage me to be in this program because it dose wonders for me. My overall health is much better then before. Very strong looking younger than I was six years ago. Thanks I took all your advises exercise or food and it is good to have a person who cares at your corner. Cheerios!! My dear friend

  7. L.D. June 29, 2014, 9:17 am

    Hello All, Somehow I knew I wasn’t alone not being able to do this exercise exactly as recommended. I too am using my bed. I’ll find a way if I can to do each new addition to my routine. Together and with Vivians help we shall improve and live better lives through proper food and exercise.. Thanks again Vivian!!!!

  8. jean tarrant June 29, 2014, 5:21 am

    I go to the gym but I absorb all your information so will be doing this exercise. I went from. A recent scan showed I am oestopina having been diagnosed many years ago with osteoporosis. Will not take medication even adcal. Awful stuff.
    Again thank you for all your wonderful advise

  9. Philomena June 29, 2014, 4:45 am

    Dear Vivian, thank you so very much for this beneficial and easy exercise, which relaxes the whole body, mind and spirit.

  10. Yanti June 29, 2014, 2:56 am

    Many thanks for your great tips Vivian. I didn’t realise that I am able to write comments. I have been taking steroids for the past 15 years as I did not have adrenal glands. I had more than 10 operations for last few years, some immobilisation have affected my muscles, joints. But I feel positive that the exercises you gave will be beneficial. Keep up the great work!!

  11. Betty June 28, 2014, 4:55 pm

    Thanks Vivian. Used to do this when my legs were tired from being on them too long. Will use for the purposes stated here. I do an exercise for my back holding each leg up with my hands at 90 degrees to stretch but here the wall supports both legs.

  12. Marlene Villar June 28, 2014, 4:49 pm

    Hello Vivian,
    Thank you very much Vivian . I used to do this exercise
    before,but when I was diagnosed with osteoporosis
    (2004), I stopped this exercise because it was not included in the osteofit excercises program that I used to join. So now, I will start and include this in my daily
    routine. I truly appreciated your info. Thank you.
    Have a wonderful day Vivian and take care always.
    Marlene

  13. Helen Sears June 28, 2014, 4:03 pm

    Wow! Take it from one with a loosey-goosey back. This really does help align! Yet another key offering of strength-based tips for maintaining health while aging.

    There’s no way, Vivian, to express adequate gratitude for all you do.

  14. VIRGINIA NICHOLS June 28, 2014, 2:41 pm

    Thank you for all the valuable info. I do appreciate it

  15. June June 28, 2014, 2:37 pm

    I was glad to see the comment from Inez because I also have just reached the grand age of 87. I do as many of the challenges as I can. I did manage this stretch with my legs up the wall and it was very pleasant but I will try doing this on my bed as I would feel safer that way.
    I love the weekend challenges and look forward to each one now.

  16. Tricia June 28, 2014, 1:00 pm

    Thanks Vivian. I used to do this posture when I did yoga and found it very relaxing… I didn’t realise it has the benefits you describe. I have just ordered your programme and look forward to receiving it. I’ve already changed my diet and started the densercise exercises. It is great you are helping so many people, thanks again.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA June 28, 2014, 1:20 pm

      Hi Tricia,
      Isn’t it nice to discover that something you’re already doing has additional benefits? Best wishes moving forward with the Program!

  17. Claudia June 28, 2014, 12:01 pm

    Hello,

    I have had back surgery that left my right hip and leg in bad shape. I have nerve damage. I am 70 years old. I have stretches I do. I walk as much as I can. I am not sure if I can do this exercise. What do you think Vivian? I have pain everyday. This was done in 1995. I would love to have less pain. I don’t do more because that might make my pain worse. I mean this exercise challenge. I love this program, I have your book. You have helped me so much. Thank you, Claudia

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA June 28, 2014, 1:19 pm

      Claudia, only you know your individual situation and health concerns! No one knows your body like you do. :) I can’t tell you if this exercise is right for you, but I can encourage you to “exercise” your right to choose your own path to health, and to make an informed decision about how to proceed.

  18. Inez June 28, 2014, 12:00 pm

    All exercises to be done on floor I do on my bed as if I get down I cannot get up without help – none available. Bed is against wall so will try this one lying on bed. I’d love to get rid of or reduce Dowager’s Hump. I do leg stretches every morning plus the one you gave for spine and hump holding weights raising arms, bent at waist, also walk in place swinging arms then lastly Tai Chi plus go for a walk to our lake. I turn 87 this August. I was 5’51/2″ when in Civilian Concert Party entertaining troops from 1945-51 and now can’t reach 5′ very discouraging.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA June 28, 2014, 1:16 pm

      Great idea to do this lying in bed near a wall, Inez! I love it when community members come up with their own healthy methods and ideas that fit their individual needs and situations. Please don’t be discouraged by your height loss. You are doing great, and are quite an inspiration!

  19. Christine June 28, 2014, 5:50 am

    Thank you Vivienne for your advice on diet & exercises. Much appreciated.

  20. loy June 28, 2014, 4:25 am

    This one looks not easy. Not sure if I can straighten my legs on the wall.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA June 28, 2014, 10:14 am

      If it’s uncomfortable, Loy, you can bend your knees a bit and the exercise will still be very beneficial. :)

  21. annabelle June 28, 2014, 3:14 am

    Good one Vivienne! Thanks once again.

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