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Spinal Rocking

Warm-up posture useful for massaging and warming up your spine.

Spinal Rocking, also called Rocking Chair, is useful for massaging and warming up your spine. Massaging your spine helps relax your nervous system. You can perform Spinal Rocking to alleviate drowsiness or stiffness you may experience when you wake up in the morning. Spinal Rocking is also useful for warming up your spine for inversions, such as Shoulder-Stand.
Do not practice Spinal Rocking on a hard surface. Instead, spread a blanket the length of your body flat out on the floor. Make sure that when you roll back, your head stays at the same level as your spine and does not roll off the edge of the blanket.
In the modified version of Spinal Rocking, you can hold the pose to stretch your upper back and neck. Make sure you avoid this modification if you have high blood pressure, a neck injury or if you are menstruating.
You should avoid Spinal Rocking if you have a neck, upper back or spinal injury.
Sit on the floor with your knees bent, as close to your chest as possible.
(Your feet should be flat on the floor, hip width or slightly wider apart.)
Hold your legs just below or behind your knees.
Tilt your head toward your chest to lengthen the back of your neck.
Keep your spine rounded as you exhale and roll backward.
Straighten your legs slightly as you roll back.
(Make sure you do not roll too far back on your neck.)
Inhale as you roll back up, bending your knees slightly.
As you roll up, press your shoulders down and back, lift your chest and chin up and look straight ahead.
(Make sure you lift out of the base of your spine to roll up.)
(Visualize yourself gently rocking like a rocking chair.)
Rock back and forth six to ten times.
You can modify Spinal Rocking to stretch your upper back and neck. When your shoulders reach the floor, place your elbows on the floor and place your hands on your lower back. Keep your knees bent and rest your thighs above your abdomen. Hold the pose for 15 seconds to 1 minute.
How can I improve my balance as I perform Spinal Rocking?
To improve your balance, you can interlace your fingers behind your knees. This modification can offer more stability as you rock back and forth.
What should I do if I find Spinal Rocking uncomfortable?
If you would like to massage your spine, but find Spinal Rocking uncomfortable, you may want to perform Little Boat Pose instead.
Can I move from Spinal Rocking into Plow Pose?
Yes. Spinal Rocking is a great way to move into Plow Pose. Perform the modification as described above, except straighten your legs and lower your feet toward the floor behind your head, with your feet flexed.
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