Full Body Spinal Roll downs

***Here is an exercise I’ve developed you’ll want to add to your daily routine; it’s at the top of my Self-Maintenance Moves and is the most effective way I know to release ridiculous amounts of tension and strain from your entire body, restructuring and reorganizing it as well.

Full Body Spinal Roll Downs

This is one of my favorite movements, one that is extremely effective for dismantling, mobilizing, and articulating the entire spine, ribcage, and shoulder girdle. If not done daily then it should at least be done regularly. This exercise will fully complement the work you'll be doing with the Rollers and even without the Roller work is a wonderful practice to adopt.

Part One
You'll want to spend from 10 to 15 minutes doing this exercise. Over time it will take less and less time for a full release to occur.
Lie on your back with your butt up against a wall and your legs straight up the wall. If you can't straighten your legs in this position then simply scoot your butt away from the wall until you can. All you're doing in this position is trying to relax. An important part is keeping your legs organized, which means the outside of your legs will be parallel with each other. To keep your feet organized you may want to drape a strap (I use a belt from a martial arts uniform) across the balls of your feet and imagine you're stepping onto a flat surface; hold onto the strap with a gentle traction. As your body loosens up you'll be able to move yourself closer and closer to the wall.

You can also, when your butt is against the wall, let your legs drop out into a V shape, again simply relaxing into the position. Another position is bending your knees out to the sides with the soles of your feet together in a frog position. Play with the 3 leg positions: legs straight up, out in a V, and the frog position, until any strain has diminished.

This exercise, using the 2 planes of the wall and the floor, allows for a restructuring of the 2 sides of the pelvis and the sacrum, the 2 femurs in the hip joints, and the 5 lumbar vertebrae. In essence, it resets your hip joints and levels out your pelvis while helping to organize your lumbar spine.

Part Two
It's not necessary to do Part One described above before doing this exercise, although you will want to master Part One in the course of your process of restructuring your body. You can do a few of these Full Spinal Roll Downs at a time, but I recommend taking the time to do at least 10 at a time, which, at a minute or so apiece will take 10 minutes. The more time you take, and the more Roll Downs you do, means dissolving deeper denseness and restrictions. The first night I figured this out, after my bath, I spent about 20 minutes and did maybe 15 Roll Downs. I accessed some of the most awful, painful, dense areas in my spine and ribcage that I wondered if I'd be able to walk when I decided to quit. I got up and felt so amazingly good I could hardly believe it! I leaned over and layed my palms on the floor; I'm flexible but that is not a usual occurence for me. So be forewarned: this exercise will allow you to access some very intense denseness in your musculature and glommed together pieces of your skeleton, and that translates into pain.
Remember though, every bit of that stuff you find and work through is one more layer of aging dissolved. That stuff either remains in your body, growing like a pearl in an oyster layer by layer, or you go looking for it and dissolve it away.

It's quite simple: lie on your back with your butt up against the wall, your knees bent and your feet flat against the wall. If your chin points up in the air and your neck is arched, place a book with a towel on it, or even your small Roller, under the back of your skull; not under your neck but under the back of your head. Use this the back of your neck is elongated and unarched. This releases and lengthens your spine from the top and the Roll Downs lengthens it from the bottom. After your work with the Rollers this exercise is especially effective and noticeable.

Your arms, palms up, can move anywhere from down at your sides, out to your sides, or up above your head; think snow angel. I like to hold onto 5 or 8 pound weights in each hand to anchor my hands to the floor and gives a bit of resistance. The most aggressive arm positioning will be with the arms straight out above your head on the floor.

Pushing into the wall with your feet, lift your pelvis and back off the floor and come all the way up until just your neck, head, and arms are on the floor. Slowly, very slowly, begin rolling your spine down, vertebra by vertebra, until your whole spine is flat on the floor again. Each Roll Down should take at least one minute. You can go part way down, lift back up, and continue down again at any point. Be intuitive and go slow. You will find all kinds of dense, sore, immobile, painful areas as you roll down.

Breathe, it's very important to Breathe, and imagine that you're melting or dissolving that denseness you find.

*Keep your feet parallel (inside arches) and hip width to begin. Little by little you can also work with doing the Roll Downs with your feet and knees together. This is more difficult and may take awhile to accomplish.
*Feel free to move your feet up or down the wall; keep your feet flat against the wall.
*Experiment with varying your arm positionings.
*You'll need to scoot your butt back against the wall after every 2 or 3 Roll Downs.
*Visualize your skeleton clearly as you do these Roll Downs.

With all the work I've done over the years on my own body, I can always find tension and denseness to work with doing these Full Spinal Roll Downs. You'll be amazed, as I am, by all the joints and hinges you never knew you had, as they begin functioning.

Finishing / Spinal Twists: After either Part One or Part Two of this exercise I highly recommend taking some time to do a few Spinal Twists.
Push yourself away from the wall a little bit and let both knees drop off to one side. Your arms are out to your sides. Relax there for a few breaths and then drop both knees together off to the other side. Repeat this back and forth a few times before standing up.

These Full Spinal Roll Downs are a wonderful way to end your workout or your day. Huge amounts of tension and strain are released, restructuring and reorganizing it; and I find it to be quite meditative as well (especially after a nice long hot bath).