SPINAL CORD BREATHING
Spinal cord breathing focuses on the movement of the lower back and the spine through the influence of the breath. While inhaling, bend backwards expanding the chest while drawing in a deep breath. Bring your arms into an “I surrender” position. While exhaling, flex forward and compress the air out of your body, rounding your upper back. This exercise helps to emphasize the importance of the connection of the body and breath by creating an easy fluid movement with the breath.
FLEXION AND EXTENSION
This exercise focuses on the movement of the lower back. By placing the hands on the hips, you create a safe base of support to increase the range of movement within the lower back. This movement is accompanied with structured breathing that correlates between the flexion and extension of the lower back. This link is important to help remove stress and to guide the patient through the exercise. It is important to remember that this exercise is demonstrated with full range of motion and you should perform this exercise within the range of motion that is comfortable for you.
The iron bridge is a progression from the flexion/extension exercise and is focused on strengthening the lower back. To alleviate the pressure from the back bend the patient bends forward comfortably to decrease tension in the spine on completion of the back bend. Descriptor words like hanging on a clothesline are used to create fluid movement in the forward bend. If unsupported back bending is too challenging, repeat the supported exercise in the first round.
HIP IN, OUT, UP AND ACROSS
This exercise is focused on opening the inner and outer portions of the hips. While balancing on one leg, the patient swings the opposite leg across the body with the foot turned inward and then up and outwards with the foot turned outwards as well, before returning the foot back to the ground. This is an excellent exercise for developing strength and stability because it requires balance on one leg while performing the movement.
This exercise is important for increasing circulation through the knee joints as well as increasing range of motion. Standing with their feet under their hips and with the hands on their knees the patient moves the knees in slow, small circles and is encourage to imagine stirring a pot of soup to promote warm, fluid imagery while performing this exercise.
The baby is an exercise designed to use random movement to promote circulation throughout all the major joints of the body. Lying on your back with hands and legs in the air, shake your arms and legs in random movement patterns helps to increase blood flow to your joints to help reduce tension. Random movement is usually left to children, but is good for exercising our body maps as well.
This stretching exercise is located at the end of the lower qi gong exercises to promote range of motion and relaxation of the trunk after standing. Sitting cross-legged on the ground, place one hand on the ground for support and leans towards the leaning arm, stretching the opposite arm and side of the body. The position is then switched in order to promote equal motion to both sides of the body.