Semi supine

Semi supine for your spine

Reduce muscular tension by simply resting in this position

Semi supine is a starting position for a lot of movements that we do in class. It is also used as a resting position for people with lower back problems.

HOW TO PRACTICE: Lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor and your knees pointing up to the ceiling. The knees and feet are approximately shoulder width apart.

Knees pointing up

Ideally you would place a book or a small pillow (not the one you use in bed – use a really small one) under the head. This is to align the neck vertebrae, so that the neck lies flatter against the floor.

 20 minutes is the ideal time to lie in semi supine to get the full therapeutic benefits, however just 5 or 10 minutes is still effective. Anywhere between once a day and three times a week is good.

Semi supine

Benefits:

  • The main effect of Semi supine position is to realign and lengthen the spine and so reduce unnecessary muscular tension. By releasing and freeing up the neck your head can move forward and upward, relative to the neck, and the spine can lengthen and the back widen.
  • You might experience increased energy levels due to a decrease in muscular effort and excess tension.

What can you do while you rest in Semi supine?

You can simply lie there and see what happens. You’ll probably discover that your mind takes over and you find yourself planning what you want to do next or thinking about what happened today. Or you might even drift off to sleep.

To gain more benefits from your yoga practice, you can, instead, bring your attention to listening and listen to every sound around you. Are there cars passing on the street? Are there any birds singing outside? Can you hear neighbours? Is there a sound of a clock ticking nearby? Are there any other sounds you can hear?

You could also scan your body, checking to see if there are any sensations, any feelings of tightness or ease in your body.

When coming out of semi supine, do so slowly and with awareness. Perhaps, roll to one side first before coming up to sitting.

Semi supine is a position of the Alexander Technique.

Yoga and Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson's disease

 

The sad news of beloved comic Robin William’s death was followed by reports he was fighting Parkinson’s disease.  His widow, Susan Schneider, revealed the star struggled with depression and anxiety during the early stages of the disease.

Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative brain disorder that is caused by nerve cell degeneration in a region of the brain that controls voluntary movement. The symptoms include tremors, a shuffling walk, muscle stiffness, stooped posture, and a mask-like, expressionless face. Other non-motor symptoms include depression, dementia and cognitive impairment.

In memory of Robin Williams, here are ways yoga practice can help people with Parkinson’s disease (click on the link to read more).

Source for this article: Yoga Hope for Parkinson’s Patients, HuffPost Healthy Living.

 

Lower back drawing knees

Lower back quick fix

Did you know that there are some yoga moves you can do it bed? In fact, we recommend our students to do these movements first thing in the morning when they wake up (and before they even get out of bed), as well as last thing in the evening (when they are already in bed). This helps to realign the lumbar vertebrae and release any tension in the lower back

Basic lower back release

  •  Rest on your back. Draw the knees above the chest and hold onto your knees with your hands. Start to rock gently from side to side. Experiment by rocking with your knees together and then with your knees apart.

Lower back release

  • You could even roll all the way to your side, opening your knees wide apart in the centre, so that you stretch into your inner thigh muscles, and then bringing the knees together at the side. When you are on the side, tuck your chin in, lift your head off the floor and look over your shoulder towards the mat to stretch into the side of the neck. Make sure that you are breathing – you could inhale as you move through the centre and breathe out as you roll to the sides.

Lower back release 2

  • Pause in the centre. Still holding onto your knees, as you breathe out, draw the knees towards your chest, as you breathe in, let the knees move away from you. Repeat a few times….

Lower back drawing knees

Benefits:

  • Stretches the large back muscle, called quadratus lumborum
  • Releases the lumbar.
  • Flattens excessive curve in the lower back.

 

Knees side to side from semi supine

Yoga for the hips

A lot of our students report that they feel more freedom and stability in their lower back and hips since they started doing yoga. The movement described below is one of Yogahealth basic releases that we include in every class. We also recommend to practice this on a daily basis (or twice a day, if you like), especially you suffer from tight hips and lower back

Knees side to side – hips and lower back release

 

Semi supine

  • One a time, draw your knees up into semi-supine – feet flat on the floor, wide apart. Begin to slowly take both knees together to one side, come back through the centre and over to the other side. Continue from side to side like that. Keep the feet fairly wide apart so that the pelvis can roll freely here. Press with the instep of your right foot when you take the knees to the left and with the instep of your left foot when you take the knees to the right – this allows you to roll your pelvis even further. Feel the stretch through the hips, the lower back, and perhaps, down the leg.

Knees side to side from semi supine

  • A stronger movement is to roll the head in the opposite direction to the way the knees are going. If you are familiar with the movement then you could breathe out to the sides and breathe in to the centre, otherwise, breathe in any way you feel comfortable.
  • Next time your knees are over to your right, pause there. Draw the left leg level and past your right knee (keep it close to the floor). Then take it all the way back to where it was before (back to semi supine with the feet apart) and take both knees across to the left, pause there and draw the right knee past the left knee, towards the shoulder on that side. Do a few of those from side to side. You could use the hand on top of the knee to take the knee down towards the floor. Feel the stretch into the lumbar spine. If it is easy, hold the posture on each side and breathe deep into the abdomen.

Drawing knee on top

Benefits:

  • It is a great warm up for the spine and hips (it is recommended to do this release before attempting stronger movements or postures).
  • Releases the lower back and loosens the pelvis.
  • Since it is a twist, it works on kidneys and on balancing the endocrine or hormonal system in the body.