Spinal Rolls

Spinal Rolls (Figure 2.15) provide a warm-up for the standing poses and continue the loosening process of the spine that was begun in the sitting poses. This pose will stretch the upper back to relieve tension in the shoulders. Spinal Rolls also warm up the hamstrings and begin to bring flexibility to the spine and legs. Even though this pose seems simple, it engages the whole body and brings awareness to the body.

A modification to the pose is to have your child roll his spine less deeply into the pose. He should only go down as far as is comfortable and then return to the original position (Figure 2.16). He is unlikely to be able to reach the floor if you are modifying the pose. He may need you to support his torso as he is rolling down into the pose. This support will help your child feel steady. As a further modification, he may only practice the pose one time during the first sessions.

This pose may be difficult although it looks deceptively easy. Encourage your child to allow his spine to loosen with each roll. He may imagine that his spine is a waterfall that cascades into the earth each time he rolls downward. Have him "see" his spine unfurling as a waterfall would flow downward, with suppleness and grace. Initially, this pose may be uncomfortable because often the entire spine is tight and compressed. Imagining a flow of water will help the mind let go of the tightness in the spine.

1. Come into Mountain Pose. Feel the entire body as being strong and steady, with the feet pressing into the floor.

2. Slowly lower the head to the chest.

3. Take several breaths and then begin to curl forward until you are hanging over your legs. Your legs may remain straight, or your knees may bend slightly.

4. When you are bent over as far as is comfortable, let your arms and head hang loosely and take several breaths.

5. To come out of the pose, press into your feet and slowly straighten the spine. Your arms should remain at your sides. Take several breaths and then begin to roll down again. This pose can be practiced three times during a session.

Figure 2.15 Spinal Rolls

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