Easy does it (or not)

Do you feel the need to be gentle with yourself but still need to get moving? Try this warm up. We start with becoming aware of how your body feels, breathing into the sore bits and visualising a lengthened, relaxed spine. Arm movements start small and gently increase in range. Weight shift begins from side to side and then moves front to back, gradually lengthening if you wish. I cue activation of the core muscles and the pelvic floor.

I’ve designed this warm up with several family members and students in mind who have had either spinal fusions or significant injury/degeneration. There is no spinal rotation or flexion – two movements patterns that I have in each other warm up. You will still have to listen to your body and modify and tweak as needed to suit your own physical condition. That might mean lowering your arms to a more comfortable position, pausing to gently shake the whole body, sitting down while continuing the arm movements or bending and straightening the knees as often as needed. (*If you have had spinal surgery, please get clearance from your surgeon or rehab physio before doing this warm up.)

If you have none of the above mentioned physical challenges, then I have a separate challenge for you. Give this warm up a go, but instead of having a very comfortable stance with minimal knee bend, set yourself into a deep horse riding stance and see if you can maintain it while going through the arm movements and visualisations. Then when we move into the weight transfer, aim to keep your head at the same level as you move from side to side; try to avoid bobbing up in the centre. When we move into bow stance weight transfer, set yourself a long and deep stance and again try to move without letting your head bob up and down. This will then become a strengthening form for your legs instead of a gentle warm up.

Above all, be compassionate with yourself and accept what you are able to do on any given day. It might be less than you could do yesterday and that’s okay. We are so often good at being kind and compassionate with others. Let’s ensure we are kind and compassionate with ourselves as well.