Sway Back and Forth Like a Wave
Updated: May 11, 2022
This video is the 7th in a series of 16 that will explore each Snake & Turtle movement in a little more detail. It is a resource for beginners to learn the basic motions. Later, I will present more advanced methods of cultivation and deeper layers of skill that can emerge from this practice, step by step. Please take your time to study each of these exercises in detail, and only begin following my practice sessions once you've grown comfortable with the instruction.
Sway Back and Forth Like a Wave
前 後 浪 動 (qián hòu làng dòng)
Check out the video instruction: https://youtu.be/c7RWubA4KvI
Snake Lengthens its Spine was my favorite exercise for several years. It was the most effective at reducing my intense lower back pain immediately. Many studies have shown the benefit of flexing, extending, and opening the spine in this way, and are part of any high-quality health program. You might be surprised at how stiff your lower back is, even if you're a person who is flexible while stretching on a mat. Learning to be soft while engaging in fluid movement in relationship with the ground is essential for healing the back. This exercise is what you need!
Widen your standing posture a little, release your lower back, and soften your neck. Do you feel the lengthening of your spine as your head floats upward and your tailbone settles toward the ground?
Leading with your head, lengthen further upward, then forward, under toward your chest, and then rolling back upright. Continue making this circle and allow it to spread slowly down to the rest of your body, keeping your hips & knees unlocked. Open upward along one side of the body, and then open upward along the other.
Avoid closing or compressing your spine, pushing any joint to its limit, or crunching down on the front of your body. For those of you experiencing bulging or degeneration of vertebral discs, be extra cautious about keeping the length of your backbone. Numerous studies show that coordinated, full-spinal motions can be helpful in disc rehydration and decompression. If you feel discomfort or pain, try making the movements smaller, slower, softer, or seated.
As you sway back and forth like a wave, include the soft lengthening and rotation of the shoulders. As you open the front of your body, allow the arms to rotate and the palms to turn forward while avoiding leaning back. As you open the back of your body, let the arms rotate, and the palms turn backward. Don't worry; further along in the series, I will include many videos to help you fully open and release your shoulders.
Continue with the exercise until there is a sense that the front and back of your body are more able to effortlessly open. Slowly allow the waving movements to ebb until you find yourself in a standing posture once again. Place your hands over your dantian, and wait in stillness until you feel your body-mind settle once again.
The Next Step:
Continue studying each of the Snake & Turtle exercises at a basic level until you can begin a daily practice of the entire series. Please note your current lower back flexibility level and track your progress over time. Perhaps you can take photos of yourself rounding and arching your back, to be compared later in your training. Many of my clients like to send me videos of their progress or special needs to help them adjust their technique over time.
Create and maintain a practice journal. There are many record-keeping styles, some digital and some analog, and I won't go into detail here. Unless you are an experienced scribbler, my suggestion is to start simple. Professional therapists have found that using journals will accelerate skill acquisition and help you maintain a positive attitude.
Write down what you have learned in one section and what you hope to learn in another.
Jot down any questions you may have for me and share in the comment section or via email at:
Keep detailed track of your daily practice; even it was only for 5 seconds.
Include information about your practice buddies as well as your scheduled time together.
Please write down the answers that you gave to questions I have asked you earlier in this series, and maybe include a fun sketch or photograph of your favorite practice spots in a natural setting.
If you are collecting photos or videos of your progress, include them in your journal.
As we progress through the system, the journal will become more and more valuable, so take the time to make a good beginning.
Look at how much you have already learned! Happy training!
Remember that this is only a tiny part of a more extensive system and sequence of teaching videos. Subscribe to my channel to learn more!
Make sure that you begin your practice at the beginning of the sequence
Ready to train? Follow along with traditional practice sessions
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