Being safe is most important in restoring support and as much ease as possible to your spinal column and all its nerves, discs, and vertebrae. Be sure to check with your healthcare providers before beginning any movement practices. Also, be sure any teacher, for instance a yoga teacher or yoga therapist, is experienced with your specific condition.
Once you know how much movement is safe for you, you can explore mindful movement that covers all the ways your spine can safely move and unite that movement with the breath. Breath-based, supported movement – even if it’s imagined instead of actually performed – can provide deep benefits to our nervous systems, bringing relaxation to our bodies and minds.
To the extent that these movements are safe for you, it is ideal to regularly combine your breath with:
- A forward bend
- A backward bend
- A side stretch
- A twist
These movements – or visualizations of these movements – can be done in bed, in a chair, or standing, if well-tolerated and with any support you need to be safe. In addressing fatigue and brain fog, we will do them in bed.
If comfortable, bring one or both knees toward your chest. Support them there with pillows or blankets beneath your knees, or if you can do it without strain, hug your knees in. Take a few mindful breaths.
Being sure that this will be safe, place a pillow or rolled up towel or blanket comfortably beneath your shoulder blades. Roll up a small towel and place it underneath your neck to support it in a safe position. Allow your arms to be out in a T position and feel the rib cage opening into the support and spaciousness. This is a heart-lifting pose. Stay in it as long as it’s comfortable, taking mindful breaths.
In a reclining position, position your right arm overhead, if comfortable, supporting the arm with a blanket or pillow. Reach your left arm out to the side. Move your left leg out, away from the center of the body. Bring your right leg as close as is comfortable to your left leg. Now in a kind of “C” shape, breathe in and out of the open side, visualizing space in the side of the waist, hips, and rib cage. Hold for as long as is comfortable. Re-center yourself, then repeat on the other side.
If this is possible for you, draw one or both knees up, sliding the heel or heels along the bed. Move the legs a bit to loosen up the hips. Informed by comfort, gently lower one or both knees to one side, supporting each leg or both with pillows or blankets. With arms out in a T position, look away from the knees if possible, only as much as is comfortable. Take a few mindful breaths. Re-center and repeat on the other side.