Brain Tool #6: Lively Spine

Play Daily with These Steps to Boost Your Brain:

1. Standing or sitting, place one hand gently on the crown of your head & the other hand at the base of your spine/tailbone area
2. Basic “Lively Spine” Flex – Start by moving the crown & tailbone slowly towards one another simultaneously, curving the spine gently forward and back (like a letter “C” being shaped forwards and backwards )
3. Breath from the belly as you flex
4. Flex #2 – Begin with Step #1, then slowly rotate the pelvis & crown clockwise simultaneously, while maintaining a low belly breath
5. Flex #3 — Begin with Step #1, then slowly rotate the pelvis & crown counter-clockwise simultaneously, while maintaining a low belly breath

6. Lengthening Flex – From a stationary position, envision the spine as a “string of pearls” with each vertebrae (as well as  the head) as a pearl strung on a long silky string. Visualize the top end of the imaginary string extending beyond the crown, past the ceiling. Visualize the bottom end of the imaginary string extending beyond the tailbone, past the floor. Breathe from the belly, as you imagine both ends of the string lengthening in opposite directions as you breathe deeply from the belly.

Lively Spine Variations to Develop Flexible Thinking:

1. Visualize a “magic marker” pointing upward from the crown, marker tip pointing towards the ceiling. Visualize a 2nd “magic marker” pointing downward from the tailbone, marker tip pointing towards the floor. Now, “draw” imaginary designs on the ceiling and floor simultaneously!
1A.  Visualize drawing with variations of color, tip size & texture
1B. Substitute the marker for a fat paintbrush
2. Play with the “Lively Spine” Brain Tool while seated on a Pilates ball
3. With preschool children, role play as kittens or puppies, joyfully wiggling and flexing head and tail!

What’s Unique About This Brain Tool:

1. Lively Spine is a fun way to energize the brain/central nervous system!
2. Lively Spine is a quick & easy way to bring the brain into a state of “alert focus” – the optimal learning state
3. Lively Spine strengthens the upper and lower back muscles, as well as the neck muscles — all critical for success in reading and writing!
4. The Lively Spine “Lengthening Flex” improves posture and core musculature — both necessary for sitting in a chair/at a desk for extended periods of time
5. The Lively Spine Brain Tool integrates visual & spatial brain function with body awareness & alignment — essential for success both inside/outside the classroom
6. Lively Spine releases the lower back and opens the ribcage, allowing for improved oxygenation to the brain. Improved oxygenation improves focus, self-regulation, energy, and reduces stress levels
7.  A lively spine improves overall balance and stability