Simple Stretch Video Series: Basic Back Line & Lower Body Complex by Liz Bragdon of Our Place Studio

First, a big ‘Thank You!’ to Cici & Tim for deciding to turn our video venture into a full-blown series to give folks in our community access to helpful health & fitness resources. I’m thrilled to be able to share the work I love with a broader audience. Our goal is to offer movement activities & tools that are accessible to as many people as possible to use whenever they are feeling tight, tense, stiff, imbalanced, achey, or stuck.

Liz Bragdon, Simple Stretch Series
Liz Bragdon, Yoga Instructor & Movement Educator at  Our Place Studio in Downtown Covington

What I’ve found in 27 years of practice and 10 of teaching is that I keep coming back to the simplest moves and poses…think of them as building blocks for helping generate greater movement ease and complexity. When clients exhibit movement dysfunction, I turn to these basic activities, and when clients are more mobile and strong, I can always offer them more challenging variations. And for those of you dealing with hyper-mobility issues, approach these activities with the mindset of moving more slowly, mindfully and with the intent to control and stabilize vs. the intent to fall into or overextend in the stretch. As always, if you have any questions, consult your physician and/or a skilled yoga instructor.

This particular series addresses aspects of the lower body & back line complex. I’ve found it particularly beneficial for those who spend too much time sitting and those who do exercise, but address a limited number of movement planes…think walking, running/jogging or lifting weights only, etc. The body will adjust to whatever demands you put upon on it. If for years you’ve spent your days sitting in a chair behind a desk and done little to unwind that….then your movement range will adapt to that limited ‘form’: range of motion decreases all over, muscles weaken and/or shorten, the core becomes lax and the posture, rounded over. Tight hamstrings and back ache are common related issues. But that’s only the stuff you tend to notice. Once you start moving again in ways you’ve not moved since you were a child, you realize the movement potential you’ve squandered. The hip and shoulder joints have amazing range of motion – the most of all the joints – which is supported by a balance of stability/strength. But we rarely explore that range anymore. Watch dancers. Or Cirque du Soleil. Generally, we view these amazing movement artists and think ‘I could never do that!” Well, you may not have been drawn to dance ballet or be a contortionist, but you were born with similar movement & strength potential. You just stopped using it. Once you start up again, our hope is you’ll be inspired to do more. Enjoy the amazing organic playsuit that is your body! Movement is not only good for your physical health in every single way, inside and out, it’s also alleviates symptoms of depression and anxiety and increases feelings of happiness and wellbeing. Common sense, really. Movement is medicine. And it’s free and fun! For this series, you’ll need a strap, belt or a rope.

A few tips before you go to the video and give these activities a try: 1) Be where you are. Do not force past resistance in the muscles and joints – approach the current boundaries to movement in your body gently and mindfully. Over time, you will see progress. For every individual, it’s different. 2) Breathe – conscious breathing increases mindfulness and supports the movements. Breathing not only keeps you alive (you know – that whole oxygen thing), it can help you defuse tension and stress in the body and the mind. 3) Although these are very simple and gentle exercises, if you have any questions or concerns about trying them out, please consult your physician.

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