8. Exercises for stability

Now try the various exercises below for standing and sitting position. The sitting position is demanding for the back, as we can only bend the hip joint up to 60 degrees, and the rest of the bending occurs up in the lumbar spine and pelvis. The pelvis and lumbar spine then become more rounded; it is not as easy to sit “upright” in the pelvis and give support to the vertebral column in the upright position.

Notice what happens in the body, and especially how the musculature feels around the pelvis/lumbar spine and up around the shoulders. The goal is to find stability in the various positions without locking the small joints, so that you can focus on the peripheral muscles and their important fine motor ability. As you carry out these exercises, your breathing will let you know how relaxed you actually are.

8.1 Standing position

  • Place your feet firmly on the ground and tread a little until they find their place.
  • Swing a little from side to side. Feel the difference of pressure under the soles of the feet and then stop when you have the same weight on both legs/feet.
  • Then swing forwards and backwards, keeping the soles of the feet on the ground. The movement occurs in the ankles (see illustration).
  • Then stop with the pressure on the pads of the feet, i.e. angled slightly forwards.
  • Notice how the knees feel. Are they overstretched or a little bent? Feel your way to a very small bend in the knees. You should then be able to swing a little through the knees.
  • Feel the mobility in your pelvis. Tip the pelvis forwards and backwards, imagining folding your “tail” in between your legs and then sticking it out again.
  • Relax the musculature around the curve of the back and feel how it becomes long. Rest the weight on your hips, as if you are about to sit down. Avoid “dangling” the pelvis.
  • Lift the shoulders very slightly diagonally, forwards, upwards and then release. This is a very small movement that does not use very much muscle power. Notice how the shoulder joint feels as you move.
  • Slide the head forwards and backwards, and find support in the neck and shoulders. Then fix your gaze on the horizon and make very small twisting movements from side to side, as though saying, “No, no, no.” Then stop in the middle, pull in the chin a little and make small nodding movements – “Yes, yes, yes.” This movement occurs in the very top neck joints.
  • Notice your breathing, all the way down to your toes!
  • Let go with your heels and start making short, fast movements raising and lowering the heels (see illustration).

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8.2 Sitting position

Relaxed and flexible sitting position

  • Begin by sitting without a back support and far forward enough for half of your thighs to be away from the seat of the chair. Make sure the seat is adjusted to a height from which your thighs are angled slightly downwards towards the feet.
  • Tread up and down with your feet a few times and feel how they are in contact with the floor.
  • Bring the knees together and release/relax. Do this several times and then let the knees remain slightly apart. Notice the movement that occurs in the hips.
  • Then release the pelvis backwards (sit with a curved back) and come back up by angling the pelvis forwards. Roll on the pelvis and ischia (the curved bones at the base of the pelvis) a few times, backwards and forwards. Change between these positions a few times and then come to rest upright when you are aware of your ischia, when your back is straight but without tension in the small of the back, and when the torso rests on the pelvis.
  • Lean and swing forwards and backwards from the hips several times with a straight back (see illustration). Come to rest with the torso leaning slightly forwards and let the legs take the weight from the torso.
  • Jiggle through the spine, i.e. twist from side to side, as though you were shaking off raindrops.
  • Lift the shoulders very slightly diagonally, forwards, upwards and then release. The movement should be very gentle and easy. Be aware of the shoulders.

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