Keepin' it Real Artwork
Season 4 - Episode 4

Spinal Mobility Flow

40 min - Practice


Robert guides us in a fluid and juicy sequence that is all about finding mobility in the spine. We move through twists, backbends, side bends, and low lunges to find more ease and freedom.
What You'll Need: Mat

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Hey there, welcome back, or if it's your first time, welcome, nice to meet you. This practice is all about mobility, primarily mobility in the spine. We're going to move the spine rotationally, upward extension, forward flexion, some side bending, and also focusing on where we are aware when it's neutral, okay? So mobility, let's do this, we're going to start in child's pose, okay? So grab your mat, grab all of your tools, whatever that is for you.

I have a blanket, I don't know if I'll use it, but if I do, I'll let you know, okay? So my friend, we are going to practice. So to begin our practice, we'll get our knees wide and we'll start in child's pose. The most comfortable child's pose you can find that enables or allows you to ground and relax and get ready, prepare. Some of the other practices you may have practiced with me, I move a little slower, right?

So this one, we'll call it medium pace, all right? Medium pace. So if you need to slow up or move faster, that's your call. Let's take about three to five breaths together. So when you're ready, breathe in and breathe out, breathe in and breathe out.

Take one more together, you and I, inhale, exhale, release. Stretch the arms forward and we'll start with our first stretch for the back would be like a lateral stretch. So we're going to walk the hands over to the left, reach specifically through the right hand and push that right hip back. So there's like a counter stretch happening. You can keep your head up or you can bring your head down to the mat, but what you're looking for primarily is a side stretch, a feeling of a side bend and side stretch.

And it's a great opportunity when we open up these bases in the body to get some visualization or feel yourself breathing into that space that's getting stretched or opened. And if you have to kind of imagine it, right, walk your hands over to the right, push your hips back. If pushing your hips back doesn't feel great, you can lift up into like a half or full table position and get that same action. So we want to reach through the left hand to bend and stretch over toward the right. Okay, back over to center, stretch the arms way out in front of you and plant the palms, lift up out of child's pose up into tabletop.

If your knees were wide, bring them back underneath your hips, spread your fingers nice and wide and inhale, drop the belly, lift your tailbone, chest forward, gaze gently forward so you feel like you've got this extended or arched spine. Breathe in, breathe out, cat pose, the opposite of where you are now. So tailbone draws down, gaze toward the thighs, push the ground away to draw those shoulder blades apart from one another. So you feel like you've got this big broad back, okay, inhale, cow pose and exhale, cat. One more full round, breathe in, cow pose, nice arched spine and exhale, cat pose, low belly activation, navel up toward the back body and now inhale back into a neutral position.

So that was your extension and flexion in the back, two key moves to the spine, very good. You're going to push the hips back, bring, I'll do the first one facing you, right forearm to the floor, left hand behind the head, okay. This is really helpful in getting an honest twist, okay. So you can't move your hips at all, so this is all about the rotation in the upper spine. So left hand behind the head, we're going to inhale, reach the elbow out and up.

Now maybe in a lunge twist you'd be able to open way up, that's because you're dropping your hip, right, but in this position, hips locked in, rotate open, that's the breath in, breath out, lower down. Inhale, elbow up, push the head into the hand, open that elbow, open the chest and exhale, we're doing five. Rotate open, inhale and exhale. You can push that right forearm down into the floor, push down to lift up and open, what's up? Good, elbow down, last one, up and open, you can extend the left arm up, that might feel a little more liberating and spacious, bring it on down, switch arms.

Pay attention, one side will probably be more open than the next, I think my right side is open, so right hand back behind your head, elbow out, left forearm pressing down, chest lifting, spine neutral, ish and rotate open, oh yeah, for sure, I'm much more open on this side, I gotta work on my left apparently, elbow down, exhale, inhale, rotate out and up, exhale, inhale, we'll do three here, exhale down, two more, inhale, push the head into the hand, left forearm down, open and down, really good, good job, and out and up, breathe in, keep the rotation, extend your arm high, open up, breathe, don't get stuck right and hold the breath, bring it back down, nice, now up onto your forearms and knees, hips over your knees, a little forearm cat cow, so it's off the wrist and it just offers up a little different sensation, so cat pose on the exhale, push your forearms and elbows into the floor, spread your upper back wide, inhale, cow pose, chest forward, you don't have to look forward, if it feels good to stretch the neck out, do that, okay, exhale, round it out, cat pose, inhale, extension, gentle back bend, exhale, flexion, rounding the spine, low belly activation, back to a neutral position, walk back up onto your hands, one more cat cow here, you kind of can't do enough of it, exhale, round it out, back into a flat back, now more rotation, so you're going to stretch the hands out a little bit, so it's going to feel like an extended table top, we'll start with the right arm high, breathe in, breathe out, bring that right arm down and sweep it underneath, like we're going to thread the needle, but we're going to do five rotations first, so you're going to bring that right arm down, maybe the shoulder toward the floor, but then take it right back up, breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out, leave that arm underneath, good, inhale, rotate out and up, knees can be a little wider on the mat, breathe out, one more time, breathe in, breathe out, I think that was five, so slide your left arm a little farther forward and like for me right here, to get my right shoulder down, I need to be a little patient, so I'm going to take a breath in, use the exhale to soften the shoulder down, so your right shoulder toward the floor, figure out how to place your left hand in a way that is supportive, keep your hips aligned, you're going to want to drop that right hip back, hold it, pull the right hip forward, left hip back, head and shoulder down to the floor, okay, I'm going to show you one more thing before we go, so come out, walk back into child's pose, okay, now you're going to do the same thing but the right arm is going to come underneath and then if you take your left hand onto the right hand, kind of clasp the fingers, use your left arm to slide that right arm over further and then head toward the floor, again hips are locked so I'm getting like a really honest rotation here, there's no cheating in my hips and using this left arm I can really kind of like pull to get that upper back shoulder stretch sensation, okay, just wanted to show that, come back up into table, get that reverse opening so the right arm reaches nice and high and right hand down, that feels good, okay, now extend the right arm forward, this gives you just a little more space to weave under, take the knees a little wide, this will help to gain more, all right, so left arm reaches up, now notice real quick, try not to, if you're hyper extending that right elbow, put a slight tiny bend in it, okay, you want this arm to be a point of stability and strength, okay, and you don't want to get into that joint too deep, okay, left arm up and weave it under, left arm up, breathe in, rotate, bring it under, exhale, three more, inhale and exhale, breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, last one, and breathe out, okay, good, now start to position your right arm, your hand to support, and left shoulder starts to ground toward the floor, breath is alive, getting a little creative with how you can kind of wiggle your way into the shape, and left hip wants to drop back, so pull it forward, draw the right hip back, so you keep those hips honest, be patient, all right, so you're going to push that right hand in to give a little lift, use your core, extend all the way back up, we're going to get that child's pose version, so push the hips back, left arm lifts up high and then sweeps it under, right hand clasps the left, pull it over and draw that left shoulder toward the floor while keeping the hips kind of situated and nestled in, good job, okay, pay attention to the exit, come out, get that counter pose, oh yes, and left hand down, okay, back into your tabletop, cat cow again, kind of like I think of the cat cow as a washing, as a neutralizer, back into a neutral spine, pause here, breathe in, breathe out, downward facing dog, get some good strong heel presses, so the heel presses down toward the floor as the opposite leg generously bends and you alternate from side to side and you might even add, like if you're straightening your left heel down toward the floor with the leg straight, bend the right and send your hips over to the right, relax your neck and then you're going to straighten the right leg as much as you can, put a little angle on that right foot so the heel comes in toward the center line of the mat, bend your left leg and now the hips go over to the right and you feel this big long stretch up to the right side, try to keep the breath as even and equal as possible, but breathing in as deeply as you need to and exhaling as deeply as you need to from time to time, okay, from downward dog, neutral position, so downward dog I talked about the neutral spine, ideally this pose is providing neutral spine, okay, so to get that I might even have to bend my knees a little bit more and send my tailbone up, okay, so you want that gentle curvature in the low back, okay, now walk your feet forward toward the front of your mat into a forward bend, bend your knees, half lift as you inhale, draw the tailbone back, extend out through the crown of the head, breathe in and exhale, let's come up one more time in a flat back half lift, inhale and exhale, now like a quarter lift come up onto your fingertips, straighten your right leg, keep the feet grounded, straighten your right leg, bend your left, okay, now it's the left fingertips that you're going to stay high on, if you have a block and you want to use a block do that, what we're going to do is you're going to open up, we're going to rotate open to the right, okay, we're keeping your right leg straight, you want to lift the chest, you want to lengthen the spine, so on the tippy tippy fingers and then you rotate open, reach the right arm high, I like to kind of push a little extra through that right hip back, you feel a little extra juice up that right side, so this is a little two-part, all right, you get the spinal twist and you get the hamstring glued IT band, all right, so you want to enter down, exit down, switch it up, now you're going to straighten your left, bend your right, lift and lengthen the spine, the chest and rotate open, now instead of just lifting the left arm, you might actually take your left hand from your right shoulder across the upper chest to the left shoulder to encourage the actual rotation, okay, so rotate, rotate, rotate, rotate, rotate and then the left arm comes up and you breathe, we'll do one more on each side, so you bring it down, stay rooted and grounded in the feet, strong in the legs, long in the spine, rotate open to the right, straight leg on the right, left leg bent and bring the right hand down, switch the leg position, left leg strong and long, right leg bent, fingertips of the right hand and rotate, so you want to lead with the elbow rather than the shoulder, right, that just kind of helps to rotate open a little bit more, super cool, cool, bring it down, flush out an exhale and do a forward bend, straighten and bend the legs a couple of times, heel toe your feet out toward the edge of your mat, so that your heels stay on the mat, take the upper portion of your feet off, so the toes are off, all right, we're going to come down into squat pose, so drop the seat down, wedge the arms to the insides of the legs, if you need to lift your heels up to make this a little more accommodating, go for it, okay, elbows into the inner thighs, lift the chest, ideally we want to work with a lengthened spine here, neutral, okay, now forward bend, exhale, walk the feet back toward one another, bend the knees, strong through the feet, strong through the legs, powerful through the core, rise all the way up, big breath in and exhale the palms back to heart, back to the chest, neutral standing position, bring the arms up, lateral stretch from side to side, we're going to start by taking the right hand on the left wrist, okay, so you're going to grab hold of that left wrist, draw the tailbone down without overly tucking it, right, so neutral pelvis, core braced, side bend to the right, so we're moving that back the spine into that lateral, lateral flexion, call it a side bend if you'd like, back up to center, pull that right wrist up, get the stretch and over to the left, back up to center, give you one other version, left arm stays high, right hand down by the hip, right thigh, reach up through that left arm and take the side bend over to the right, while your right hand probably slides down that leg, good job, up to center, right arm high, left hand at the thigh, little neutral pelvis action, strong legs, braced core, reach up, up, up, up and over gently, breathe into that right side and down with the right arm, neutral standing position, take the arms high, breathe in, breathe out, forward bend, squat pose, neutral spine, left hand grounds down to the floor, wedged into that inner thigh, right arm reaches nice and high and opens, if you have any other versions of this, please explore, right hand down, wedge it into the right thigh and left arm opens up high, what's up, rotate, rotate, good job, left hand down, take a pause here, breathe in, lift the chest, long spine, screw the feet in, inhale and exhale, forward bend once again, okay, before we come back up top, we're going to do one more rotation with these straight legs, right leg straight, left leg bend, rotate open, so eventually we kind of just want to flow through this in a natural way, other side, left leg straight, right leg bend, rotate open to the left, good, strong legs, rise all the way up, a little gentle back bend, open up the front of the body and exhale the palms to heart, doing great, reach up, breathe in, breathe out, forward bend again, half lift, inhale, walk it back into downward dog as you exhale, inhale, inhale into plank pose, you're going to bring the knees to the floor, like a tabletop, bend the arms so it's knees pressed down, chest and chin, butt stays nice and high, little arch of the back, okay, elbows tucked in, inhale, pull yourself forward through cobra, maybe even upward dog, open up the chest, maybe stay here three breaths or so, draw the left hip down, right hip down, draw down to the knees, push back into table, all the way back into child's pose for one breath, back into table, we're going to situate into a kneeling position but a kneeling lifting position, okay, so curl the toes under, you're sitting on your knees and your toes primarily, all right, so we're going to venture into camel which is another like back bend, back extension position, so we're going to go right into it, tailbone down, super strong legs, neutral pelvis, so we don't just hit the low back, right arm reaches up, circle it back to grab hold of that right heel, right, kind of pull up a little bit rather than dump down, left arm reaches up, back, you might have to sit back for a moment to grab, tailbone down, strong legs, good, now from here pull up on the heels, kind of draw the hips forward, heart lifting, shoulders open, freedom in the neck, breath obviously alive here, you're going to need it, nice, now with control, left hand to the low back, right hand to the low back, good, untuck the toes, draw the knees nice and close together, push back into one child's pose, little reset for the back, good work, back into tabletop, curl the toes under and exhale downward facing dog, take the right leg, lift it up, straight up, so it's not super high and you're not opening the hip, straight leg probably about hip height drives through drive through the heel, push the chest back, you can soften your left leg a little bit to get a little more of that neutral spine, right, now plank pose on the exhale, the knee draws toward the nose, you can point your right toes back, knee up toward the chest, toward the nose, push the ground away, nice and strong, inhale back into that three-legged dog and exhale the right foot to the right pinky, nice, good, okay so the right foot is out wide and for a couple moments what I'm going to invite you to do is just kind of drop around in the hips from left to right, like you're again that hydration I feel really works well when looking to create mobility in the back, so hydration, lubrication and that just means you're moving and breathing consciously into all these nooks and crannies, okay but now you're going to get that left leg nice and strong, right foot out wide, left hand down and grounded, strong left arm, now it's going to be kind of a luxurious open twist, now I mean what I mean by that is that left hip is invited to come down and you reach the right arm high and back and maybe up and over for like a reach forward and down and just kind of like get the twist but also there's so many other things going on, good, good, right hand down, okay here's where if you do have blocks, you might want to put the blocks here right below your gaze, we're going to move into lunge pose, okay so this is a lunge, you're going to lift the chest and let that left knee drag down a little bit, so you can kind of combine the lunge with cow pose, so you're kind of in a little bit of an extended spine, breathe in, breathe out, straighten the front leg a little bit and round out the back, so you've got pyramid and cat pose going on at the same time, inhale back into your lunge, open up the hips, lift the chest and exhale, pyramid cat pose, one more round, breathe in, good job and breathe out, back into your lunge, okay step back into downward dog, quality breath, back to that equal part, inhale to exhale, balanced body, balanced sort of mind, if you will, and breath, back into plank pose, knees, chest and chin, you can walk your knees forward a little bit, let those shoulders drop forward, inhale back bend of choice, cobra or upward facing dog and downward dog, okay take the left leg, so right foot is right center, left leg is straight back, put a soft bend in that right knee, press the chest back, knee to nose in that plank, point the left toes back, knee up strong into the body, forehead toward the nose, push the ground away, inhale back to that three-legged dog and exhale, step the left foot up and out wide, it's just like we did on the other side, move around the hips so you find some stability in the hands, somewhere that feels okay on your wrists and your fingers, left hand can even come to the left thigh and then there's just a little bit of creative movement right through the hips, once you've opened up this space and you feel good about it, ground the right hand and again you can let your right hip drop down a little bit, keep the left knee over the ankle and bring that left arm nice and high, rotate a little bit through the shoulder joint, the left shoulder, some circles bringing the left arm back and open, left arm down, okay so you want to bring your left foot just a little more left center, both hands are on the inside, on blocks if you'd like, chest up, breathe in, inhale here and exhale, straighten out that left leg a little bit, you can really even like push the ground away with the left foot and lifting the right heel high, push the fingers into the mat, round out the back, good, back into a lunge, inhale and exhale, round it out, one more time, breathe in and breathe out, okay back into the lunge, heel to your left foot over to the left, squat pose again, okay boom, heels down, might feel even just a little more spacious in this area, tilt the head from left to right, drive the elbows into the thighs to lift the chest, forward bend on the exhale so you kind of heel toe the feet a little closer, exhale fold, half lift, breathe in, exhale fold, fold, back into squat, your butt may already be on the ground depending on who you are, you also may be way the heck up here, wherever you are place your seat down onto the mat, it's a lot of work, so now situate yourself like so, legs are bent, feet are grounded, lean back just a little bit, the more you lean back, although I'm not asking you to go too far back, just 45 degrees or so, we're going to do these little rotations, so it's part core and part twisting, not parkour, part core, all right, so reach both arms out in front of you, try not to round, pull the shoulders into the body, reach the right arm back on your fingertips and you can rotate just a little bit more, then you bring the right hand forward, left arm back and rotate, and then there's just little touchdowns, so the whole time it's almost like a feet down boat pose, but we're rotating and you're breathing and you're probably exhaling here, exhale, exhale, five, five, four, four, three, good work, three, two, two, one and one, nice, now take the hands back behind you, open up the chest, that alone, if you want to sit there and just go yay, do that, or, and or, windshield wiper, so when you draw those knees, let's say to the left, pull the right shoulder back, good, and then you do the other side, rotate over to the right, pull the left shoulder back, and you do two more on each side, one more to the left, yes, one more to the right, all right, now we'll go back over to the left, sit up tall, take one moment where you stretch like a pigeon stretch, but the belly, the chest is going to rest right over the left thigh, stay here if you'd like, come up and reach the right hand way out so you get that side stretch and a little pigeon action, okay, over to the other side, so there's this little hinging and windshield wipering and the belly rests over the thigh, grab a few breaths there, it's a really, I think for most a pretty accessible pigeon pose, left hand grounds, reach that left arm over, get the side bend, good work, back over to center, I will face you, we're going to sit in a seated position, you can prop yourself up on a pillow, a cushion, a block, let's reset here for a moment, okay, so as we're beginning to close out, you can bring your hands to your thighs and sit up in a neutral spine, let the head or the neck and the head be an extension of the rest of the spine, chin comes down just a little bit, head pushes back just a little bit and after all that movement and breathing, just take a pause, just a nice couple breaths to acknowledge the work you've done so far and slowly start to integrate more slow longer pauses into your practice, if you're interested, okay, so we're going to take a twist here, another twist, okay, twist to the right, left hand to the right thigh, right hand back behind you, sit up tall, come over to the other side, so these are things, you know, if you sit in a chair at your desk, you sit down and just grab hold of the handle and rotate, rotate and then do the next thing which would be your cat cow, right, so sit at your desk, hands on your knees and round it out, we've already done this in the practice, you know what to do, so when you're sitting wherever you are for long periods of time which we all do, get some good movement going, it feels so much better, let's take one more round of exhale into cat, inhale into cow and neutral, one more side bend, right hand down, left arm up and over, just enough to get that sensation, boom did it, over to the other side now, left hand, right arm reaches up and side bend, good, back up to neutral, breathe in, take the arms high, last little pose here would be fold forward over your lap, ah all the way up, yes, relax time, let's lie down on our backs for a few moments, just to kind of like close out, take an official shavasana, final relaxation, start off with your legs bent, feet grounded, palms facing up, a little movement side to side like little mini mini mini windshield wipers, straighten the right leg out, straighten the left leg out and in your own way, your best way, because you know better than I do, is in our short relaxation together today, I want you to figure out the most comfortable body position, so where your back is grounding, your shoulders, your arms, how your legs are situated, your neck is long, there's nothing that's going to agitate you and if it does, you change it, power to choose to change the position so you're more comfortable, take a deep breath with me here, breathe in and let it all go on the exhale, allow your entire body to relax, to feel relaxed, to be relaxed, peaceful and calm, allow the breath to move into the body on its own and to depart the body on its own, maybe even allowing a drifting to happen, it's a nice feeling of just drifting off heavy into the floor, into whatever's supporting you, and deep in the breath, start to move around in your body, hopefully feeling satisfied with the movement you've chosen to do today so far, draw the knees in, a little stretch in the low back and then a little momentum, right up to sit, so thank you, it's like honestly always a pleasure, so if it's our first time meeting, I really hope to see you again and if I have seen you before, hope to see you again, make a comment, let me know if there's anything that felt great or didn't work and we can figure out how to fix it, make it work for you, so from my heart, my body, my mind to you, namaste, have a beautiful day.


Jenny S
1 person likes this.
There is nothing better than a good wringing out to begin the day! This was lovely...
Tina Anderson
THanks Robert. Enjoyed taking it easy with gentle stretching this morning. Metta

Valerie B
1 person likes this.
so glad your back for season 4 always enjoy your practice . Valerie
Robert Sidoti
I agree whole heartedly Jenny !! First thing I do most mornings is wring out the ole back bod :)) Nice to seee you here!!
Robert Sidoti
You are so welcome Tina Anderson ... sometimes some chill and relaxing stretching is just what we need. Thanks for your being here and sharing your comment!
Robert Sidoti
Thank you thank you thank you and welcome Valerie !!!
Marina N
1 person likes this.
Langes with move are so gut for my hips, thank you
Erika H
1 person likes this.
Faaaaantaaasssstic! Love your classes, Robert. This was perfect for my been-on-the-road-for-5-days body!
Robert Sidoti
Hi Marina ! Thank you for your comment and glad it felt good for your hips!! 
Robert Sidoti
Hiiiii Erika !! You are fantastic! So happy this felt good after 5 days of travel! Nice to 'see' you here! 
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