This week we’re covering a favourite exercise often given for homework. Book Openings! This exercise earns its favourite status for a few reasons:
✔️ mobilises your thoracic spine (mid back)- great if you have been sitting at a desk
✔️ challenges your pelvic stability
✔️ encourages deeper breathing by opening the chest
✔️ complements hip release exercises
✔️ lovely to support digestive issues you might be working through
Start by lying on your side with your feet in line with the back of your pelvis. If you feel like you’re going to tip over, simply bring your knees further forward. We suggest a pillow under your head if do not feel comfortable with your arm folded under your head.
Send your inhalation into the back of your body while in the start position. Think of each exhalation as an opportunity to soften your body into the floor rather than to “work your abs”.
This exercise is fabulous to lengthen your abdominals (especially your obliques). While you have never thought of stretching your abdominals in the past, it is extremely important if you struggle with an excessively forward posture. The general name for our abs is the “spine flexor” group. If you are struggling to sit tall or move into extension in class, you may be restricted by the front of your body. Sitting for long periods of time can encourage us to shorten the front of our body (think of slouching).
The other benefit to the book openings movement is a sense of space through your pec muscles. Crudely, these muscles connect your chest and shoulder to each other. If you feel like your shoulders round forward a lot, this is a nice addition to your other stretches and strength exercises.
We suggest 5-6 repetitions on each side. You can even do this on your mattress while procrastinating getting up in the morning (unless your mattress is extremely soft).