Athlete Stretch

week 4: back and spine

If you gathered the most intelligent minds to try to engineer a structure that could bend, flex, twist, and curve, be used all day every day, withstand impact and last for up to 100 years (or more!), rarely without any need for repair - this would be a challenge! Yet, each and every one of us has one of these incredible structures within us from our first few weeks of development: our spine. 


It is a beautifully complex structure where bones, ligaments, tendons, muscles, nerves, and nerve roots are woven together. It provides strength and structure to the body, allowing us to stand upright. It allows flexibility, enabling us to move in a variety of positions. It also performs the role of a shock absorber and serves as a protective mechanism for the vital nerves and nerve roots that pass through it. Maintaining mobility through the spine is the key to maintaining a healthy body that's able to move freely in all the ways you love for years to come. 

This is the last piece of the puzzle, and it's a good one, that's why we've saved it for the end. But also, we often need to work through the rest of the body in order to access the spine. It's hard to work with the spine if the shoulders are tense or there's limited mobility through the hips and pelvis. It's hard to open the pelvis if the legs are quite tight. So we work systematically through the body, piece by piece, unwinding and unlocking any tension and restoring balance so that we can then experience the health of the whole body altogether.

The spine houses our central nervous system, so when the spine is healthy, the nervous system keeps the flow of energy between the brain and nerves balanced. The nervous system impacts every action our bodies take – conscious or unconscious. A healthy spine allows our body to function at its greatest capacity.


Today you'll need:

  • 2 blocks (or a couple of sturdy books)

  • Optional: a cushion or rolled-up blanket to sit on at the beginning and end

© 2021 Hailey O'Hara

Images: Cooper and O'Hara