Can we really rebalance our nervous system and if so, yes please, count me in! The answer is YES and it’s actually a very simple, soothing release literally anyone can do.
Sue Hitzmann, the mystical neuromuscular therapist, connective tissue queen and founder of The Melt Method, created this easy to execute, self care sequence that helps to reset the nervous system into that beautiful ‘rest and digest’ mode, also referred to as the tranquil relaxed ‘green zone’.
The release is three fold consisting of an alignment self assessment while laying flat on the floor (no problem there), a gentle spinal rocking on top of a foam roller (or a rolled up beach towel the length of your spine will work too) and some imagery breathing.
Alright, all set, let’s begin your rebalance reset :
Alignment Rest Assess
Starting Position: Lying on your back. Legs outstretched long naturally, arms relaxed out by your side with palms facing up.
Alignment Assessment: Starting at the top of your body, close your eyes to turn on your ‘mind's eye’ and scan your body for the following. Take a mental note of how each reference point feels.
- Head – Do you feel like your nose is centered in the middle of your face? Perhaps it feels tilted back or more to one side than the other.
- Shoulders – Do you feel your shoulders feel open and evenly weighted on the floor or do they feel lifted and rounded forward? Does one shoulder feel more lifted, conversely the other is more weighted to the floor?
- Ribcage – Is your ribcage heavily weighted to the floor or does it feel lifted/arched up? Are the bottom of ribs touching the floor?
- Low Back – If you were to draw a line from your belly button to floor is there space there or is low back touching the mat?
- Bum Cheeks /Thighs – Do your bum cheeks feel evenly weighted? One heavier? Do the back of your thighs touch the floor or lifted?
- Feet – Without peeking (it’s tempting) notice the angles of your feet. Do they feel equally turned out? Perhaps one more than the other?
- ‘Autopilot’ – If you were to split your body in half, a perpendicular line from head to toe, does one side of your body feel more heavily weighted than the other? Does one leg feel longer than the other?
Nice work - try to remember how your body felt with those feedback reference points because we will check back in after to see if you notice any differences. Now up and onto the foam roller!
Goal: To stimulate your ‘neuro-core’ (spinal cord and all the nerves that feed off it) and access the nervous system through focused breath and stimulation of the sensory neurons in your fascia (connective tissue). Pretty fancy, huh!
Starting Position: Lying on the roller with your spine lined up from tail to head. Make sure your head is fully resting on the roller. Knees bent, feet on the floor and arms, palms down, by your sides.
Roller Rebalance Sequences
Chest Opening - Palms come to heart center fingertips up. Breathe in extend hands up, breathe out open arms wide to side in ‘T’ position letting the back of the hands rest on the floor. Just breathe here and feel the chest open. (if you feel any pain between shoulder blades move arms down closer to hips) Repeat 4x
Spinal Rocking – Hands on the floor, gently rock spine from right to left with the sense of falling and catching yourself. Repeat for about 30 secs, this rocking motion can be as big or small as you want.
*This rocking stimulates your ‘autopilot’, center of gravity, your bodies ‘GPS’ and helps re-establish balance and communication between it and your joints (satellites).
3D Breathing - Allow the spine to settle centered on the roller. Time to breathe in all dimensions of your torso. Imagine your torso is inside a 6-sided box. Front to back, side-to-side and top and bottom.
Front to Back – Place one hand over chest one hand over your ‘GPS’ – center of gravity - just below your belly button. Breathe into both hands and into the roller at the same time, expanding into the front and back of your box, exhale make a quiet ‘hisss’ to let all the air out. Repeat 3x
Side to Side – Place hands on the side of ribs. Breathe in and try to expand the ribcage evenly out to the sides making your box wider. Exhale let your ribs soften back to midline away from the inside of the box. Repeat 3x
Top and Bottom – Place one hand at the base of the neck where your collarbones meet and other just above you pubic bone. Breathe into your top hand and bottom hand at the same time making your box taller, longer. Exhale the box returns back to it’s regular height.
Pelvic Tilts – Finally place hands on your pelvis w/ your fingertips pointed towards pubic bone, heel palms on your hips bones making an upside down triangle. Start with pelvis level in neutral. Take a breath in to prepare and exhale roll the pelvis so low back presses into the roller. Make a strong ‘shhh’ sound when you do this. Inhale return to neutral. Repeat 3x
Dismount – carefully roll off roller and lie back on the floor where you started to reassess your alignment. Enjoy the sensations of how your body feels.
- Head – Notice if the position of your nose on your face has changed at all. If it was tilted back or to side does it feel more centered?
- Shoulders – How do your shoulders feel? Are they more open? If one side that was heavily weighted, does it feel lighter now?
- Ribcage – Does your ribcage feel more heavily weighted to the floor, or is it still lifted?
- Low Back – Is there space below your belly button and the floor? (Ideally yes) – or is it touching the floor?
- Bum Cheeks /Thighs – Do your bum cheeks feel evenly weighted? Do the back of your thighs touch the floor or are they lifted? (ideally want them to be touching)
- Feet – Did the angles of your feet change at all? Are they more evenly turned out?
- ‘Autopilot’ – Splitting the body in two again. How do the sides compare now? If one leg was longer does it feel more even?
I feel amazing, what just happened? Essentially through the spinal stimulation and expanded 3D breathing you have indirectly given your nervous system the green light to let go and release those areas of ‘stuck stress’ that accumulate from daily habitual repeated patterns.
This 10-15 min release is the perfect preparation for a solid slumber or relaxing reset after a long day of sitting. Warning this nervous system shakedown can be highly addictive …..assess, rock, breathe and reset accordingly. Enjoy!