Form Friday – Neutral Spine

Let’s kick off the New Year getting back to the basics. We talk about it every class but finding and working in your Neutral Spine can be difficult. Here’s the low down on neutral spine and how to find it!

Neutral spine is the natural position of the spine when all 3 curves of the spine -- cervical (neck), thoracic (middle) and lumbar (lower) -- are present and in good alignment. This is the strongest position for the spine when we are standing or sitting, and the one that we are made to move from. Knowing how to identify neutral spine is crucial for Barre Body Fit and will help you to get the most out of your classes.

Simply, a neutral spine alignment is when the pelvis is balanced between the two exaggerated anterior and posterior positions. To become familiar with this position in your own body try lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Make sure that your legs are parallel with your heels, toes, knees, and hips all in one line. Let your arms rest at your sides. Relax your body, including your shoulders, neck, and jaw. Allow your back to rest on the floor, without effort. Your spine should have two areas that do not touch the mat underneath you: your neck and your lower back (the cervical spine and lumbar spine). These natural curves in your back function to absorb shock when you’re standing, running, jumping, or simply walking around town. When you sit, it’s important to maintain the natural curves in your spine to prevent lower back and neck strain.

Now place one hand one your rib cage ensuring your rib cage is closed. Breathe Deeply into your back and the sides of your rib cage, and all the way down to the pelvis. Exhale and use your abs to press your lower spine into the floor in a pelvic tuck. Inhale to release. Exhale and pull your lower spine up, away from the floor creating a pelvic tilt. Inhale to release. This exercise helps to feel the exaggerated positions of your spine that we want to avoid, so that we can find a balanced position.