Our body and brain co-evolved over our evolutionary history. We humans have developed fundamental movement patterns. Our spine with all its vertebrae, is our central axis. The freedom of our whole self to move in comfort is interwoven with the freedom of movement in our spine.
As a kid, did you ever lie around on the floor and play with stuff like Lego, jacks, marbles, or blocks. Sometimes you'd sit, sometimes crouch, and sometimes lie on your belly.
As adults, many of us have gotten used to "not lying on our bellies." Our necks feel stiff and can't accommodate any position. Our arms and shoulders are also stiff and we struggle to figure out the best position for them. Our legs and feet aren't sure how to lie - toes in or toes out. Neither feels that comfortable.
If this sounds like you, I encourage you to watch Video 1: Back Extension for Beginners
. "Be persistent and positive," says Thomas Hanna. Remember to move slowly and comfortably. Focus on the sensations of the movements.
If you've been doing Cat 3: Back Extension, why not add some variation and nuance. Watch Video 2: Cat 3 Variations
, and try some of my suggestions. You may be able to create other possibilities too.
Some of the things I ask myself as I try different movement possibilities are, "How can I move my head and neck? How can I move my spine and trunk? How can I move my arms, shoulders, and shoulder blades? How can I move my pelvis, my legs, my feet?"
When I find a movement that seems to release an area of stiffness, I switch to pandicular self movement. That is I gently move into the contraction phase, and then slowly and with control and awareness, I move out of the contraction; and take a brief rest. Leaning to move pandicularly is extremely effective for releasing chronic muscular discomfort.