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    The 2 Minute Tune-Up

    By Jamie Leno Zimron–

    Most of us seem busy most of the time between work, home, our devices, and the fast-paced high-stimulus society we all find ourselves living in. Meanwhile, our bodies and brains have limits, and needs of their own for rest, breaks, balance and renewal.

    So, I’ve become a big fan of exercises that:

    a) don’t take much time to do;
    b) don’t require any special equipment;
    c) can be done anytime, anywhere;
    d) can be done easily, as often as you want or need;
    e) and that provide powerful, immediately-felt results while also building lasting mind-body benefits through regular use and repetition.

    I am always very grateful to my fitness teacher in San Diego, Juawayne Kettler, for providing exercises that accomplish all of this, and more. Juawayne is the creator of BLISSworks: Balance Lengthen Integrate Stretch Strengthen. Primarily through BLISS exercises, plus good hands-on bodywork, I was able to heal from over twenty years of acute-turned-chronic sports and martial arts injuries. Constant pain subsided, while energy and function returned. As just one example, I went from having to quit playing golf after only 5 or 6 holes, to playing in 100-hole Charity Golf Marathons—and often exceeding 200 holes, playing for 12 hours nonstop and with no pain!

    Here is one of my favorite BLISS exercises, and the one that Juawayne uses to begin every workout. It’s called Spinal Pulsing, and can be done by yourself or with a partner. I’ve come to appreciate and teach it as a “2 Minute Nervous System Tune-Up.”

    Spinal Pulsing: By Yourself

    Begin by standing facing a chair, or desk, kitchen counter, railing, or window ledge. Stand upright, in good posture, just a few inches away. Hold on with your hands at about waist height, and with your feet close together (about 4–6 inches apart). Holding on to the stable chair (or desk, counter, railing, ledge, etc.), walk your feet back and bend over until you are at a 90-degree angle. Your back should be flat, with your feet directly under your hips and shoulders. (If you have shoulder or back pain, bend and work only as far as is comfortable for you.)

    Once in this position, pull your hips away from your hands and shoulders, as you imagine and feel yourself creating more space between your vertebrae, lengthening your spine, stretching your hamstrings and your “lats” (upper-body muscles that come down from your armpits and then attach to your mid-back ribs on both sides of your body).

    As you continue to pull your hips back and lengthen your spine, focus on a spot in the middle of your chest at your sternum. Inhale gently, then exhale slowly as you pull your chest, vertebrae and ribs down towards the floor. Repeat this gentle inhale/slow exhale, pulling your chest to the floor sequence at least 5 up to 25 times. Each sequence is aptly called Spinal Pulsing. This conscious “pulsing” movement not only stretches vital muscles, but it also stimulates the cerebral-spinal fluid from the base of your brain, down the whole length of your spine into your sacrum. It additionally promotes circulation and oxygenation throughout your nervous system.

    After doing 5–25 Spinal Pulsing repetitions, remain in this L-shaped position of stretching and lengthening. Now, bend your neck to look down at your belly, and then bend your neck and look up. Repeat this Look Down/Look Up motion 5–25 times. Whenever I do these repetitions, I love the feeling of stimulating my cerebral-spinal fluid and stretching from inside my spinal column, as well as loosening between my shoulder blades.

    You can add to the stretching and stimulation effects of Look Down/Look Up by bending both knees as you look down, and then straightening your legs as you look up. You’ll be strengthening your quads as well as stretching, and the movement feels like becoming your own “human energy pump.” When you’re ready, come out of the exercise by gently bending your knees and walking back up to where you started. Gently bend backwards to reverse the stretch, supporting yourself with your legs and base.


    Spinal Pulsing: With a Partner

    You can also have fun doing the full Spinal Pulsing exercise with a partner or friend. Begin by standing facing each other, upright and fairly close, with your hands resting lightly on each other’s shoulders. Then walk back from each other, bending over until you’re both at a 90-degree angle and your backs are flat. Keep an image and feeling of a straight line connecting your spines. Then pull your hips back, away from your shoulders and partner, to create space between your vertebrae and to lengthen your spinal, hamstring and lat muscles.

    Work in harmony following the same Spinal Pulsing instructions as before. Breathe in gently together, and exhale slowly while both pulling your sternums to the floor. After 5–25 repetitions, and continuing to pull your hips away from each other to lengthen out, both partners should look down and then look up at each other (laughing is allowed!). Add bending your legs as you Look Down, and straightening your legs as you Look Up.

    When you’ve completed 5–25 repetitions, gently bend your knees and walk back up to each other until your toes are touching. Holding on with your arms, gently bend back for a nice sigh and counter-stretch, simultaneously and in balance, and come back to the neutral standing posture (smiles and hugs are good too!).

    As you do this powerful Spinal Pulsing BLISS exercise, you will all at once be stretching and strengthening your spine, lower and upper body, and stimulating cerebral-spinal fluid and energy flow. In just a short time, you’ll be giving your nervous system an entire tune-up, and will come up feeling re-balanced and refreshed.

    Jamie Leno Zimron is a Corporate Speaker-Trainer, Master Bodyworker, Aikido Instructor and LPGA Golf Pro. She can be reached at jamiesensei@thekiaiway.com or by phoning 760-492-GOLF(4653).