Why Do You Roll Up One Vertebrae At a Time?

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Rogue Yogi Real-Talk

Today, I ask you the question:⠀

"Why are you rolling up 'one vertebrae at a time' from a (Standing) Forward Fold" in Yoga?⠀

This is not a slam at all. Much love to our dance-background yoga teachers. But, this is a legit question for all of you that already sit hunched over your phone/computer/kid/cat/etc. ⠀

Where did this instruction come from? What is its intention? Because if you're already sitting sloped over for 8 hours, your spinal discs are already at high risk for herniation. ⠀

Imagine a segment of your spine is like one of those big-ass hamburgers/veggie burgers. When you try to squeeze one end to fit into your mouth, what happens to the contents at the opposite end? It squishes out. ⠀

That's kind of what you're doing to yourself when you roll up like that on the mat (and sitting like that at your desk).⠀

Teachers, if you guide this transition differently, let's hear it! The more we know about what's up, and the more we share this knowledge, the more we can empower our students to move the way our bodies are designed to move in this modern world.⠀

What was interesting to read were the comments other yoga teachers gave about this subject. Many agreed about this improper cue, while there were a few that simply said that rolling up felt good so it should be done (with no acknowledgement of anatomy, the high risk of disc herniation or the fact that we over-stretch our backs when we sit for lengthened periods of time). 

It's crazy to see how some cues get passed onto future teachers because of "tradition". While it is respectful to honor the teachers who paved the way before us, it's also important to ask the right questions about how some things will impact our bodies, and why we would continue doing them if they cause harm. It's why Science Yoga Sundays came about. To bridge the gap between the Eastern philosophy and the Western science so we all can enjoy the practice of Yoga for a lifetime (if we want it to be).