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L5-S1 where art thou?

orag
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L5-S1 where art thou?
How can I be sure where exactly the right place for the anteversion curve is?

Do you have any further tips on how to locate it?

(My back tends towards a sway)

Thanks.
एस्थर गोखले की तस्वीर
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Good question. Here is the lay of the land. First locate L5-S1. One way is to wiggle your pelvis back and forth and try to find the first movable joint coming up from the sacrum. Alternatively you can make a C shape with your hand and place your middle finger on your tailbone - the thumb will land roughly on L5-S1.

There are two difficulties in creating L5-S1 curvature - inflexibility at L5-S1 and how you get L5-S1 curvature to happen without tensing up your back muscles or ending up with a swayed back.

My favorite way of addressing all of these issues is to have people lie on a yoga bolster with just the butt hanging over the edge. You start out stretchlying with your entire body lengthwise on the bolster and scootch down till L5-S1 fits to the edge of the bolster. If you loosen up whatever is tight in your lower abdomen / groin, your bottom will hang over the edge of the bolster. To prevent the upper lumbar spine from swaying you stretchlie your upper body again, perhaps doing this shirtless so your flesh sticks to the bolster better. If you still sway you may have to hold onto your ribcage to prevent it from moving. The great thing about this technique is that you get gravity to do the work of mobilizing L5-S1 for you.

In other activities, one way to diminish the tendency to sway is to strengthen your rib anchor muscles. You can strengthen these by using them appropriately in the course of everyday activities or by doing exercises that challenge them (see the appendix of 8 Steps - cycling in the air, sliding the legs in and out along the bed, etc.)

Other ways of increasing flexibility at L5-S1 include massage, acupuncture and pressure to the area with various implements.

Stacksitting and side stretchlying are also helpful for increasing L5-S1 flexibility and creating muscle memory of this architecture.
orag
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thanks. I will continue exploring the issue and see what happens.
ora
tulipwood
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in your book (pg 73) you caution to not do stacksitting if you have diagnosis or suspicion of a herniated disc in the L5S1 - I am recovering from major issues with my L5S1 (went into physical therapy last Aug 09) so there's no longer any inflammation but it still twinges every now and then.  So should I be doing stacksitting per your comment here on the forum or wait per the caution in the book??

Thanks
एस्थर गोखले की तस्वीर
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Be conservative and follow the advice in the book. Work with someone experienced to make sure you have enough length in your spine (after practicing stretchsitting and stretchlying, and while practicing the inner corset) before going on to stacksitting. Begin this process very gingerly, and to be safe, with an experienced teacher watching you. 
tulipwood
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hi thanks for the quick reply and info - i will work on the spine lengthing and then maybe try a skype session with you guys for stacksitting? (i havent been able to find any instructors near me - Asheville NC)
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I am moving to North Carolina in late July - I'll be the first Gokhale Method teacher in NC. I'll be in Durham, though - I know that's a few hours from Asheville, but actually having the hands-on instruction and guidance is incredibly valuable.

Maya
tulipwood
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wow maya that's a great news for me!  I just saw photos of you at the PrimalCon this past weekend on the MDA site!  Durham is nice about 3-4 hours away - i think you could fill up classes here in Asheville NC very quickly and I'd be interested in some hands on.  I ve got a little guest cottage!
Jay Bell
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Thanks everyone for this thread.  My L5/S1 moves as a unit...and a year ago I took a hard sprain to my left SI Joint...and four times since.  I'm definitely going to use the above ideas to get some mobility into that joint and see what comes.

Would a foam roller work in place of a yoga bolster?

Thanks!
एस्थर गोखले की तस्वीर
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The edge of a foam roller is a little hard for this purpose, especially for you with your history of S.I. injuries. Also, a bolster is more steady and easier to relax on top of. You could place a blanket across the edge of the foam roller to soften it and make it work that way.

A bigger question is whether mobilization should be your main goal - I suspect stabilization is more important for you. Be cautious if you plan to do this - only a couple of minutes at a time with less rather than more curve initially.
KD
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Can someone from the Palo Alto location tell me what bolster you use at your clinic to teach this L5/S1 mobilization technique? Brand, size, shape? Esther showed me how to do this at my appointments but I can't remember the specifics of the bolster.

Thanks,

Keely 

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