Today we’re going to do a couple of very quick drills to improve your forward bend by focusing on two specific parts of your brain stem.
So what I want you to do, grab a pen, warm yourself up a little bit.
I want you to do five to ten forward bends just basically get an idea of where you currently are in terms of your comfort level.
Then we’re going to first do what are called pencil push-ups, but we’re going to do them in a specific way.
Take a pen. Hold it out in front of you.
The first drill, you’re going to bring the pen toward the tip of your nose. You now hold it to the count of five, four, three, two, one. Close your eyes and relax.
You’re then going to repeat that same exercise. But this time you’re going to bring the pen to the top of your nose.
One, two, three, four, five. Your eyes should be converging.
This is controlled by cranial nerve three and cranial nerve four.
Both of these live in a part of your brain stem called the midbrain or mesencephalon, and whenever we activate that part of the brain it increases or enhances flexor tone in the body.
So do that a couple times and then retest.
And you can see in me as soon as I’ve done that I’m getting maybe three or four inches improvement in my forward bend.
Now we’re going to go to the lower part of the brainstem which is called the medulla.
We’ll do two things here, but we’re going to combine it with our pencil push up.
So we’re going to start off to the tip of our nose. Once we’re in this position, however, we’re going to include something into the mix.
The way that we’re going to do this is we’re going to do a Valsalva maneuver.
Valsalva is basically bearing down lightly. We’re not going to do a full Valsalva, but bear down, close your mouth, close your nose so that you’re holding the air in.
This stimulates the vagus nerve.
The vagus nerve comes out of the medulla and just like the midbrain, the medulla tends to improve flexor tone in the body.
So it looks like this. Bring it in and bear down. And relax.
I get even better from that.
And then our last one, is we’re going to do another stimulation for the vagus nerve, which is just humming.
You’ll hold the pen out, focus on it, begin humming.
Close your eyes. Relax out of it and retest.
All right, so you can test your bridge of nose, which is going to be cranial nerve three.
The bottom of your nose, cranial nerve four, and do that either with a valsalva or humming.
And we’re now targeting both parts of the brainstem that should improve flexor tone which should improve your forward bend.
Give it a shot and let me know what you think.