Re-align your spine
A need you didn't know you had?
As a prop for Yoga and meditation, the ergonomic curves and wedged-shaped in many ways speak for themselves and the concept fairly easy to understand – it is designed to accommodate the natural contours of the pelvis and it offers a support that helps the Yogi/meditation practitioner to sit in a classical meditation pose with ease and a well aligned posture.
As a device available to nearly everyone for promoting care of the spine and overall health however, it takes some explanation.
You see, when we lie down on our back, much of our weight is taken through the triangular bone at the base of the spine – known as the sacrum. And although gravity has been eliminated, lying on the spine in this way does not allow for an “unwinding” of the habitual postures taken up during the day. For that to happen, we would have to get into water where gravity is eliminated and our natural buoyancy means we are supported and free to move – in much the same way as were able to in the womb.
This is where Buttafly comes in – lying down on our back with a Standard (or Tall – see below) Buttafly placed low down under the pelvis so that the sacrum falls away in the indent. The spine, now off-loaded and in neutral, can make any subtle adjustments it wants to, organised by the natural intelligence of the body. Like corpse pose in Yoga, there is nothing for you to do here… Just lie back and let yourself relax.
So what is the difference between lying down over a Buttafly versus a good night’s kip? Intriguing isn’t it? You would really think that being horizontal for 8 hours would make at least the same difference if not even more perhaps… But early morning assessments show this not to be the case. Off-load the sacrum however and at the same time, offer the body the most gentle of inversions and real magic can happen. For less than the cost of a regular massage, this is self-care you never knew you needed – and given the portability of Buttafly is available to you pretty much any time, any place.
How to position the Buttafly correctly
Come into a low bridge, place the palm of one hand on the sacrum, middle finger pointing down towards the coccyx.
Use the other hand to position a Standard Buttafly with the high end towards the feet under the pelvis so that the sacrum can fall away in the indent. Straighten out the legs one by one and make minor adjustments so that you are comfortable and the pelvis is resting in neutral and the low back is neither arching away from the floor nor dropping towards it. You will want the buttock flesh to be cushioned in between the sit bones and the Buttafly to avoid compression around the sacrum.
If you place the Buttafly to high under the buttocks, the pelvis will be dragged into an anterior pelvic tilt and cause an increase in the lumbar lordosis.
If the Buttafly is placed too low under the buttocks, the pelvis will drop back into a posterior pelvic tilt and cause a reversal of the normal lumbar curve.
Take the time then to find the “sweet spot” where the pelvis is in neutral. Once here, if there is any discomfort at all, try placing a support under the ankles to bring the feet up to the same height as the hips, shown here using a Standard Buttafly under each ankle.
If the discomfort persists for any more than a few minutes then abandon this position and perhaps try another time.
A Tall Buttafly can be used in place of a Standard Buttafly although of course, the inversion will be greater, and unless you use a support under the ankles, there will be a stretch over the front of the hip area.
Using the Buttafly as described above is proving to be of benefit to many people, from those who have no particular problems with their back but know that their posture is far form perfect, to those who present with the normal challenges of modern day living e.g. repetitive or long-held postures at work including office workers, nurses, dentists, new mums, teachers. Also, those who play sport, long-distance cyclists and runners. and especially those where one side of the body dominates, e.g. golfers and tennis players.
Please note, the objective of this exercise is intended as general back care and while it may be included in therapeutic programs, for your safety, please consult with a licensed practitioner first.
“… What impressed, and surprised, me most were the effects of using Buttafly in different places along the back when in a lying position. In a spare 20 minutes at the recent British Wheel of Yoga Congress, Louise placed the blocks in certain positions under my body. In one such position I could feel almost immediately that something quite powerful was happening. More than one person commented on the immediate change in my posture and there was a pronounced realignment of the muscles either side of my spine. As a result I have no doubt that Buttafly could be a very valuable tool in the releasing of deeply held tightness and tension in the body, mind and emotions.”
Nick Edge, Teacher of Yoga and meditation, Mandala Ashram, UK
Click here to watch a video demonstration