Week Six: Skeletal System
To exist as an advanced organism that can pick itself up and move independently over land, the human body needs a well-defined protective framework. The skeletal system reliably serves these and other needs, and does so in surprisingly active and dynamic ways. Mechanically, it is responsible for providing muscles and connective tissues with places to attach and a structure from which to generate force. (This is especially complex around the spine.) Protective structures, such as the skull, vertebrae, and rib cage, dutifully guard vital organs and communication pathways. The skeleton also stores essential minerals (calcium and phosphorous, among others) and releases them as needed to maintain blood homeostasis. The bones of the skeletal system can recover from injury and are even flexible. Like the muscular system, it doesn’t only need the right nutrients, but also requires regular loading and unloading to stay healthy. As the skeletal system works unceasingly to support us in a shape more complex than a puddle, it deserves our mindful support during this week of practice.
This week, dedicate your energy and attention to a mindful practice of naturally supporting all aspects of the skeletal system. Follow the simple steps provided below and do some research to discover how the following factors are already affecting your health.
Support your skeletal system by aligning your spine. Continue increasing your focus on posture, using simple yoga stretches daily to improve your spinal alignment. Practice spinal movements that activate your spine in all five directions (flexion, extension, lateral flexion, rotation, and axial extension). You could also enjoy a guided self-massage (for the superficial layer of muscles) or visit a qualified, experienced massage therapist to experience the release and increased spinal awareness that deep tissue massage can provide.
Help protect your protective bones from the outside in. Some examples include: using your seatbelt while driving, wearing a helmet while riding a bike ride or playing sports, wearing the proper personal protective equipment at work or when working on projects at home, and generally avoiding harsh physical activities that could injure your skeletal system.
To provide your skeletal system with its essential building blocks, you need to offer your body food that contains skeletal building blocks. Improve your diet by introducing foods or supplements that provide natural sources of calcium, phosphorus, collagen, omega 3 fatty acids, and vitamins D, A, B12, K2, and C.
Duration and Frequency:
Focus on the skeletal system for about one week unless you are experiencing bone-related difficulties or have a family history of bone problems. In such cases, now is a good time to do some more research or see a specialist.