The Nadir (approx. 1880 – 1923) was the lowest point of African American life in American History. It stretched from post-Reconstruction to the early 20th century and was marked by extreme violence, educational and civic disenfranchisement and systematic annihilation of black bodies and rights by white perpetrators, especially in the South. But out of the depths of terrorism, absolute despair, and the Great Migration north for better opportunity and perceived safety, rose a people stronger and more resolute in their focus to be educated, employed and engaged.
Enter Inverted Leg Raises an extremely advanced move that requires core strength, complete body control and whose anatomical focus is the body’s center of mass. A therapeutic and restorative move —proven to calm the brain, strengthen the spine and alleviate depression— force is produced by the hips and mass is accelerated skyward towards the celestial point. Just as the enslaved searched for and followed the North Star for freedom so too did the masses looking north towards the zenith for social and economic salvation. And still we rise.
Recommended Reading: Black Reconstruction in America, W.E.B. Du Bois; From Slavery to Freedom, John Hope Franklin
Exercise Difficulty: Extreme
Strengthens: Core – Abdominals and Lower Back (Primary); Hip Flexors and Glutes (Secondary)
Execution: Begin in supported and anchored headstand, either with hands flanking head or forearms pressed into ground and hands cradling crown of head. Inhale deeply, draw belly in and via hips (not feet) methodically lower straight legs down to ground to create inverted (upside down) “V” shape. On deep measured exhale, engage core, squeeze glutes, lift feet off of floor and raise straight legs until completely vertical. Repeat for intended count. Body should be in total alignment, from toes to crown of head, at top of move. Work to keep legs moving together and engage core, avoiding arch in lower back at any point during move.
Contraindications (Inadvisable): Neck, Back, Wrist Impairment
Watch the move: THE NADIR / Inverted Leg Raises