How To Align Your Spine for Meditation with Dr. Nolan Lee

Interview with Dr. Nolan Lee

Hometown- where are you from originally? 


What was your aha moment that got you into Yoga?

My first yoga class was a sweaty Bikram class. A very good friend of mine suggested that I tried yoga to de-stress from my 18hr work days. As a single, high-strung businessman I found an activity with a very healthy female to male ratio that reduced my stress, and I was sold.

Seriously, though the practice made a huge impact on my perspective and mental balance, and from there I kept moving forward with it and have never looked back with any regrets.

Why Yoga plus Chiropractic Care. How do the two work together?

I think the two work hand in hand together. I can only see my patients and be with them for a limited time. Yoga with proper instruction can be an excellent way to maintain the benefits of in office treatments, rehab injuries and prevent future issues.

I love incorporating yoga into my treatment protocols. It is so great to be able to combine the things that I love doing!

Tell us about Vibe-Up? Is it accurate to say that you are a founding member? What inspires you to be involved with that organization and what do you collectively aspire to achieve through these events?

VIBEUP is a unique health and wellness community that I have been involved in from the very beginning, and I continue to be highly involved in it's growth and operations.

My good friend, Luke Jensen, planted the seed, and he and I along with a few others continue to foster its growth. We started with unique social events incorporating yoga at venues like upscale hotels, innovative climbing gyms, and popular lounges with the intention to build and connect a like-minded community that is interested in living the health and wellness lifestyle.

We are building this community to make it easy for people to make healthy and socially conscious choices for every aspect of their lives. It has received tremendous support, and we are very excited about what is to come in the future.

What's your personal Mantra?

"Dripping water penetrates stone." It's painfully tattooed to my side. It is a reminder to me to have determination, consistency and patience above all. The seemingly impossible is achievable with dedication and patience.

What's one thing you couldn't live without?

Amazon! Goodness, it saves me so much time!

What does the Yogi lifestyle mean to you? 

My yogi lifestyle has really lead me to where I am and who I am today, so it is fundamentally a part of me.

It's more than a lifestyle. It is just my life. With teaching, my chiropractic practice and VIBEUP, it has turned me from a self-interested businessmen to an individual that seeks to benefit others with all that I do. With that said, I guess that means a lot.

(How To Align Your Spine with Dr. Nolan Lee)

Natasha Casanova: Hi, I'm Natasha Casanova. I'm the founder of Kathmandu Yogi. We're a producer of Fairtrade and hand-made meditation and yoga accessories made in the Himalayas by artisans that are wonderful for westerners and give socio-economical opportunities to people that are in the east. And I'm here with Doctor Nolan Lee.

We're here to learn how the meditation cushion can actually support our spinal alignment from Nolan here.

Dr. Nolan Lee: Yes, great. The whole thing about spinal alignment is it’s so hard to sit without a good, supported, long, neutral spine. And people that sit all day, one of the problems is they slump, and they're rounded in their low back. If we sit for any length of time, you can feel these back muscles slump. These back muscles give out-- it’s about two minutes on average before people’s muscles give out and they slump in the lower back.

The lower back and the hips are really tied together. It’s called the lumbo-pelvic rhythm. If you start to-- most people when they flex their hips, bringing their thighs up towards themselves, after about 70, 80 degrees, the spine will start to move with it and round. And whenever you’re sitting, for example, get off the pillow. If we get off the pillow right now, these hips are really flexed past 90 degrees. To make space for your hips to go under your knees, you have to bring you hips way past 90 degrees in flexion. You feel-- it brings immediate pressure to round your spine.

So essentially what the pillow will do, if you sit on the pillow, is it’s going to lessen this angle of hip flexion. When you raise the hips off the ground a little bit, the hips will “unflex”, if that’s a word, “unfelt,” a little bit. So if you guys get back on the pillow, you can immediately feel the difference.

Natasha Casanova: That feels so much better.

Dr. Nolan Lee: You can feel it’s a lot easier. It’s a lot easier to keep the spine tall; it’s a lot easier to take that roundness out. And that’s what will be a great benefit in using a meditation pillow. And with proper spinal alignment, that will make your breathing much easier, and with the proper breathing, your nervous system will be more balanced, and you'll be less stressed. And definitely that is much needed aspect of meditation.

Corielle Heath: Oh wow. This is really the first time I've felt this. What you said is true. It’s like and unlocking of the front. My legs are out of the way, so my hips, my pelvis can rotate properly into place. Okay. I need a bigger one.

Natasha Casanova: Haha. Yeah, need to upgrade.

Corielle Heath: I do need to upgrade!

Dr. Nolan Lee, DC, E-RYT, CES, PES

Dr. Lee is a board certified and licensed chiropractic physician and certified acupuncturist specializing in movement assessment and dysfunction. He has a passion for functional anatomy and biomechanics and believes that movement is life. His goal for his patients is to keep them moving optimally and pain free to pursue all the life activities that they desire. Dr. Lee has a long history of involvement in movement arts and body work including martial arts, yoga and Thai massage. He received a Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences and Doctorate of Chiropractic from the National University of Health Sciences where he graduated as valedictorian for both degrees. He is also an Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher (E-RYT) through Yoga Alliance and a Corrective Exercise Specialist (CES) and Performance Enhancement Specialist (PES) through National Academy of Sports Medicine. In his personal time, he enjoys yoga, working out, and cooking. When not treating patients or teaching yoga, he also leads lectures and workshops on functional yoga anatomy. Learn more at