A group of monastic sisters sit eating. Their backs are hunched over, bodies caved in, hearts protected, and heads bowed quietly eating. Their backs covered in energetic armor.
Our back body and spine tell a story. What does their story tell—devotion, protection, shame, or obedience? What does our back body and spine say about our experience? Are we aware of what we hold in our armor?
We experience life through our front body as we engage with our world through our sense organs, while our back body responds to every one of these encounters. Energetically, we undulate between our front and back body balancing in the core of our being—our spine.
Our spine is our divine channel. When we relax into our spine we open the energetic channels of our entire being.
Practices for relaxing into back body:
- Svanasana: Resting on your back in svanasana begin to pay attention to your back body. Bring your awareness to the back of the head, neck, shoulders, back of the arms, spine, whole of the back, back of the knees, legs, ankles and heels. Once you get to the feet bring the energy back up through the spine. Focus on each vertebrae starting at the base of your spine from the sacrum and moving up towards to the back of your head. And, then rest for 10 minutes or longer.
- Elongate the spine vertebrae by vertebrae. You can do this through a series of asanas focusing on extending the spinal column. My suggested asanas are uttanasana, paschimottanasana, virasana with arm variations specifically urdhva hasta and baddhanguliyasana, sirsasana (5-minutes), sarvangasana (5-minutes). Please only attempt inversions if you have a dedicated inversion practice and can maintain alignment and stamina in those asanas. To rest into your back body more deeply, I recommend practicing restorative asanas like supta badha konasana and supta virasana.
- Use essential oils to awaken your spine, such as frankincense, wild orange, lavender, or fir.
- In meditation visualize your spine being an open channel reaching through the earth and up through the crown and beyond.
- Express the story of your back body. Are you protecting your heart so fiercely that you have built up energetic armor? Do you experience back pain from past trauma? Do you resist opening your back?
- Lay in the grass! Rest into the earth!