In the Moment with Your Upper Back!
Issue #009 - June 26, 2011
As I travel through life, I see so many people with upper back and neck issues, as evidenced by the humpback posture. The humpback is a posture that I am able to instantly recognize. It is the single most common postural deformity as people age.
This humpback posture can be improved upon and even reversed in some, if you are willing to spend just a few moments a day with exercises like I am giving you for the upper back.
The forward head position with the upper back humped over is an issue of reduced thoracic spine mobility. The thoracic spine is that part of the spine that forms the upper back.
This reduced thoracic spine mobility is due to years of burdens on our backs. You can read more about the soul issues surrounding the upper back if you go to my page Understanding Your Body.
For our upper back meditation, we will become aware of the thoracic spine and by just stretching and meditating on this area, we will heal the all-too-common humpback position.
Start the upper back meditation with your foam roller in the following position:
If you do not already own a foam roller, you may wish to purchase one. In my opinion, foam rolling is the single most important activity that has been invented for maintaining a healthy body. I use mine almost every day and never leave home without it. You can get a foam roller on Amazon if you do not already have one. (You can use a rolled up blanket to replace the foam roller, but the stretch will not be as effective.)
The goal of this lower back meditation is to feel the stretch in your upper back area, your chest and shoulders.
It is important that while you are performing this stretch that you do not feel more than moderate pain. If you have kyphosis of the upper back or significant neck pain, you should not do this body meditation.
While lying still on the foam roller, center yourself and begin your deep breathing. Focus on your breath. Feel it deepening. (I use the breathing technique that I taught you in the April Issue of Body
Breathe. Turn your attention to your upper back. Feel your shoulders sink farther down toward the ground. Let your arms go and your burdens fall away as you relax your shoulders and upper back more deeply.
Say to yourself, "I release control. In this moment, the burdens on my back roll away and God/the Universe holds me."
With your palms facing upward, now slowly begin to move your arms up and then down like you are making a snow angel. Do this while still lying on the foam roller. Pay attention to how your upper back and shoulders feel with this movement. Notice any emotions that you feel. Let them out. All emotions have physical responses, body sensations that usually go unnoticed. Take time to listen to your upper back, chest and shoulders. Say "I am flexible and move with ease." "In this moment, all my problems may now roll off my back."
Repeat the arm movements for as many times as you
wish, and for as long as your heart desires. Stop on any spot that needs more attention and a longer stretch. You will know where this is as you move. You may alter the movement with bent elbows, or make circles with your arms, however you feel led to move and sense your upper back and shoulders.
If you are in relatively good condition, you may add yet another dimension to the body meditation. When in the position pictured above, scoot your entire spine up so that your head is now resting on the floor, and the foam roller hits you at the top of your back. The rest of your spine still sits on the foam roller.
Again, in the meditative/contemplative frame of mind, feel the stretch and notice any sensations or messages from your neck and shoulders as you sink deeply into this stretching position. Does this position feel differently than the previous?
You may wish to add the arm movements in this position as well as before. Discontinue any
movement that is painful.
Say "I love and accept myself and God is in me." "I release my cares and let them roll away." "God's love and acceptance flow through me." "My neck and shoulders flex and move with ease."
"I am bathed in the abundance of God/the Universe. All is well in my world."
Stay in this body moment for as long as your heart desires. When you are ready, slowly bring your attention back to the day. Slowly roll yourself off to the side, ending on your side on the floor. From this side-lying position, it will be easier for you to get up.
Repeat this body meditation as much as possible in the coming month or so. With each moment that you learn to release the burdens on your back, the more natural and automatic it will become in your life.
During the day when you cannot do the body meditation, you can say one of the above affirmations to yourself. As you say the
positive affirmation, your body will connect with the feeling of relaxation from this body moment exercise. If you center yourself for just a moment with the affirmation, you will feel your body relaxing. You will want to breathe deeper. You will then release your tension immediately instead of holding it and creating dis-ease.
The more you practice this, the more automatic the tension release will become.
You may also wish to read my discussions on the upper back in more depth, by going to Foam Roller Exercises for the Upper Back.
May God's healing Energy that is within you be unleashed as you spend this moment with your body.