- it’s the only one you’ll ever have
MIND YOUR BACK or MYB is an exercise in conscious awareness of the physiology of the spine, gently manipulating and synchronising the muscles and articulations of the neck, shoulders, upper, mid and lower back vertebrae, pelvis and upper legs.
The focus here is on the deep muscles of your neck, shoulders, spine, pelvis and your upper legs - using your mind to heighten the awareness your senses, particularly your sense of touch and feeling, in order to bring their natural alignment into place.
This “How To” routine is non-invasive - meaning it is passive and does not require the use of exercising the muscles, but rather, of learning to soften them and manage the articulations of the shoulders, the pelvis and the spine, which, in turn, by self manipulation and extension, influences the muscles supporting and aligning the spine.
Whilst your attention may be focussed on a specific area, it is important that in the moments between each of the prescribed movements you become aware of the subtle effect on all of the articulations and muscles connected to the spine.
A pretty high level of conscious awareness of what is being done and felt throughout the entire routine of 30 minutes, is required.
This is achieved using the technique of conscious breathing, which introduces a higher level of oxygen into the cells and tissues, providing a much deeper form of relaxation of the muscle tissue and articulations.
More importantly, this higher sense of consciousness, allows you to “look into” the physiology of the spine, shoulders, pelvis, hips, knees and their combined effect on the general health of the spine and its associated musculature.
Basically, it is a soft, self induced realignment of the spine, shoulders and pelvis and all the muscles attached and tissue connected to it.
If all this is in alignment and all the front and back muscles of the body are balanced, then one should be free of any aches or pains - until the next time.
And there will be a next time as our spines are subject to the most amazing array of movement - of lack of it. This results in a vast amount of pressure we put on our backs every day, without finding the time to alleviate these stresses and strains, at least on a weekly basis, or when we have finished loading the back of a car with lifting heavy objects, or exercise, such as caring for very young children- lifting them and carrying them on your hips, arduous walking or running, a long round of golf, climbing, trekking, weightlifting, and driving - just to mention a few.
And we do this by learning to use conscious breathing and visualisation to help the entire environment of all the back muscles, connective tissue and articulations, particularly of the spine, to soften and stretch a little, in order to relax those surface and deep muscles and restore them all to equilibrium.
And of course, if we don't do any exercise, work long days at a desk and sit around watching television or just simply doing nothing in our spare time, the worse our posture will become.
You have 33 vertebrae - 7 cervical vertebrae in the neck - 12 thoracic vertebrae in the mid to upper back - 5 lumbar vertebrae in the lower back - 5 fused sacral vertebrae in the pelvic area and 4 fused vertebrae in your coccyx.
All of these vertebrae are supported by an intricate range of deep muscle tissue, in addition to the normal suspects and well known surface muscles of the upper arms, neck, shoulders, mid back, lower back and the upper legs. The trapezius, pectorals, rhombus, deltoids, biceps, triceps, the abdominals and the glutes, quads and hamstrings. All of these muscles support and assist the huge range of articulations found in the shoulders, neck, spine and upper leg and they are all connected and influence each other over an extraordinary range of movement.
The deeper muscles of the back, lie just below the surface muscles and are mostly long and snakelike, apart from the Psoas, which connects the lumbar vertebrae to the femur. They have names that are not commonly known, which sound like the names of Roman Emperors - Ilio Costalis Lumborum - Spinalis Dorsi and Longissimus Capitas to name a few. - And they appear to wrap themselves around the spine from the Sacrum to the Occipital Skull attaching themselves to both the vertebrae and the ribs, in the most intricate and incredible way to support and protect the spinal column and of course, our central nervous system.
Every time we move and do something with the neck, shoulders, hips, arms or the legs - the spine is at the centre of this activity and takes the brunt of most of these movements.
Apart from any traumatic event requiring surgery to the basic structure of the spine, and/or any natural wear and tear, most back ache and pain, is caused by activities like heavy labour, pregnancy, exercise, most sporting activities and habitual postural deficiencies learned over time, that accumulate and then present themselves as aches and pain.
This podcast is designed to help you to find the time once a week, to realign the spine and the surface and deep muscles and tissues around it, in order to alleviate ordinary everyday aches and pains in the back.
However, there is another, more important reason for doing this.
Mind Your Back is to remind you to remain conscious of your spine and all its articulations - most of the time.
And that is to educate yourself about the importance of how to
Mind how you stand up
Mind how you stand
Mind how you sit
Mind how you sit down
Mind how you move
Mind how you walk
Mind how you balance
Mind how you lift things
One of the most critical factors is to Mind Your Posture.
Most people have poor posture, which has become habitual over time.
Regular exercise aligning back and front muscles of the torso, can help to rectify this, along with flexibility exercises of all of the articulations of the entire body.
As we age, we need to do more to maintain an awareness of the need to reduce muscular atrophy by exercising all the major muscle groups and increase articular flexibility by regular stretching.
All of this repetitive mind and body synergy requires your attention to undertake to do them and then to actually do them, which done often enough, then becomes habitual.
Another very important thing in relation to general back aches and pains, is stress.
And where does stress begin?
In the mind.
It is felt however, in and by the body.
And it mostly begins in the gut as that is where we all feel our emotions.
And what follows is a general tightening of our core muscles, the Abdominals, in the front of the body and which extends to the Latissimus Dorsi in our lower backs.
This overall surface muscular tension, eventually begins to affect the connective tissue in the deep muscles of the neck, shoulders, back, pelvis and the legs.
This spreads into the intercostals - the muscles between the ribs - and you end up with a general tightening of the entire torso.
And the results are general aches and pain in the neck, for example, making it difficult at times, just to turn your neck when you are doing a simple thing like driving.
So. its all about maintaining a conscious awareness of YOU.
And this is done by learning to remember moments in your daily “busyness” to stop what you are doing, just for 5 minutes and focus on YOU by using the technique of conscious breathing.
While you are breathing consciously, slowly and deeply around 3-5 times a minute, you induce a sense of calm, by raising the levels of serotonin - the daytime calming hormone - in the blood. You begin to reduce your heart rate, and if you are not too caffeine (ed) up and you are not under any medication - your BP will fall.
But above all - the raised levels of oxygen being taken into your lungs, spreads over a greater surface area of the lungs, clearing out the residual volume - the heavy air that smokers have or people that live in cities have - and this greater level of oxygen gets into your cells and tissues and induces muscular relaxation throughout the entire body, and which ultimately boost your levels of energy.
Some exercises you will need to know how to do during the Podcast.
20 second slow conscious breathing rhythms.
5 seconds inhale - 5 seconds hold - 5 seconds exhale - 5 seconds stop - then repeat.
This is done in the first 5 minutes of the session and throughout the entire session.
Throughout the MYB session, you will regularly be required to learn to extend your shoulder muscles and articulations, in order to stretch and soften them, along with the muscles of your neck.
Shoulder rotations when upper back and shoulders are slightly raised from the floor. This position allows for the full rotation of the shoulder girdle in a forward and backward motion, completed at the beginning of the session.
Back/spine/pelvic alignment from the hips/bottom using the shoulders and elbows.
This is done by slowly raising the head first, then the shoulders and then the upper back, which follows, and bring your elbows closer to your body. Move both elbows along the floor a couple of inches towards your shoulders, and use your elbows to raise your entire back just off the floor to the level of the top of the pelvis, in line with your hips, which are still firmly on the floor, and gently move or shift the entire upper body about half an inch to an inch backwards towards the head.
And then gently and slowly allow the upper back and head to return to the floor, each time it is done throughout the entire routine.