Lights Along Your Spine
Begin in a seated position as you did in Part 1 of this exploration. Imagine that each of your vertebral bodies contains a light source. When you inhale, the lights brighten; when you exhale, they dim. Imagine that the 24 vertebrae and sacrum can each project a distinct beam onto a wall a few feet in front of you. Each time you breathe in, your spine subtly extends, and that makes the light beams on the wall spread slightly apart from each other—visualize that happening. Breathe slowly and steadily. After every exhalation take a second to sense the weight of your body on the chair and your feet on the floor.
Lights That Are Out
Most people will notice regions along the front of the spine that stay darkened in the mind’s eye, where the light beams don’t brighten with inhalation. The darkened places may be areas where you maintain unconscious tension along your midline. Such tension is always protective. Everyone has experienced center-wounding pain at some time in life. Our outer bodies—bone and muscle—follow the impulse to protect the deep, tender insides of our selves. The safety of our viscera is our bodies’ most urgent concern.
Getting in touch with a hidden part of your spine can be poignant work. For today, don’t ask the dimmed lights to brighten. It will be enough to simply acknowledge the shadowed place inside.
Before Next Time
Before going further with your spine enlivening practice, please re-read this earlier post. Set up your “satellite dish” or other imagery for receiving support from your “back space.” Root yourself into the ground each time you exhale. The sensation of support is essential for your next steps.
In days to come you can gently and patiently coax light into a shadowed area. You can do this by continuing to practice breathing with lights along your spine. Practice only when you can be gentle and patient. Once you grasp the idea of this exploration, you can practice it lying down, or curled into child pose. Give yourself many days or weeks to explore this. Spinal enlivening is deep, tender and ultimately transformational. And it can do wonders for your posture.
Spine Practice with People
Be aware of your front spine (always with the support of your back space) as you interact with other people. Notice how your relationships feel when you are not present with the front of your spine—and when you are.
I’d love to hear about your responses to this process.