Free Yourself from Back Pain

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Free Yourself from Back Pain

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Free Yourself from Back Pain

2nd edition, enhanced

Vanish back pain with nine movements that condition your back for any activity.

TM

Hanna Somatics Gold Lawrence Gold, Hanna somatic educator

Free Yourself from Back Pain, second edition copyright 2004 Lawrence Gold [email protected] ALL RIGHTS RESERVED Brief portions of this volume may be reproduced for use in articles and reviews. More extensive portions may be reproduced with written permission from the author.

The movements shown in this book are inherently natural and safe. However, if you have a medical condition or are concerned that you may have a medical condition, consult a physician and show him or her this program and get approval before beginning the program. Done properly, these movements relax and coordinate the muscular system. Occasionally, soreness may result for a day or two after doing them. Such soreness is normal. However, if your soreness persists for more than 24-36 hours or your symptoms worsen, stop doing this program and consult your physician or physical therapist. Since the author cannot be present to supervise you, you and he must rely upon your good judgment and intelligent application of the instructions found herein. In undertaking this program, you assume all risk of injury that may result from failure to follow the instructions correctly or from inappropriate use of this program.

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Look forward to the Whole Body yawn.

This is a book to help you work smarter rather than harder, to reclaim your body from the tyranny of pain and stiffness.

The instruction comes from outside. The learning comes from within.

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PREFACE

How Is This Program Different from Other Programs? The movements found in this book are designed to create sensations that enable you to improve your muscular control. They can free you from back trouble for a lifetime. They involve a new approach to back trouble. Instead of strengthening and stretching muscles (a common approach) they change the brain-programming that controls your entire muscular system (a more effective approach). Instead of merely strengthening your back muscles, these movements improve your ability to control your muscular tension. That means you can relax tight, painful muscles. Instead of stretching your muscles, these movements restore your muscles to their natural pliancy and suppleness. Instead of confining you to a “neutral spine position,” these movements free you for all kinds of movement. This book teaches a progressive program of brain-muscle reconditioning, rather than a selection of movements from which to choose. That means you do all of the movements in sequence for at least the minimum amount of time specified. The benefits are cumulative. You are likely to experience immediate relief each time you do a movement sequence, but as you are changing habits of muscular tension, you may sometimes find that your progress goes “two steps forward,

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one step back.” Don’t be discouraged. Persist. Each movement addresses a different aspect of the muscular system. All of these movements are of equal importance. Instead of a symptomatic approach that involves working on painful areas, only, this book provides a whole-body approach. A whole-body approach is important because the muscular system works as a whole, through coordinated movement, to maintain balance in movement. Above all, this movement program involves a learning process. You are building a sound foundation for a secure back. To learn what’s here, you will be doing some new things. Have patience; explore and practice. Go slowly and gently. To work this way is perhaps the biggest change you will have to make. The sensations these movements create are as important as the time you spend doing them. Put attention into feeling. Feel the movements as you do them. You’ll feel the difference.

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INTRODUCTION

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id your back pain start mysteriously one morning? Did it start suddenly,

when you lifted something? After an accident? A large percentage of people with back pain have nothing more than tight back muscles. Tight muscles are tired muscles, and tired muscles are often sore. Tight, tired muscles are also more prone to cramping than relaxed, refreshed muscles. Very tight back muscles may pull neighboring vertebrae together closely enough to pinch nerve roots that exit the spinal canal, causing pain and numbness in the extremities. When vertebrae are pulled closely together, discs between the vertebrae may get compressed and even break down (bulge or rupture) from long-term pressure. Many symptoms of back trouble and their underlying causes can often be corrected, or their progress stopped, by the movements shown in this program. Here’s the simple premise of this approach: Muscular tension is controlled by the brain. Some muscular activities, such as ordinary movement, are controlled by the part of the brain dedicated to voluntary control; other muscular activities, such as reflexes, are controlled by the part of the brain and nervous system dedicated to involuntary bodily functions; still other muscular activities, such as coordination, result from deliberate learning and become automatic, even involuntary. After injury, long-term performance of a movement, holding of a position, or stress, tension habits form and some freedom of movement is often lost. Control has shifted from the voluntary to the involuntary centers of the brain. The movements found in this book retrain the voluntary part of the brain to take back control of those muscles from the involuntary parts of the brain.

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Freedom of movement and comfort quickly improve. I am a certified somatic educator who, by using the methods of somatic training, has had consistent success with clients who have back trouble. The results I get with the methods I use are highly reliable, even with difficult cases. Because not everyone can get to see me or my colleagues (usually for geographical reasons), I have created this self-help book. Although not nearly as fast to produce results as clinical sessions at my office, the methods found in this book do bring relief to people with back trouble, results that are durable enough to stand up to all of the activities of daily living. All that is required is to do the movements I describe in the manner I describe, which is slowly, with awareness of the sensations of movement, and within your comfort zone. Your days of guarding a bad back can be over. Lawrence Gold Certified Hanna Somatic Educator [email protected]

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CONTENTS PREFACE How Is This Program Different from Other Programs? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . iii INTRODUCTION Understanding and Overcoming Back Pain . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 The Status Quo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 Conventional Therapeutics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 A Fresh Look . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 The Significance of the Obvious . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 My Story . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9 Stories of Others . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11 INTRODUCING THE METHOD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Orientation to the Somatic Coordination Patterns . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15 Whom is This Program For? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15 What to Expect . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15 If You’re Overweight . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16 The Origins of the Somatic Coordination Patterns . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17 UNDERSTANDING THE SOMATIC COORDINATION PATTERNS About the Coordination Patterns . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21 How to Go About Doing this Program . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22 How Best to Learn the Somatic Coordination Patterns . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22 The Instructions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25 The Feeling is the Thing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .26 Pace Yourself . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .26 Why “Gently”? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27 Learning Control vs. Stretching . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .28 What Works . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .29 The Mechanism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .30 The Meanings of Certain Terms Used in the Instructions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .31 Getting Started . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .32 Self-Assessment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .35 Preparatory Learning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .36 CHECKLIST A: Learning the Coordination Patterns . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .39 CHECKLIST B: Integrated Practice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .42

THE PROGRAM MODULE 1A: Spine Waves . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .45 Special Technique: Muscle Equalization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .47 Hidden Connections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .48 Spine Waves . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .49 MODULE 1B: Lazy “8”s . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .77 On Gravity and Sensation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .79 Lazy “8”s . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .81 MODULE 1C: The Folding Seesaw and The Kite . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .91 Centering . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .92 The Folding Seesaw . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .95 The Kite . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .99 MODULE 2A: The Wiggling Jig . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .105 Explanation: The Whole Body Yawn . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .107 The Wiggling Jig . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .111 MODULE 2B: The Yoga of the Reclining Buddha . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .133 Lengthening Your Sides . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .135 The Yoga of the Reclining Buddha . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .137 MODULE 2C: The Twist that Untwists . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .143 Explanation: Security for Your Low Back . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .145 The Twist that Untwists . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .149 MODULE 3A: In-Bed Stretches . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .161 Relation and Mutuality . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .163 In-Bed Stretches. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .165 Module 3B: The Rising Sphinx . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .189 Introduction: Claiming Your Full Flexibility . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .191 The Dog Stretch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .193 Module 3C: The Mortar & Pestle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .211 The Role of Adequate Water Intake . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .213 The Mortar and Pestle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .216

QUICK REFERENCE Pictorial Summaries of Coordination Patterns SUMMARY 1A . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .223 SUMMARY 1B . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .224 SUMMARY 1C(a) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .225 SUMMARY 1C(b) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .226 SUMMARY 1C - COMPLETE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .227 SUMMARY 2A(a) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .228 SUMMARY 2A(b) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .229 SUMMARY 2A(c) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .230 SUMMARY 2B . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .231 SUMMARY 2C . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .232 SUMMARY 3A(a) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .233 SUMMARY 3A(b) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .234 SUMMARY 3A(c) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .235 SUMMARY 3B . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .236 SUMMARY 3C . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .237 APPENDICES Appendix A: Some Comments on Typical Terms Applied to Back Pain Degenerative Disc Disease . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .241 Spinal Subluxations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .242 Injury vs. Spasm . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .242 Referred Pain . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .243 Facet Joint Syndrome . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .243 Radiculopathy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .243 Appendix B: An Experiment in Perception . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .245 Appendix C: We Become How We Live: An Expanded View of The Three Reflexes of Stress . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .249 Appendix D: A Functional Look at Back Pain and Treatment Methods . . . .265

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Understanding and Overcoming Back Pain This book has one basic message: you have a good chance of getting control of and getting rid of your back pain - even if you’ve already had surgery. In fact, if you’ve already had surgery and still have pain, what’s in this book could be what frees you from it. Such a claim may seem presumptuous. Can’t help it. At some point, when better help is available, it ought to be declared. There’s inevitably a sound of audacity to such a claim, particularly if it’s about a method other than the most well-known and accepted methods, or the newest that medical science (e.g., exotic surgeries or machines) can offer. One of my favorite sayings is, “The proof of the pudding is in the eating.” Still, if I am going to make a claim, I owe it to you to back it up with an explanation. Let me present a premise: “A large percentage of chronic pain can be traced to tight muscles.” Consider for a moment: What happens to muscles that stay tightly contracted for a time? First, they tire; then, they burn; then, they lose strength. Keep working them, they go into spasm, meaning, they simultaneously hurt and become difficult to relax. (For commentary on technical terms associated with back pain, see Appendix A.) Consider your sore back muscles. Does that description sound familiar? In that case, the question becomes how to get your tight back muscles to relax. You’ve tried massage. It works for a while, but then you tighten up, again, and you need another massage. Same thing with acupuncture; you go every two weeks or every week.

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Same thing with chiropractic. Perhaps you’ve been around the health care system and found the same thing no matter where you’ve gone: temporary or incomplete relief. That wouldn’t surprise me. Most ways of treating back pain have one thing in common: they’re something done to you or for you, not something that improves your control over your own muscles. And then, something caused your pain to return, your muscles to tighten up, again. What might that be? What causes muscles to contract? Answer: your nervous system. Your nervous system, meaning, by and large, your brain, controls your muscular system. Lift your arm, it’s your brain controlling that movement. Your muscles don’t decide to contract, or to stay contracted, on their own. Something has to control them all so that they act in coordinated ways. That something is your brain. This explanation has so far been a bit of an oversimplification, so let’s go back and fill in the picture, a bit. Firstly, there are at least two varieties of pain often experienced by back pain sufferers that are not the pain of sore muscles. One variety is “nerve pain.” Nerve pain occurs when a contracted muscle squeezes a nerve trapped between it and another muscle or a bone. Sciatica is of that variety. Another variety is joint pain, resulting from overcompression by tight muscles. Hip joint pain and facet joint pain are of that variety. Secondly, parts of our nervous system are under our voluntary control, and others run on automatic.

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In fact, though some of our brain functions are strictly automatic, our brain is designed to establish new patterns of control and to make them automatic by a process known as . . . . . learning. Learning is what happens to make our muscles stay tense. Through injury (which prompts our nervous system to contract muscles in an involuntary cringing action) or through what I call, “insult” -- stressful, demanding, or plainold hard times, (which also prompts us to tighten up) -- our brain learns to accept tension as the norm. After that, tension is established as a habit, and our brain forgets to relax muscles during times of supposed rest. Thomas Hanna, a pioneer researcher in the field of somatic education, coined a term for that condition: Sensory-Motor Amnesia. He explained the condition concisely, if technically: “It is my understanding that perhaps as many as fifty percent of the cases of chronic pain suffered by human beings are caused by sensory-motor amnesia (SMA). This is a condition in which the sensory-motor neurons of the voluntary cortex have lost some portion of their ability to control all or some of the muscles of the body.”1 The brain is the master-control organ of the muscular system. As an organ of learning and conditioning, ones own brain has a power that manipulative therapeutics does not: the ability to change how our muscles function. The question is how to activate that power. The answer is as simple as the first premise above (that much pain is muscular in origin), and this answer is my second premise: the brain changes how muscles function by learning. This learning is not an alien kind of learning. Actually, it’s a familiar kind of learning, one you experienced as you developed any skill. You learned to walk, to write, to drive, all of which are activities with a large automatic component.

1. Hanna, Thomas L., Ph.D., “Clinical Somatic Education -- A New Discipline in the Field of Health Care”. Somatics -- Magazine-Journal of the Bodily Arts and Sciences, Vol. VIII, No. 1. autumn/winter 1990-91.

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You learned to control your muscles better by causing them to do what muscles do, which is to cause movement. It’s learn by doing -- and your brain does the learning. The learning gained from this book, although a similar kind of learning, occurs in a more organized way. It’s concentrated learning, structured (and therefore easier) learning. For that reason, brain-muscle learning occurs fairly quickly and can result in changes, in weeks, of conditions that have existed for years. If you have back trouble, it is likely that you’ve lost significant control of the tension in your back muscles. You’re involuntarily tense. You need to improve your control of those muscles, so that you can relax, again. Let those muscles rest, let the soreness go out of them. Let the over-compression come off your discs. You may not be able to do that, now, but with the help of the coordination pattern sequences presented in this book, you’ll learn to do it. These coordination pattern sequences, as training exercises, can restore your trust in your back. By relaxing your muscles, your back muscles become refreshed and comfortable. By learning more efficient coordination, you get better balanced and more flexible. By learning to control your strength better, you gain better use of your strength and reduce the possibility of injury. Words like that may still seem too incredible to be believed -- an oversimplification of the problem. Many people think, "Back trouble is too painful, too serious a condition to be dismissed that quickly, or that easily." Why do people think so? Perhaps it’s due to the history of conventional treatment methods. Based on common experience, popular opinion holds that the problem of back pain is large and difficult and anyone who says anything to the contrary suffers a loss of credibility. So, let’s do a “reality check.”

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The Status Quo According to the mass communications media, back pain is a costly epidemic that afflicts eight out of ten of us sometime in our lives. Medical solutions -- drugs, exotic surgeries -- are the common fare of such reports. Sometimes other methods are featured -- acupuncture, biofeedback, relaxation techniques. For the good these approaches do -- and some people do get relief from them -- they often fail to bring lasting relief -- as you may have experienced.

Conventional Therapeutics The traditional therapies with which most people are familiar often require regular -- even lifelong -- care. It's either that, or drugs. Something else is needed. The results of conventional therapeutic measures are often temporary and the person remains vulnerable to re-injury and subject to prescribed limitations to movement. If you have had back trouble and been told to expect to live with the problem for the rest of your life, you know what I mean. Medical doctors, chiropractors, physical therapists, osteopaths, and bodyworkers use manipulative methods supplemented, in many cases, with recommendations for "strengthening and stretching". Let’s think about strengthening and stretching, for a moment. When muscles contract, they always do one thing: shorten. The stronger the muscle contracts, the shorter it gets. Weak muscles, on the other hand, cannot contract and shorten as much as strong muscles do. The idea that a muscle is both weak (and unable to shorten) and needs stretching (because too short) is a contradiction. If a muscle is too short (and needs stretching), it’s most likely because the muscle is too strongly contracted.

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A Fresh Look Clinical practitioners of the methods presented in this book very often find, upon examination of a person's musculature, that their back trouble is not a medical problem; it's a conditioning problem. Our clients usually have back muscles conditioned into a painfully high state of tension that predisposes them to muscle spasms. High-tension back spasms cause muscular soreness, compress intervertebral discs (leading to bulging or herniated discs and so-called “degenerative disc disease”), and cause the pain and numbness of sciatica. Whatever medical problems may accompany back pain, they are usually not the cause, but the effect, of heightened back tension. Back pain comes from something the body is doing, not something that is happening to it. What evidence do we have for this assertion?

The Significance of the Obvious What, exactly, is it that seizes up and hurts when you have a back spasm? Everybody knows the answer to that; what they do not know is, Why? Thomas Hanna pointed out that one thing you will almost always notice about people with back pain is their high shoulders and swayback. One thing that is almost always said about people with back trouble is that they LANDAU REACTION CLOTHES DON’T MAKE THE MAN. have weak back muscles. That’s rarely the case. Touch the lower back of people with back trouble, and you will usually find the same thing: hard, contracted muscles, not soft, flaccid muscles.

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Except for momentary reflexes controlled in the spinal cord, muscles and movement are controlled from the largest nerve center of the body, which is the brain. That's the whole story. So, if you have tight, spastic muscles or pinched nerves, the problem starts in your brain. This answer is a "good news/bad news" type of answer. The bad news is that your muscles are out of control, and it's your brain's fault! The good news is that your muscles obey your brain, and your brain can be retrained. The tension habit that keeps your back tight is the habit of being “wound up,” “on the go” -- driven, driving, and reacting to every situation. That emotional state triggers an ancient bodily reflex (known to developmental physiologists as The Landau Reaction); this reaction tightens the muscles of the spine in preparation for going from rest into activity. The Landau Reaction occurs as we go into a heightened state of alertness in preparation for moving into action; triggered incessantly for years -- by telephone calls, deadlines, hurrying to placate impatient people, and general aggravation -- that reaction becomes a tension habit, one that might outlast the stage of life when it seemed necessary. Now, because physical therapists and exercise physiologists are going to be reading this book, I need to make a bit of an aside, here. It is taught that the Landau reaction is outgrown after a certain stage of infancy and does not appear in the adult. However, the muscular pattern of contraction associated with back pain matches the Landau Reaction, and it persists throughout a lifetime. Perhaps this difference of opinion is only a matter of what we call the pattern of contraction, but whatever name we use, this pattern of contraction is common among human beings, is associated with heightened alertness, and lasts throughout a lifetime as a normal response to the demand for action. So, despite this disagreement, I refer to this pattern of contraction as the Landau reaction. Many consequences of back pain -- degenerative disk disease, facet joint irritation, pinched nerves, sciatica, headaches -- stem from habituated Landau Reaction. These consequences arise from excessive tension and strain on body tissues. They cannot be "cured" by manipulation because the body is "doing it to

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itself" and does not stop “doing it to itself” until the tension habit of The Landau Reaction is broken. The Landau Reaction is behind the back-pain epidemic in our society. However, just to clarify, The Landau Reaction is not “bad”; to the contrary: it’s a normal arousal-response to situations that need our attention. What’s “bad” is getting stuck in Landau Reaction. Getting stuck in Landau Reaction is a consequence of accumulated stress. Treatments for persons stuck in Landau Reaction (chronic tension and stress) include pain-relievers, relaxation techniques, hypnosis, massage, skeletal adjustments, electrical stimulation, muscle relaxant drugs, bed rest, and at last (as at first) pain-relievers. Bed rest has been discredited, doctors having discovered that people recover from back pain episodes more quickly when they stay active (use, i.e., assert voluntary control over, the involved muscles. Until recently, there was nothing better than the therapeutic options listed above. Now there is. New methods of learning and conditioning, such as those found in this book, rapidly improve ones ability to feel and control muscles tension, improve freedom of movement and muscular control, improve physical comfort and natural grace. Once you have sufficiently improved your control of your own body to regain your comfort and trust in your back, a brief daily regimen of movements is sufficient to keep you from accumulating the daily tensions of a driven life of job, schedules, home and career.

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COMING OUT OF

LANDAU REACTION

My Story It was Chrismas, 1979. I was moving Christmas presents from their hiding place in the hall closet to their place under the Christmas tree. This was not a particularly heavy box, but as I leaned over to pick it up -- you know what happened. It was my first back spasm, sharp and surprising. It lasted a few days and then was gone. In the years that followed, my neck would from time to time seize up in pain, preventing me from turning my head. A subsequent injury made things worse, with searing pain that went down behind my right shoulder blade and that lasted for months. In 1988, I was a student at the California State University in Fresno, majoring in Physical Therapy. Friends and family lived in the Santa Clara Valley, a three hour drive from Fresno, and I made the trip as often as time would permit. During that time, a mysterious sensation appeared in my right leg. It felt like a hot cable running from my buttock down the back of my thigh to my knee. I didn’t know what it was, but I found that the only way I could get comfortable was to tuck my leg under me and use my left foot for the accelerator. That became my driving style. By 1990, I was a student-in-training under Thomas Hanna, developer of the approach presented here. Dr. Hanna was a character with a penchant for the dramatic, a man who at age sixty-one had the body of a forty-year-old. I have a picture of him grinning down from the branches of an apricot tree on the campus of the Dominican College in San Rafael, California, where he was conducting our training. He had climbed the tree without a ladder. On the second day of training, he announced with characteristic flair that he was going to show us something that would seem to be miraculous. On the day before, he had started preparing us to learn something that had never been

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taught, before, but when he made this announcement, my “hype” meter came on strongly. I sat up, and with arms crossed, thought to myself, “O.K. Let’s see it.” He asked for a volunteer, and from those who raised their hands, he selected a tall man in his sixties with rounded shoulders and a sunken chest. He invited the man to lie down on a padded treatment table, on his back. After explaining what he was about to do, he proceeded to guide the man through a series of slow-motion, hands-on movement maneuvers that, in the space of about thirty seconds, shifted one shoulder from its held position, lifted off the table, to a new position, relaxed and flat on the table -- this, without massaging or stretching. One of the other students, a trainer in a method of bodywork called Hellerwork, had one word to say: “Astonishing!” Then, Dr. Hanna and his volunteer did the other shoulder. I had just seen something I had never seen before. Dr. Hanna had told the truth. In the weeks that followed, we students-in-training learned Dr. Hanna’s methods by ministering to each other. In the process, the hot cable behind my right thigh and my searing neck pain have disappeared and never returned. This is not the end of the story, however. In my mother’s side of the family, there is a tendency toward lower back pain. Some older members of the family have a forward-leaning posture characteristic of the elderly. I, myself, have had a similar tendency, with nagging, low-level pain at the waistline that came and went, but presented no limitation to my movement -- until one day. I had just finished delivering a workshop on somatic techniques and was helping to stack chairs when a very unexpected thing happened. My low back seized up. The pain was deep in my pelvis and felt like lightening bolts that went down the fronts of my thighs. (The ministrations of my fellow students during our training period had failed to reach that deeply.) I thought to clear the pain up by using the somatic techniques that I knew, but I couldn’t reach it. Something new was needed, and I didn’t have it.

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After weeks, the pain subsided, but in the months that followed, recurred several times. If I was to get relief and to be able to walk my talk, I felt I had no alternative but to explore the problem and arrive at a solution. I took two years or so of delving into movement explorations, but I finally found a combination of coordinated movements that reached where nothing had reached, before. I was able, at last, to relax the deep contractions of my pain and achieve relief. “Physician, heal thyself,” was a phrase Dr. Hanna used in one of his lectures to us. I was at last able to be true to Dr. Hanna’s challenge and to be a well-tested example of what I represented to others. Further exploration of those coordination patterns have led to new techniques and to refinements of the movements, themselves, which I present to you in this book.

Stories of Others In working with clients, I have come across some interesting situations. I’ll present some here. “Tobe,” an avid rider and fox hunter, had a history of injuries from falling off her horse. She had what she described as “horrible sciatica and lower back pain” that was ruining her life. In her own words, “I hurt all the time. I tried chiropractic, massage, and pain killers. Nothing worked.” She was unable to sleep on her back or to maintain any lying position for more than a few minutes. I will not pretend that this was a quick fix. Tobe had so many injuries that the pain of one injury would prevent us from doing the movements that would free her from the pain of another. Eventually, however, we were able to unravel the situation, and she now sleeps comfortably on her back and has no need of either treatment or pain medication.

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“James,” a sculptor, suffered debilitating back and neck pain that interfered with his ability to work. A tall man, he had multiple postural problems. In addition to a tight low back, he had a tight chest that pulled his ribs down, restricting his breathing and forcing his head forward. A moment’s visualization and you can see how this would be the posture of someone who stoops forward to be close to his work, and perhaps to be less tall in a world of shorter people. In fact, because of the nature of his work, James tends to recreate the problem. Under my guidance, using the methods shown in this book, he has been able to get relief and to maintain it by himself for long periods of time. The significance of his story is that people’s occupations can cause them problems, but that by using the methods shown in this book, they can recover and maintain their physical comfort. As Dr. Hanna put it, “You can have your cake and eat it, too.” Another person, Janette, was unable to see me in person, due to geographical distance. Having been diagnosed with a slipped disc and a disc bulge, and having failed to obtain relief from physiotherapy or from two years of osteopathic treatment, she sought help on the internet and found Somatics on the Web (somatics.com). After consulting with me by e-mail, she began a program of somatic instruction that brought her relief. Her letter appears on the website at www.somatics.com/JCourt.htm. “Sally,” a health-educator in California and a small woman, suffered injury when she was hugged rather too enthusiastically by a large man. You can imagine. She also found me on the internet. Her diagnosis: ligament damage. Listening to her story, I was unconvinced of the diagnosis. It takes an awful lot to damage ligaments. Since the methods I offer are gentle and non-invasive, it was perfectly safe for Sally to try them. She has since recovered her physical comfort. I have presented some rather challenging cases, including my own. I am confident that with the methods presented here, you, too, can obtain the relief you need.

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Introducing the Method

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Orientation to This Program Whom is This Program For? This program is for people who have had back injuries that have not healed as expected, for people with discomfort accompanying scoliosis or excessive kyphosis (types of curvature of the spine), for people who want to improve their posture, and for professional athletes who want to improve their performance and reduce the likelihood of injury. It is appropriate for people with long-standing chronic, and recent acute injuries. If you have had a recent injury, however, get the advice of your physician before beginning any regimen of physical conditioning. Show this program to your physician and to your physical therapist, if you are under their care, to find out if they are ruled out by your condition. Ask if you might try the coordination patterns under their supervision (with them guiding you).

What to Expect Generally, you can expect decreases of chronic pain and increases in freedom of movement. You can expect improvements in flexibility, strength, coordination, balance, posture and appearance. You’ll feel better and look better. Your energy for movement is likely to increase. In fact, expect to discover that you have more strength and more energy for movement. You may find that your comfort and flexibility improve immediately with each pass through a movement sequence. Sometimes, you may also notice that some of the pain returns. If it returns, that means you haven’t yet sufficiently retrained your brain; your old conditioning is reasserting itself. Don’t worry. Just persist in the program, and you’ll find that your improvements accumulate. The results you get will largely reflect how well you convert words into actions. Your first performances of these coordination patterns are likely to be approximations of the instructions; you may find, at times, that what you think you are doing and what you are actually doing are a bit different! With practice,

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you will find you can do the movements more exactly as instructed and get quicker improvements. These coordination patterns are safe to do, provided you do them gently and with consideration for your comfort. Regulate your effort to be within the range of sensations you are willing to experience.

If You’re in the Acute Phase of Back Pain You’ll have to go more gently and exercise patience. It’s a practical question: Can you do the movements as shown or does your pain prevent it? If your pain prevents it, you need to do what you can and work up to doing the movements as instructed. If you’re in acute pain, I recommend that you do three gentle sessions per day. The pain will subside in the hours that follow each session. Once you’ve got more movement, you may reduce to two and then one session per day.

If You’re Overweight If you’re overweight, particularly if you have a belly that protrudes significantly, you have a preparatory project ahead of you: lose the excess weight. I’m sorry to say it, but that belly adds significant strain to your back. The more weight you have forward of your midline, the more you must bend back from your waist, up, to stay in balance. Otherwise, that weight pulls you forward and off-balance. The muscles that enable you to bend back are found in your midand-upper back, aided by your low back muscles. In other words, you are unlikely have a completely successful outcome from this program without dealing with your excess weight. I have some suggestions -- the usual ones. Diet and exercise. By “diet,” I don’t mean go on a diet. I mean change your diet and eating habits permanently. That may mean eating smaller portions, and it probably means changing your dietary mix. Carbohydrates, particularly simple

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carbohydrates -- sugars and white flour -- raise the blood insulin level and cause carbohydrates to be stored as fat. As dietary recommendations are beyond the scope of this book, my recommendation is that you start reading about diet and start experimenting until you find a dietary mix that works for you. By “exercise,” I mean some activity that gets your metabolic rate up. A walk for twenty minutes, twice a day, will help. Your metabolic rate, once elevated by exercise, tends to stay elevated for hours. I also mean some activity that builds muscles, as muscles burn fat. If you hurt too much to exercise, start with this program, and when your pain levels are lower, exercise more.

About Emotions and Nervous Tension The term, “nervous tension,” has a physical as well as an emotional meaning. It’s summarized in the slang expression, “uptight,” and refers to the fact that emotional tension is accompanied by muscular tension. It’s the mindbody connection in action. Sometimes, habits of life contribute to emotional tension. Sometimes, muscular tension lingers after the emotional tension has passed. If you’re passing through an emotionally trying period of life, you need to handle the issues surrounding your emotional tension, which by itself can trigger nervous tension and back pain. Even so, this program will give you relief. To help you get a handle on clearing up the habits of life that may be contributing to emotional tension in some readers, I have included a reprint of an article of mine originally published in Somatics -- the Magazine-Journal of the Mind-Body Arts and Sciences. You’ll find it in Appendix C. If you’re under emotional stress beyond that caused by your back pain, I recommend you read it and make the necessary changes in your habits of life.

The Origins of the Somatic Coordination Patterns The word, “somatic,” is a word with a special meaning. It refers to the body experienced and controlled from within. Derived from ancient Greek, “soma,”

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means “living, self-aware body.” This self-awareness includes the kind of internal self-awareness you have of chewing or yawning, for example. Though the somatic coordination patterns are new, their underlying principles are similar to those of ancient yoga, dating back thousands of years. The word, “yoga”, means “union,” including, specifically, the union of mind and body. The somatic coordination patterns improve your sense of the union of your mind and body; your body will be able better to do what your mind intends it to do. So both the meaning of the word, soma, and the basic discoveries upon which the somatic coordination patterns are based, are ancient. More recently, four individuals stand out as originators whose work contributed to the methods found in this program: F. Mathhias Alexander, Gerda Alexander ((no relation to F. Matthias), Moshe Feldenkrais, and Thomas Hanna. F. Matthias Alexander developed a system of movement education called The Alexander Technique. Many practitioners of that approach exist today. Alexander was a Shakespearean orator whose techniques grew out his search for a way to control his stage fright, which was causing him to lose his voice. Gerda Alexander was another developer of somatic education, whose method was called Eutony. Feldenkrais studied both Alexanders’ work, and evolved it with his own insights and methods. He called the result, Functional Integration. Hanna, in turn, evolved Functional Integration along his own lines, calling the result Hanna Somatic Education, which he first described in his book, Somatics: Reawakening the Mind’s Control of Movement, Flexibility, and Health (published by Perseus Publishing). In each case, what was involved was a way to improve self-awareness and freedom of movement - intentions originally found in ancient yoga. All somatic coordination patterns, including those developed by Alexander, Feldenkrais, and Hanna, enhance your ability to function by having you put your intention where your attention is and your attention where your intention is. The integration of what I learned from Thomas Hanna and others, coupled with my own research and development efforts, has led to the somatic coordination patterns found in this book.

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Understanding the Somatic Developmental Coordination Patterns

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About the Coordination Patterns THE COORDINATION PATTERNS DON’T LOOK LIKE MUCH. WHAT THEY FEEL LIKE IS SOMETHING ELSE. In the sessions that follow, you will recover and improve voluntary control of the muscles that affect your back. Some of these muscles are in your back and others affect the muscles in your back by affecting your posture and balance. As you improve your control of these muscles, involuntary tensions let go. The muscles stay in a relaxed state unless you are using them. The most common mistake people make doing the coordination patterning is to use too much effort, which sometimes leads to cramping. If you get a cramp, use less effort and lend more attention to what you are feeling. Soon, you will no longer tend to cramp. You should also know that there is a possibility of some soreness appearing once you have started working with the coordination patterns. Don’t worry. Soreness is a normal, but temporary, outcome for a certain percentage of people. It passes by itself in a day or so. If you do get sore, give yourself a rest for a day, then pick up where you left off in the program. I present these coordination patterns in a specific sequence; each coordination pattern builds upon the gains produced by those that came before. If you find a coordination pattern too difficult or painful, don’t worry. Instructions will guide you to a preparatory coordination pattern that will make things easier. Take your time progressing from one coordination pattern to the next; be thorough and patient. You need the results from the earlier coordination patterns to get the best results from the later ones.

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How to Go About Doing this Program Since you’re making changes in yourself, it’s important to know what you mean to do. My basic suggestions: • Make sure you understand the ideas in this section. • Play the audio CDs and follow along in this book. Use the illustrations to make sure the instructions make sense to you. • When doing the coordination patterns, exercise patience. Allow for some confusion at the beginning. This is a learning process, after all. At the end of this section, you will find a checklist that guides you through the program. Each day has a space for you to make an appointment with yourself and with me (via this program). Each time you complete a session (daily is best), check off the corresponding place in the checklist abd decide on a time for your next session. Enter it into the space. It’s now a “prior engagement.”

How Best to Learn the Somatic Coordination Patterns First, set a time in your schedule. There is a checklist at the end of this section To be effective, the somatic coordination patterns require concentration, care, and undistracted time. Allow yourself about thirty minutes, each session; many will be shorter. The coordination patterns provide a learning experience. Learn to perform them equally well, with equal control. After you have learned a coordination pattern, you are ready to learn the next. • Start with larger muscular efforts; use enough muscular effort to feel where the muscular effort is; gain confidence. • Decrease the amount of effort; improve your control of how much effort you use (more or less). The meaning of the instructions becomes clearer with experience. Always do them in an exploratory, deliberate way, rather than in a rote, mechanical way. There is an unsuspected depth of self-awareness in you, revealed by the

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coordination patterns, and the more you do them, the more you will benefit. The somatic coordination patterns are more than they may seem to be. To get the most benefit from a somatic coordination pattern, go slowly enough to sense the movement as you do it, using just enough effort to sense the movement, and feeling the areas indicated in the instructions. If you feel areas tense other than those indicated, feel whether they are actually needed for the movement, and if not, relax them. That way, you will continually uncover patterns of tension you have held without awareness and be able to relax them. Practically speaking, the first time you do a movement, you are likely to need more muscular effort to sense your muscular effort than you will with subsequent repetitions. Use as much effort as needed to get a bit more sensation in the involved areas (the amount of sensation you are willing to experience); never cause yourself to cringe, from pain, from over-effort, or from fear. Once you can feel how you cause a movement to occur, decrease the amount of effort as your ability to feel muscles awakens. Soon, you will be more able to distinguish the muscles that are non-essential to the movement and to let them be relaxed. To repeat, as you start a coordination pattern: • Notice the first sensation of effort as you move from rest into action. • During the contraction phase of a movement, hold the contraction long enough for the feeling of the contraction to “fade in” and stabilize. During the relaxation phase, relax slowly; the relaxation phase, done slowly, produces significant improvements in muscular control. • As you end a movement, notice the last sensation of effort as it disappears into rest. • Always relax completely between repetitions of a movement. Take your time. The earlier sessions prepare you for those that come later. Do one new session several times within a week until it’s very familiar to you. Follow each

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session with a brief review of the previous one; use the illustrated summary page to remind you how to do it. If a coordination pattern seems too difficult or feels painful, go more slowly and more gently. If you haven’t spent enough time with an earlier coordination pattern, you may need to go back to an earlier session to prepare yourself better. If you find that going back to an earlier coordination pattern doesn’t help, follow the instructions to a coordination pattern elsewhere in the program that can prepare you for the one with which you’re having difficulty. Given the tendency people have to accumulate nervous tension, you will probably find it beneficial to spend about ten minutes a day reviewing the coordination patterns in the order in which they appear, in this program. You may be surprised at the new improvements you get with each pass through.

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The Instructions Each set of instructions starts with a STARTING POSITION, followed by the KEY to the coordination pattern. The is a special hint for doing the coordination pattern in good form, for best (and easiest) results. The symbol appears at instructions where the helps to get the result. The somatic coordination patterns often have several parts, which you add together for greater potency. The simplest steps of the movement are numbered. More advanced additions to movements appear as follows:

1.

(main instruction, basic level) ⇒ 2nd level⇒ (additional instruction)

(intermediate level)

⇒ 3rd level⇒ (additional instruction) (more proficient level)

Adding the additional parts makes a coordination pattern more potent, provided you are doing the basic part correctly. For that reason, it is necessary to rehearse the basic part until you can do it easily, before adding the additional parts. Within each module, you’ll notice that numbering often starts over at (1.). Each new set of instructions starting with (1.) is a unit to be practiced by itself until you get the intended sensations, before moving on. Do all of the units of a module. In a section that follows the instructional modules, you will find a pictorial SUMMARY. In most cases, the SUMMARY is a short form of the instructions. As with any summary, it’s useful only as a reminder of what you have already

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learned, not as a substitute for the full instructions, themselves. Once you have gotten the results from this program and are in the maintenance phase, when you do a few minues a day, use a SUMMARY to remind yourself how to do a coordination pattern. Significant results come relatively quickly from doing the somatic coordination patterns. Make them part of your daily regimen. With experience, you’ll know how much time you want to take.

The Feeling is the Thing Unlike most systems of exercise, the essence of the somatic coordination patterns is the sensations they produce, particularly during the slow relaxation phase of each somatic coordination pattern. The long-term change occurs during the relaxation phase.

Pace Yourself Doing things at the usual speed, we tend to do them in the usual way. The whole point of these coordination patterns is to do something in a new way: to change how we move and how we feel. You may have noticed that you can’t see much detail in things that are moving quickly; it’s much easier to see the details of things that are moving slowly. The same is true of your body-image. In the case of the somatic coordination patterns, the slower you move, the more time you have for details to “fade in” to your perception. In other words, during a movement, you may not at first perceive the restrictions and habitual tensions of your usual way of moving. However, as you slow down and pay attention to the sensation of effort, you discover the unnecessary tensions you hold during movement. For example, people forget to breathe! You may even discover that you are holding tension that directly interferes with the movement of a coordination pattern.

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If you catch the interfering tension at the very moment it begins, you will be able to relax it. At that point, you can release the interfering tension. As you do, you will notice your movement getting smoother, feeling more elegant and under your control. If you catch interfering tension too late (because you’ve gone too fast), it is already too much a part of the movement for you to relax. So, to go slowly is essential. Go slower with each repetition, maintaining the smoothness of the movement. At the beginning of this explanation were the words, “The whole point of these coordination patterns is to do something in a new way: to change how we move and feel.” These words are, at this moment, an abstract generality to you; they don’t have much meaning. Their meaning will be obvious once you experience results from the coordination patterns. Here’s another set of words that will have meaning once you start the coordination patterns: INTEND, ALLOW, DO. That means, “Know exactly what you INTEND to do, get the distinct feeling of ALLOWING yourself to do it (relax into doing it), and then, DO it.

Why “Gently”? Another way of putting it would be, “in a leisurely way.” To do the movements in this program gently (or in a leisurely way) calls for you to develop more care and awareness of what you are doing. So going gently is not being lazy, nor is it a sign that you are weak. It is a way of operating more carefully and attentively, and it is particularly valuable when confronting a challenge. It is a way of working smarter, not harder. It also teaches your brain what less contracted muscles feel like and cultivates a shift from more contracted (at rest) toward relaxed.

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Finally, it teaches control. Instead of muscles being stuck in contraction, you develop the ability to control the degree of contraction -- essential for balance, agility and grace. So, “gently” is a secret key to improve control.

Learning Control vs. Stretching Concerns with stretching muscles point to one key observation: muscles get shortened. The key question is, “Why?” The nervous system controls the muscular system. Muscles have no control of their own. The obvious conclusion to draw is that muscles get shortened because the nervous system is stimulating them to contract. That being the case, how can someone’s being stretched (or adjusted or massaged) by someone else possibly change the person’s way of controlling their own muscles? How can a person internalize the change merely by being manipulated from outside? To internalize a change requires learning (to do for oneself), the need for which is neither recognized nor intended when being stretched by another. The changes that result from stretching are therefore generally unpredictable and unstable. As a result, people return, by tendency, to the level of tension (or shortening) they experience habitually. Athletes and dancers attempt to stretch their hamstrings (at the backs of the thighs), for example, to avoid injury. “Attempt” is the correct word because stretching produces only limited and temporary effects, which is one reason why so many athletes (and dancers) suffer pulled hamstrings and knee problems. Clearly, whatever benefits stretching confers, it has some significant drawbacks. As anyone who has had someone stretch their hamstrings (or any other muscle) knows, forcible stretching is usually a painful ordeal. Because muscles cannot relax and lengthen beyond what the conditioned postural reflexes permit, attempts to stretch muscles work against those reflexes. Someone stretches their muscles. The muscles resist. It hurts. Afterwards, the muscles feel weaker. So

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they tighten up, again. This return of muscular tension (controlled by conditioned postural reflexes) makes repeated stretching necessary. Fortunately, there is a way out of this situation, another way to deal with muscular tension than by stretching. To understand how it works, we must first start with the recognition that muscles that need stretching are usually holding tension -- that is, they are actively contracting. The person is holding them tense by habit, usually involuntarily and without awareness. Oddly enough, if you try to relax muscles that are habitually tight, using an act of will, you are likely to find that your ability to do so is limited; you cannot relax past a certain point, even with special breathing, visualization, or other non-learning based techniques. At that point, you may assume that those muscles are completely relaxed and need stretching. You may not recognize that you are contracting “on automatic” due to postural habits stored in your brain. Any attempt to stretch them simply re-triggers the impulse to re-contract them to restore the sense of what is “familiar”. That is why hamstrings (and other muscles) tighten up again so soon after stretching or massage. Better results come by changing the muscles’ tension-set-point -- the degree of relaxation muscles attain when we are not voluntarily contracting them. Ponder this point for a moment until you understand it.

What Works ... is to shift the “tension-set-point” that your muscles habitually assume from one of continual tension to natural relaxation. That way, you contract only when you intend to do so. To change the set-point requires more than stretching or massaging; it requires a learning process that affects the brain, which controls the muscular system. Such a learning process is referred to in some circles as “somatic training” or “somatic education.” Somatic development involves enhancing the ability to feel the body from within. The brain “wakes up” and its ability to control muscular tension, relaxation, and coordination, is enhanced. Techniques that enhance the ability to feel the body from within often use systematic exercise techniques and movement maneuvers to improve the brain-

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body connection. These techniques do what biofeedback does, but without need for electronic instruments -- and the results are usually more durable, more robust, than the results of biofeedback.

The Mechanism By deliberately contracting already-contracted muscles, using patterns of movement, the coordination patterns send a clear sensory signal to the brain, a signal that wakes up (or refreshes) the related nerve pathways. By releasing the contraction in slow motion, you improve your brain’s ability to control the amount of muscular tension. Performance in slow-motion gives a clearer and more complete body image. Slow motion is the key to coordination patterns and to any other learning process where details make a difference. Significant results come relatively quickly from doing somatic coordination patterns, and when they do, the benefits are durable, feel second-nature, and require no special attention during ordinary activities. To avoid accumulating tension from stress responses in daily life -- or from repetitive use of certain movement patterns -- it is advisable to include a few minutes of somatic coordination patterns in your daily health regimen. Continuing to do somatic coordination patterns produces cumulative improvements in muscular control and decreases the likelihood of injury during vigorous activities. With the looseness that develops, you are likely to develop a preference for somatic coordination patterns over stretching.

TO CHANGE YOUR SET-POINT REQUIRES MORE THAN STRETCHING OR MASSAGING; IT REQUIRES YOU TO IMPROVE YOUR CONTROL OVER YOUR MUSCULAR TENSION -- BOTH YOUR AMOUNT OF STRENGTH AND YOUR COORDINATION. THIS BOOK TEACHES YOU TO DO JUST THAT.

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The Meanings of Certain Terms Used in the Instructions In the instructions, certain terms have specific meanings. So you have an easier time understanding the instructions, I define these terms, below. To understand them once is sufficient -- so take your time to understand them. lift = to move away from the ground, against gravity up = away from the ground, against graviy lower = to move toward the ground, giving in to gravity down = toward the ground, giving in to gravity push = to apply force away from yourself pull = to draw toward yourself underside = the side on which you are lying or sitting topside = your uppermost side in relation to the Earth slowly = slowly enough to feel your movement continuously as you move gently = two “degrees” more gently than you think of as gentle, but with enough effort to feel what you are doing smoothly = without sudden movements or loss of control where the movement comes from = as you move, the location of the most vivid sensation of muscular contraction, as revealed by the sense of effort ... the location of a contraction, not of a stretch. hold = to maintain an effort at a steady level Pause in place. = Stop moving and stay in position. Pause and feel. = Stop moving, and in the position you are in, feel your muscles at work. Feel what’s working. = Feel which muscles are working by the sense of effort.

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Getting Started The coordination patterns in this book are organized so that if one coordination pattern is too painful or difficult for you to do, another coordination pattern will prepare you for it. When you return to the previous coordination pattern, you will now find it do-able. The following diagram shows the main sequence (coordination patterns of same color) and the “debugging” sequence (indicated by arrows). You go to the “debugging” pattern and do it for four days, then return to the coordination pattern from which you came. Table 1: Learning Plan MODULE 1

MODULE 2

MODULE 3

Spine Waves

The Wigging Jig

In-Bed Stretches

COORDINATION PATTERN B

Lazy “8”s

Yoga of the Reclining Buddha

The Dog Stretch

COORDINATION PATTERN C

The Folding Seesaw

The Twist that Untwists

The Mortar & Pestle

COORDINATION PATTERN A

Do the coordination patterns at least once each day. Twice is better -- once in the morning and once in the evening: before dinner, after dinner, or just before going to bed. That way, you set the tone for your day (more comfortable) and for your night of sleep (more relaxed). The hardest part of this program will probably be to get started. So, begin the program immediately by reading Self-Assessment and Preparatory Learning, which follow this section. Then do the coordination pattern. It will take you about five minutes.

32

To start any new program requires an act of will -- self-determination. An easy way to see how determined you really are is to repeat the following sentence to yourself: “I’m doing this program until I get results.” Repeat it to yourself now, three times. Afterwards, notice what you feel about doing the program. That may also reveal something about how you “do” your life. As a general guideline, spend at least one week with one coordination pattern, done thoroughly several times, before moving on. These coordination patterns have a depth that is not achieved in one or two performances. More performance brings more results; there is an unsuspected depth in these coordination patterns and in you. One final word: You may get results early on in this program. You may be inclined to stop there. Continue through the whole program. Unsuspected benefits await you.

33

NOTE: THE IMPROVEMENTS YOU GET FROM THE SOMATIC COORDINATION PATTERNS ARE CUMULATIVE. UNLIKE CONVENTIONAL POSTURAL TRAINING, YOU DO NOT NEED TO HOLD GOOD POSTURE TO HAVE GOOD POSTURE AFTER DOING THESE COORDINATION PATTERNS. YOUR POSTURE WILL IMPROVE NATURALLY. DO NOT HOLD “GOOD POSTURE,” AS IT ONLY ADDS TENSION TO YOUR OTHER HABITUAL TENSIONS. IF ANYTHING, ASSUME A LONG, TALL POSTURE THEN RELAX INTO IT AND LET GO. ONCE YOU FEEL IMPROVEMENTS, GET ACTIVE. DON’T GUARD AREAS BECAUSE THEY “MIGHT” HURT. THE SAYING, “USE IT OR LOSE IT,” APPLIES.

34

Self-Assessment There is a common pattern of muscular tension in people with back trouble. This pattern usually involves tension in the muscles at the backs of the shoulders, along the spine, in the buttocks, and sometimes the neck and hamstrings. This section gives you a chance to get familiar with your pattern of muscular tension. It’s useful to have a clear picture of where you’re starting, so you can recognize and own your progress. After you complete each coordination pattern, you will have a chance to feel the changes. Lie on your back. As you lie there, notice how much space there is between your low back and the surface on which you’re lying. Slide a hand under your low back and feel the space. Do that now. (Stop reading.) - ~ o 0 O 0 o ~ The space you felt is the result of the muscles of your low back contracting. As they do, their tension has the same effect on your back as the string of an archer’s bow: The tension of your back muscles creates a curve in your back just as the tension of the bowstring creates the curve of the archer’s bow. Other muscles at the front of your hip joints may be contributing. The coordination patterns that follow will retrain your muscles to relax. You will feel this curve decrease as you do them. Lie on your back, again. Feel how your shoulders and buttocks contact the surface. Do this now. (Stop reading.) - ~ o 0 O 0 o ~ After each coordination pattern, take some time to feel how your shoulders and buttocks meet the surface.

35

Preparatory Learning STARTING POSITION:

• lying on your back • knees up, legs balanced (upright) leaning neither in nor out • arms bent with hands at shoulder height

5

1.

Bring your attention to your breathing.

2.

Bring your attention to your throat behind your nose.

3.

Feel your throat (behind your nose) cool with inhalation, warm with exhalation. You have located the place where your head rests upon your topmost neck vertebra, on the inside. In the following coordination patterns, this place is called, “the place behind your nose.”

36

4.

By moving your head slowly in a nodding (“yes”) movement, locate the head position at which the place behind your nose, in your throat, opens, and the place at the back of your head where your neck meets, begins to close. That’s known as “the neutral position.”

37

• Always regulate your effort to be within your comfort zone: the amount of sensation you can experience without fear or cringing. • Follow the instructions, but breathe when you need to! • Begin with the least amount of effort needed to feel your effort. You may need to contract and relax a number of times to feel it. • Contract your muscles in a leisurely way and slowly enough to feel the first sensation of effort. Notice where you feel it. Feel there continuously through the movement. • Let the sensation “set in” before relaxing. • Be sure to relax completely between repetitions. • To repeat, be sure to relax completely between repetitions.

38

CHECKLIST A Learning the Coordination Patterns The following checklist helps you get and stay on course. Each time you finish the day’s program, check the box [ ] and make an appointment for your next session in the space marked, “NEXT APPOINTMENT DATE AND TIME.” Mark your calendar, also. That’s your next appointment with me, via this program. If you miss an appointment, just set another time and pick up where you left off. If you don’t complete a day’s program, complete that day’s program, next time. Start the next day’s program, the time after that. Light face indicates “introduction”; bold face indicates instruction. Day 1 MODULE 1 [ ] ________________________

Spine Waves

page 45

CD 1

tracks 4, 5

Spine Waves

page 45

CD 1

tracks 4, 5

Spine Waves

page 45

CD 1

tracks 4, 5

Spine Waves

page 45

CD 1

tracks 4, 5

Spine Waves

page 45

CD 1

tracks 4, 5

Spine Waves

page 45

CD 1

tracks 4, 5

Lazy “8”s

page 77

CD 2

tracks 1, 2

Lazy “8”s

page 77

CD 2

tracks 1, 2

NEXT APPOINTMENT DAY AND TIME

Day 2 MODULE 1 [ ] ________________________ NEXT APPOINTMENT DAY AND TIME

Day 3 MODULE 1 [ ] ________________________ NEXT APPOINTMENT DAY AND TIME

Day 4 MODULE 1 [ ] ________________________ NEXT APPOINTMENT DAY AND TIME

Day 5 MODULE 1 [ ] ________________________ NEXT APPOINTMENT DAY AND TIME

Day 6 MODULE 1 [ ] ________________________ NEXT APPOINTMENT DAY AND TIME

Day 7 MODULE 1 [ ] ________________________ NEXT APPOINTMENT DAY AND TIME

Day 8 MODULE 1 [ ] ________________________ NEXT APPOINTMENT DAY AND TIME

39

Day 9 MODULE 1 [ ] ________________________

Lazy “8”s

page 77

CD 2

tracks 1, 2

Spine Waves

page 45

CD 1

tracks 4, 5

Lazy “8”s

page 77

CD 2

tracks 1, 2

Lazy “8”s

page 77

CD 2

tracks 1, 2

Lazy “8”s

page 77

CD 2

tracks 1, 2

Spine Waves

page 45

CD 1

tracks 4, 5

The Folding Seesaw and The Kite

page 91

CD 2

tracks 3, 4, 5

The Folding Seesaw and The Kite

page 91

CD 2

tracks 4, 5

The Folding Seesaw and The Kite

page 91

CD 2

tracks 4, 5

Lazy “8”s

page 77

CD 2

tracks 1, 2

The Folding Seesaw and The Kite

page 91

CD 2

tracks 3, 4, 5

The Folding Seesaw and The Kite

page 91

CD 2

tracks 3, 4, 5

NEXT APPOINTMENT DAY AND TIME

Day 10 MODULE 1 [ ] ________________________ NEXT APPOINTMENT DAY AND TIME

Day 11 MODULE 1 [ ] ________________________ NEXT APPOINTMENT DAY AND TIME

Day 12 MODULE 1 [ ] ________________________ NEXT APPOINTMENT DAY AND TIME

Day 14 MODULE 1 [ ] ________________________ NEXT APPOINTMENT DAY AND TIME

Day 15 MODULE 1 [ ] ________________________ NEXT APPOINTMENT DAY AND TIME

Day 16 MODULE 1 [ ] ________________________ NEXT APPOINTMENT DAY AND TIME

Day 17 MODULE 1 [ ] ________________________ NEXT APPOINTMENT DAY AND TIME

Day 17 MODULE 1 [ ] ________________________ NEXT APPOINTMENT DAY AND TIME

Day 18 MODULE 1 [ ] ________________________ NEXT APPOINTMENT DAY AND TIME

Day 19 MODULE 1 [ ] ________________________ NEXT APPOINTMENT DAY AND TIME

Day 20 MODULE 1 [ ] ________________________ NEXT APPOINTMENT DAY AND TIME

40

Day 21 MODULE 1 [ ] ________________________

The Folding Seesaw and The Kite

page

91

CD 2

tracks 3, 4, 5

Spine Waves

page

45

CD 1

tracks 4, 5

The Wiggling Jig

page 111 page 118

CD 2 CD 3

tracks 6, 7 track 1

The Wiggling Jig

page 111 page 118

CD 2 CD 3

tracks 6, 7 track 1

The Wiggling Jig

page 118 page 130

CD 3 CD 3

track 1 track 2

The Wiggling Jig

page 118 page 130

CD 3 CD 3

track 1 track 2

The Wiggling Jig

page 111 page 118

CD 2 CD 3

track 7 track 1

The Wiggling Jig

page 111 page 118

CD 2 CD 3

track 7 track 1

The Wiggling Jig page 111 The Yoga of the Reclining Buddha page 137

CD 2 CD 3

track 7 tracks 3, 4

The Wiggling Jig page 111 The Yoga of the Reclining Buddha page 137

CD 2 CD 3

track 7 track 4

The Wiggling Jig page 118 The Yoga of the Reclining Buddha page 137

CD 3 CD 3

track 1 track 4

The Wiggling Jig page 118 The Yoga of the Reclining Buddha page 137

CD 3 CD 3

track 1 track 4

NEXT APPOINTMENT DAY AND TIME

Day 22 MODULE 1 [ ] ________________________ NEXT APPOINTMENT DAY AND TIME

Day 23 MODULE 2 [ ] ________________________ NEXT APPOINTMENT DAY AND TIME

Day 24 MODULE 2 [ ] ________________________ NEXT APPOINTMENT DAY AND TIME

Day 25 MODULE 2 [ ] ________________________ NEXT APPOINTMENT DAY AND TIME

Day 26 MODULE 2 [ ] ________________________ NEXT APPOINTMENT DAY AND TIME

Day 27 MODULE 2 [ ] ________________________ NEXT APPOINTMENT DAY AND TIME

Day 28 MODULE 2 [ ] ________________________ NEXT APPOINTMENT DAY AND TIME

Day 29 MODULE 2 [ ] ________________________ NEXT APPOINTMENT DAY AND TIME

Day 30 MODULE 2 [ ] ________________________ NEXT APPOINTMENT DAY AND TIME

Day 31 MODULE 2 [ ] ________________________ NEXT APPOINTMENT DAY AND TIME

Day 32 MODULE 2 [ ] ________________________ NEXT APPOINTMENT DAY AND TIME

41

Day 33 MODULE 2 [ ] ________________________

The Wiggling Jig page 130 The Yoga of the Reclining Buddha page 137

CD 3 CD 3

track 2 track 4

The Wiggling Jig page 130 The Yoga of the Reclining Buddha page 137

CD 3 CD 3

track 2 track 4

The Yoga of the Reclining Buddha page 137 The Twist that Untwists page 149

CD 3 CD 4

track 4 tracks 1, 2

The Yoga of the Reclining Buddha page 137 The Twist that Untwists page 149

CD 3 CD 4

track 4 tracks 1, 2

The Yoga of the Reclining Buddha page 137 The Twist that Untwists page 149

CD 3 CD 4

track 4 tracks 1, 2

In-Bed No-Stretch Stretches

page 165 page 171

CD 4

tracks 3, 4, 5

In-Bed No-Stretch Stretches

page 165 page 171

CD 4

tracks 4, 5

In-Bed No-Stretch Stretches

page 165 page 171

CD 4

tracks 4, 5

In-Bed No-Stretch Stretches

page 165 page 183

CD 4 CD 5

track 4 track 1

In-Bed No-Stretch Stretches

page 165 page 183

CD 4 CD 5

track 4 track 1

In-Bed No-Stretch Stretches

page 165 page 183

CD 4 CD 5

track 4 track 1

The Rising Sphinx

page 193

CD 5

tracks 2, 3

NEXT APPOINTMENT DAY AND TIME

Day 34 MODULE 2 [ ] ________________________ NEXT APPOINTMENT DAY AND TIME

Day 35 MODULE 2 [ ] _______________________ [ ] NEXT APPOINTMENT DAY AND TIME

Day 36 MODULE 2 [ ] _______________________ [ ] NEXT APPOINTMENT DAY AND TIME

Day 37 MODULE 2 [ ] _______________________ [ ] NEXT APPOINTMENT DAY AND TIME

Day 38 MODULE 3 [ ] ________________________ NEXT APPOINTMENT DAY AND TIME

Day 39 MODULE 3 [ ] ________________________ NEXT APPOINTMENT DAY AND TIME

Day 40 MODULE 3 [ ] ________________________ NEXT APPOINTMENT DAY AND TIME

Day 41 MODULE 3 [ ] ________________________ NEXT APPOINTMENT DAY AND TIME

Day 42 MODULE 3 [ ] ________________________ NEXT APPOINTMENT DAY AND TIME

Day 43 MODULE 3 [ ] ________________________ NEXT APPOINTMENT DAY AND TIME

Day 44 MODULE 3 [ ] ________________________ NEXT APPOINTMENT DAY AND TIME

42

Day 45 MODULE 3 [ ] ________________________

The Rising Sphinx

page 183

CD 5

tracks 2, 3

The Rising Sphinx

page 193

CD 5

tracks 2, 3

Day 47 MODULE 3 [ ] ________________________

The Yoga of the Reclining Buddha page 137

CD 3

track 4

Day 48 MODULE 3 [ ] ________________________

The Rising Sphinx

page 193

CD 5

tracks 2, 3

Day 49 MODULE 3 [ ] ________________________

The Yoga of the Reclining Buddha page 137

CD 3

tracks 3, 4

Day 50 MODULE 3 [ ] ________________________

The Rising Sphinx

page 193

CD 5

tracks 2, 3

The Mortar & Pestle

page 216

CD 5

tracks 4, 5

The Mortar & Pestle

page 216

CD 5

tracks 4, 5

The Mortar & Pestle

page 216

CD 5

tracks 4, 5

The Mortar & Pestle The Rising Sphinx

page 216 page 193

CD 5 CD 5

track 5 track 3

The Yoga of the Reclining Buddha page 137 The Mortar & Pestle page 216

CD 3 CD 5

track 4 track 5

The Mortar & Pestle

CD 5

track 5

NEXT APPOINTMENT DAY AND TIME

Day 46 MODULE 3 [ ] ________________________ NEXT APPOINTMENT DAY AND TIME

NEXT APPOINTMENT DAY AND TIME

NEXT APPOINTMENT DAY AND TIME

Day 51 MODULE 3 [ ] ________________________ NEXT APPOINTMENT DAY AND TIME

Day 52 MODULE 3 [ ] ________________________ NEXT APPOINTMENT DAY AND TIME

Day 53 MODULE 3 [ ] ________________________ NEXT APPOINTMENT DAY AND TIME

Day 54 MODULE 3 [ ] ________________________ NEXT APPOINTMENT DAY AND TIME

Day 55 MODULE 3 [ ] ________________________ NEXT APPOINTMENT DAY AND TIME

Day 56 MODULE 3 [ ] ________________________

page 216

NEXT APPOINTMENT DAY AND TIME

43

CHECKLIST B Review Day 57 [ ] ________________________

page 45 page 89

CD 1 CD 2

track 5 track 4

page 111 page 137

CD 2 CD 3

track 7 track 4

page 118 page 137

CD 3 CD 3

track 1 track 4

page 130 page 137

CD 3 CD 3

track 2 track 4

page 149 page 183

CD 4 CD 5

track 2 track 3

page 165 page 183

CD 4 CD 5

track 5 track 3

page 183 page 214

CD 5 CD 5

track 3 track 5

NEXT APPOINTMENT DAY AND TIME

Day 58 [ ] ________________________ NEXT APPOINTMENT DAY AND TIME

Day 59 [ ] ________________________ NEXT APPOINTMENT DAY AND TIME

Day 60 [ ] ________________________ NEXT APPOINTMENT DAY AND TIME

Day 61 [ ] ________________________ NEXT APPOINTMENT DAY AND TIME

Day 62 [ ] ________________________ NEXT APPOINTMENT DAY AND TIME

Day 63 [ ] ________________________

Congratulations! You’ve done what you set out to do!

44

MODULE 1A

Spine Waves

5 Ø

45

(This page deliberately blank.)

Module 1A: Spine Waves

46

Special Technique: Muscle Equalization Why Equalize Muscular Efforts? The procedures that follow have a very interesting feature: they involve equalizing the tension and sensation of muscles in two or more areas at once. Why equalize tensions? It unlocks tension patterns. A very odd thing happens when muscle groups that ordinarily work together get conditioned to maintain unequal degrees of tension. They get stuck in unequal degrees of tension! That means that as soon as one group goes below its usual degree of resting tension, its co-worker group,which may already be at too low a level of tension for postural stability, goes even lower. For the sake of stability, the brain brings the too-low group back up to a higher level of tension, which brings its co-worker group back to where it started. It’s a stuck situation. The solution is to link the two groups together in a single action and to bring them to comparable levels of tension and sensation. That’s what the following coordination patterns do.

THE “EQUALIZE” ICON

By so doing, they produce some remarkable changes of muscular control, posture, and balance, for which there is no adequate substitute. The effect on back spasms? Permission to relax! All of the coordination patterns in this book consist of a contraction phase and a slow relaxation phase. As you do these coordination patterns:

Module 1A: Spine Waves

47

• Always regulate your effort to be within your comfort zone: the amount of sensation you can experience without fear or cringing. • Follow the instructions, but breathe when you need to!

Hidden Connections Among the body’s parts, there are hidden connections, in which movements of one part elicit responsive movements of other parts. By moving both parts together and feeling the effort, we can reset muscular tensions that are otherwise habitual.

THE “FEEL” ICON

The following coordination pattern, Spine Waves, makes use of such hidden connections.

Module 1A: Spine Waves

48

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. Never cause yourself to cringe. If a movement hurts, use less effort.

Spine Waves STARTING POSITION:

• lying on your back • knees up, legs balanced, leaning neither in nor out • arms outstretched, hands in line with shoulders IF NECESSARY FOR COMFORT,

• place your hands on your belly • place a pillow under your head. Locate the tension of the effort your are applying at each step. If your condition makes you want to cringe in this movement, use less effort. If you still tend to cringe involuntarily, go to Module 2A (page 101), then come back to this coordination pattern.

Module 1A: Spine Waves

49

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. Never cause yourself to cringe. If a movement hurts, use less effort.

First, we make the connection between the back of the neck and the upper back.

1. Ø

Press the back of your head down. Feel your neck stiffen and your low back lift, a bit.

2.

Slowly relax.

Repeat until you feel your chest lift and lower, your back arch and flatten a little bit.

Ü

1.

Press the back of your head down and help your back arch where you feel it arch.

2.

Slowly relax.

Ø

Ý Ø

Feel your chest sink.

Repeat until you get good at arching your back deliberately where you feel it arch, automatically.

Module 1A: Spine Waves

50

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. Never cause yourself to cringe. If a movement hurts, use less effort.

1.

Press the back of your head down and help your back arch where you feel it arch.

2.

Inhale, gently lift your breastbone and hold.

Ø

Ü Ø

Feel the back of your neck and your mid-back tighten more. Feel your breastbone lift.

Ý

3.

Equalize the efforts at your neck and chest.

4.

Slowly relax, first your neck, then your chest.

Ø

Feel your chest sink. Repeat until the sensation is familiar.

Module 1A: Spine Waves

51

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. Never cause yourself to cringe. If a movement hurts, use less effort.

Ü

1.

Press the back of your head down and help your back arch where you feel it arch.

2.

Turn chin up and hold.

Ø

Ø

Feel tension move up the back of your neck. Stop at the position of most vivid sensation.

3.

Ü Ø

Inhale, gently lift your breastbone and hold. Feel the back of your neck and your mid-back tighten more. Feel your breastbone lift.

4. Ø

Equalize the efforts of lifting your chin and tighening your back.

Module 1A: Spine Waves

52

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. Never cause yourself to cringe. If a movement hurts, use less effort.

5. Ý

Slowly relax. Done correctly, you feel your upper back relax.

Ø

Repeat about five (5) times at decreasing levels of effort.

Module 1A: Spine Waves

53

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. Never cause yourself to cringe. If a movement hurts, use less effort.

Now, we learn to locate the base of the throat.

1.

Ü Ø

Inhale, gently lift your breastbone and hold. Feel your chin automatically (slightly) tuck toward your throat.

2. Ø

Slowly exhale and relax all efforts. Breathe freely. Feel your throat relax, your chest sink and your low back flatten.

Repeat until you can feel your chin tuck in toward your neck.

Module 1A: Spine Waves

54

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. Never cause yourself to cringe. If a movement hurts, use less effort.

1. Ü

Lift your breastbone, hold. ⇒ 2nd level ⇒ Inhale.

2. Ø

Ø

Help tuck your chin toward your neck by increasing its natural movement, press your head down, and hold. Feel the tension at the front of your neck and base of your throat.

3.

Equalize tucking your chin and lifting your breastbone.

Module 1A: Spine Waves

55

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. Never cause yourself to cringe. If a movement hurts, use less effort.

4. Ø

Slowly exhale and relax all efforts. Breathe freely. Feel your throat relax, your chest sink and your low back flatten.

Module 1A: Spine Waves

56

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. Never cause yourself to cringe. If a movement hurts, use less effort.

Now, the first spine-wave, a movement that enables you to relax the muscles of your mid-to-upper back.

1.

5 Ø

Press your head down, turn chin up, and hold. Feel the back of your neck tighten and shorten.

Ü

2. Ø

Inhale, lift your breastbone, and hold. Feel the back of your neck and the muscles of your mid-toupper back tighten. Feel your breastbone lift.

3.

Ü Ø

Equalize tensions at the back of your neck and mid-back.

Module 1A: Spine Waves

57

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. Never cause yourself to cringe. If a movement hurts, use less effort.

4.

5 Ø

Slowly relax the back of your neck until tension moves in a wave to your mid-toupper back. (Breastbone stays lifted.) As you relax your neck, stop at a position where you feel the tension or sensation in your back the most. Hold that position until you feel the sensation change.

⇒ 2nd level ⇒ Move your

shoulders evenly toward the tight place in your back, without changing the position of the tension in your neck, and hold. Compare and equalize the effort in your two shoulders.

Module 1A: Spine Waves

58

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. Never cause yourself to cringe. If a movement hurts, use less effort.

5. Ø

5

Breathe freely. Slowly and together, lower your breastbone and relax your neck. You may notice that your back feels longer and flatter.

Repeat until you feel the muscles of your mid-back relax as you lower your breastbone (at least three (3) times at decreasing levels of effort) until you can feel the movement as described.

Module 1A: Spine Waves

59

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. Never cause yourself to cringe. If a movement hurts, use less effort.

Now, the second spine wave. This movement improves your control of the muscles that run from the base of your throat, up through the back of your throat (the front of your neck vertebrae), to the place behind your nose. It relaxes the back of your throat and gets your whole spine ready to relax and lengthen.

1.

Ü

Inhale, breastbone up, and hold. Feel the effort of lifting your chest.

2.

Tuck chin, flatten neck down, and hold.

Ø Feel the front of your neck tighten, and throat, constrict.

3.

Equalize the sensations of the front of your neck and midto-upper back by adjusting the efforts.

Module 1A: Spine Waves

60

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. Never cause yourself to cringe. If a movement hurts, use less effort.

4.

Ý Ø

Exhale and let your breastbone sink. When you feel the front of your neck begin to tighten ...

5. Ø

Slowly relax your neck. Feel the wave of tension move from the base of your throat to the place behind your nose.

NO EFFORT

5

6.

Relax all efforts and breathe freely.

Repeat this combination movement until you can clearly feel the wave of tension move to the place behind your nose (at least three (3) times at decreasing levels of effort) until you can feel the movement as described.

Module 1A: Spine Waves

61

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe

Now you are ready to involve the muscles of your low back in the third spine-wave.

1.

Press your head down and hold.

2.

Breastbone up, and hold.

Ø

Ü

Feel the effort of lifting your chest at your mid-to-upper back.

Ø

⇒ 2nd level ⇒ Inhale fully, then breathe lightly.

3.

Chin up, and hold. Feel the wave of tension go up the back of your neck as it tightens and shortens.

62

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe

4.

Tighten your low back (turns tailbone down into the surface). Continue to tighten until you feel your neck tighten slightly more.

⇒ 2nd level ⇒ To help your

back arch: take a bit of pressure off your feet by lifting so the sensations at low back and groin are equal.

5.

Equalize the efforts in your neck and back.

6.

Slowly relax your neck until you feel the tension in your low back increase.

Ø

Ü Ø

63

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe

7.

Equalize the tensions at mid- and low-back by adjusting your efforts.

8.

Exhale until you first feel your back tighten more.

Ý

⇒ 2nd level ⇒ Help your back arch: take a bit of pressure off your feet by lifting.

×

⇒ 3rd level ⇒ Pull your elbows and shoulders toward the tight place in your back.

9.

Ü

64

Without changing position, inhale.

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe

10. Actively exhale, relax all other efforts, and relax your back nd flatten.

Ý Ø

⇒ 2nd level ⇒ Lower your feet. Feel equal pressure at the heels and the balls of your feet.

11. Continue to exhale.

Ý

Let your back flatten more.

Ø

12. Relax all efforts and breathe freely. Notice what your low back feels.

NO EFFORT

65

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe

13. Exhale until your belly tightens.

5

14. Lift a bit of weight off your scalp and look toward your knees.

Û

5

If you can’t lift your head, imagine you are lifting your head.

HEAD LIFT EXAGGERATED FOR VISIBILITY.

15. Inhale, lie back and relax. NO EFFORT

16. Breathe freely. Repeat at decreasing levels of effort until you cease to feel your back flatten further (about five (5) times, total).

66

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe

Now, you connect the muscles of your mid-back to those of your throat (inside-front of your neck). Once you have gotten good at the movement shown below, it is optional for future sessions of Spine Waves. Thereafter, skip to the next set of instructions that begins with the number (1.).

Ü

1.

Lift breastbone and hold.

2.

Tuck chin and hold. Tuck by increasing the natural head movement.

Ø

3. Ø

Gradually tighten the small of your back and hold. Feel your back curve.

4.

67

Equalize the tensions of your low back and throat by adjusting your efforts.

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe

5. Ü ØØ

Feel the pressure equally on heels and balls of feet.

Þ

ØØ

Press your feet down and hold.

Ø

6.

Turn your face toward the ceiling, look there relax and slowly let your back flatten.

7.

Slowly relax all efforts and breathe freely.

5

NO EFFORT Repeat until you can feel your low back flatten a bit more (about three (3) times, total, at decreasing levels of effort).

68

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe

Now, the same move with breathing, ending with a relaxed belly.

1.

Ü

Lift breastbone and hold. Feel your mid-to-upper back.

2. Ø

Tuck chin toward neck, and hold. Feel the front of your neck tighten.

⇒ 2nd level ⇒ Inhale.

3.

Gradually tighten the small of your back and hold the shape.

4.

Equalize the front of your neck and low back.

Ø

69

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe

5.

Ý

Sense your back muscles and exhale until you first feel them tighten. Feel where your back muscles are tightest.

6. ØØ

Feel the heels and balls of feet press equally. Your back tightens more. Regulate the effort for comfort.

7.

Hold the shape, relax your belly and breathe freely.

8.

Slowly relax your back muscles and let your back flatten.

9.

Relax all efforts and breathe freely.

ØØ

ØØ

Press your feet down.

Ø

NO EFFORT

70

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe

5

10. Exhale until you feel your belly tighten, then look between your knees.

Û

HEAD LIFT EXAGGERATED FOR VISIBILITY.

If you can’t lift your head, imagine you are lifting your head.

5

11. Inhale, lie back, and relax.

Þ

Ø

5

⇒ 2nd level ⇒ Keep the back of your pelvis snug against the surface as you lie back. Lie back slowly enough to stay in snug contact.

5

Þ

Ø

⇒ 3rd level ⇒ Locate the place

5

behind your nose as you lie back.

12. Breathe freely. NO EFFORT Repeat about three (3) times, total.

71

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe

Now, you’re ready to combine the two movement combinations to involve your entire spinal musculature.

1. Ü

5 Ø

Tuck chin, push head down, and hold. Feel the place behind your nose.

2.

Tighten the muscles of the small of your back, and hold. Feel the hollow arch in the small of your back; feel your tailbone turn down into the surface.

Ü

3.

Lift breastbone and hold.

4.

Equalize the efforts at your neck and back. Take some time to feel what’s working -- where the effort is.

72

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe

5.

Lift a bit of weight off your feet.

6.

Tip your chin up to the neutral position, and hold.

×

5 Ø

5

Feel the connection between the place behind your nose and the muscles at the base of your head.

Þ

⇒ 2nd level ⇒ Look up toward

your brow.

Ø 7.

Ý

Exhale until you feel your back muscles tighten further. Notice where you feel it in your back.

8.

ØØ

73

Lower your feet and press down gently.

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe

9. Ø

ØØ

Equalize the downward pressure of your feet and head. Allow time for the sensation to “set in.” You may feel muscles changing.

Ø

ØØ

ØØ

10. Relax your belly and breathe freely.

Ø

11. Slowly relax your back muscles. Let your back sag.

Ø

You feel your back flatten, a bit.

12. Relax all other efforts. NO EFFORT

74

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe

5

13. Exhale until you feel your belly tighten, then look between your knees.

Û

HEAD LIFT EXAGGERATED FOR VISIBILITY.

If you can’t lift your head, imagine you are lifting your head.

14. Inhale, lie back and breathe freely.

Þ

⇒ 2nd level ⇒ Lie back slowly

Ø

enough to keep the back of your pelvis snug against the surface as you lie back.

⇒ 3rd level ⇒ Locate the place

behind your nose as you lie back.

75

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe

15. Relax all efforts and breathe freely. NO EFFORT Repeat the preceding movement about five (5) times or until you cease to get changes. For best results, please follow the checklist (page 39).

76

MODULE 1B

Lazy “8”s

×

×

77

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Module 1B: Lazy “8”s

78

On Gravity and Sensation The next coordination pattern makes use of gravity to create sensation in the muscles of your legs and low back, to restore comfort to your low back. Gravity is a universal force affecting all of our actions. Its pull is constant and steady. Most of the time, we are unaware of gravity, itself. What we are aware of are our sense of balance or imbalance and our sense of strength or weakness. Any movement, such as standing up, produces sensations that, like gravity, are smooth and steady -- unless our movement itself is unsteady, in which case gravity gives us instant feedback in the form of inconstant and unsteady sensations of movement. In that sense, gravity is our friend; it tells us when we are out of balance and out of control and gives us a sense of support when we are functioning well. Knowing this, we can use gravity to improve our muscular control, and thus the steadiness of our movements. To do so is simple, if not easy. When doing these coordination patterns, we simply slow our actions down until we can sense the bodily position at which our movement becomes unsteady. That’s the position in which we have some loss of muscular control, felt as weakness or inability to regulate our strength. Once we have found it, we can apply our will, in subsequent repetitions of the movement, to smooth our movement out. An immediate, if gradual improvement of muscular control results. Subsequent repetitions produce cumulative improvements. Good muscular control is essential for easy balance. Control and balance are essential to our ability to relax unnecessary muscular tensions, such as those in your back. The following coordination pattern, Lazy “8”s, improves muscular control of the muscles of our legs and low back. A common result is the feeling of coolness and spaciousness in the sacral area, the area below our waistline and above our buttocks -- the lowest part of the low back.

Module 1B: Lazy “8”s

79

.

• Always regulate your effort to be within your comfort zone: the amount of sensation you can experience without fear or cringing. • Follow the instructions, but breathe when you need to! • Begin with the least amount of effort needed to feel your effort. You may need to contract and relax a number of times to feel it. • Contract your muscles in a leisurely way and slowly enough to feel the first sensation of effort. Notice where you feel it. Feel there continuously through the movement. • Let the sensation “set in” before relaxing. • Be sure to relax completely between repetitions. • To repeat, be sure to relax completely between repetitions.

THE “FEEL” ICON

THE “EQUALIZE” ICON

Module 1B: Lazy “8”s

80

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. Never cause yourself to cringe. If a movement hurts, use less effort.

Lazy “8”s STARTING POSITION:

• legs: knees up, feet spaced so legs balance vertically, leaning neither in, nor out • arms back by head, bent 90 degrees at elbows IF NECESSARY FOR COMFORT, use a pillow under your arms or head. Support your weight evenly on the whole sole of one foot as you lower the opposite hip; minimize wobbling. If your condition makes you want to cringe in this movement, use less effort. If you still tend to cringe involuntarily, go to Module 2A (page 101), then come back to this coordination pattern.

1. Ø

By pushing down on one foot, cause its hip to lift. ⇒ 2nd level ⇒ Take a bit of

weight off the opposite foot.

Module 1B: Lazy “8”s

81

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. Never cause yourself to cringe. If a movement hurts, use less effort.

2.

Slowly lower the lifted hip. ⇒ 2nd level ⇒ Press down with the opposite foot.

Rehearse that movement a few times until it’s easier to lift the hip. Repeat for the opposite side.

Module 1B: Lazy “8”s

82

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. Never cause yourself to cringe. If a movement hurts, use less effort.

1.

Press down on one arm and shoulder, and hold.

Ø Feel your shoulder come back and chest lift, a bit.

×

⇒ 2nd level ⇒ Turn your face

×

and eyes toward the same side.

⇒ 3rd level ⇒ Lift the opposite elbow, slightly.

2.

Ø

Slowly relax. Feel your chest sink.

⇒ 2nd level ⇒ Simultaneously return your face to front and center.

Rehearse that movement until it’s easier to feel your chest lift. Repeat for the opposite side.

Module 1B: Lazy “8”s

83

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. Never cause yourself to cringe. If a movement hurts, use less effort.

1.

Ø

By pushing down on one foot, cause its hip to lift, and hold. ⇒ 2nd level ⇒ Take a bit of

weight off the opposite foot.

Ö

2. Ø

Squeeze the knee of the other leg toward the lifted side. Feel the sensation at the groin of the squeezing leg.

3.

Slowly lower the lifted hip. Keep the legs upright, feet flat on the surface. Avoid wobbling.

4.

Slowly relax all efforts.

Rehearse that movement a few times until it’s easier to keep the legs from wobbling. Repeat for the opposite side.

Module 1B: Lazy “8”s

84

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. Never cause yourself to cringe. If a movement hurts, use less effort.

1.

Lift one hip and hold.

2.

Press down with the same-side shoulder and hold.

Ø

Ø

Ø

Feel how pressing down with the shoulder helps the hip lift.

⇒ 2nd level ⇒ Lift the opposite elbow, slightly.

Feel how that helps the overall movement.

3.

Ö

Squeeze the opposite leg in and hold. Feel the sensation at the groin of the squeezing leg.

Module 1B: Lazy “8”s

85

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. Never cause yourself to cringe. If a movement hurts, use less effort.

4.

Ö

Equalize all efforts -groin and shoulder(s). When you have equalized the feelings, you’ll feel certain tensions in your back shift.

5.

Slowly relax all efforts, continuing to keep the efforts equal. Your hip comes down.

Rehearse that movement five (5) times, total, at decreasing levels of effort. Repeat for the opposite side.

Module 1B: Lazy “8”s

86

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. Never cause yourself to cringe. If a movement hurts, use less effort.

1.

Lift one hip and hold.

× Ö

Feel the twist of your pelvis.

Ø

2.

Ø

Press down the sameside shoulder, squeeze the opposite knee in, and hold. Feel at the groin and behind the pressing-down shoulder.

3.

×

5

Keep the twist as you lift the other hip and hold. Press down with both feet.

⇒ 2nd level ⇒ Feel the place behind your nose.

Module 1B: Lazy “8”s

87

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. Never cause yourself to cringe. If a movement hurts, use less effort.

4.

Shift all of the weight to the foot of the hip just lifted. ⇒ 2nd level ⇒ Let your back sag.

⇒ 2nd level ⇒ Brace against

(push down) the same side shoulder as your higher hip. Equalize that shoulder and the opposite foot.

5.

ØÜ

Slowly lower the higher hip part way.

5

Module 1B: Lazy “8”s

88

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. Never cause yourself to cringe. If a movement hurts, use less effort.

6.

Shift the weight to that foot. ⇒ 2nd level ⇒ Brace against

(push down) the same side shoulder as your higher hip. Equalize that shoulder and the opposite foot.

7.

Ø

Slowly lower the higher hip part way.

Alternate lowering sides until both are down. Repeat, starting with the other side. Do 3 - 5 sets on each side. Stand. You may experience of rush of sensation to your neck and head. The sensation is harmless. It is your brain readjusting muscular tensions and blood pressure. Stand tall, relax and let it pass. Then, take a few steps forward and a few steps backward. For best results, please follow the checklist (page 39).

Module 1B: Lazy “8”s

89

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Module 1B: Lazy “8”s

90

MODULE 1C

The Folding Seesaw The Kite

91

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Module 1C: The Folding Seesaw & The Kite

92

Centering Since our ideal resting position is one in which we are moving neither one way nor another, it is appropriate to end a coordination pattern module in a centered position. For that reason, the key for the following coordination pattern is to keep the weight on your feet balanced and equal. When done properly, one of the results of the following coordination pattern is a relaxation of the upper back muscles. You may find your spine elongating, as you come to rest.

Module 1C: The Folding Seesaw & The Kite

93

• Always regulate your effort to be within your comfort zone: the amount of sensation you can experience without fear or cringing. • Follow the instructions, but breathe when you need to! • Begin with the least amount of effort needed to feel your effort. You may need to contract and relax a number of times to feel it. • Contract your muscles in a leisurely way and slowly enough to feel the first sensation of effort. Notice where you feel it. Feel there continuously through the movement. • Let the sensation “set in” before relaxing. • Be sure to relax completely between repetitions. • To repeat, be sure to relax completely between repetitions.

THE “FEEL” ICON

THE “EQUALIZE” ICON

Module 1C: The Folding Seesaw & The Kite

94

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. Never cause yourself to cringe. If a movement hurts, use less effort.

The Folding Seesaw

STARTING POSITION:

• legs: knees up, feet spaced so legs balance vertically, leaning neither in, nor out • arms back by head, bent 90 degrees at elbows IF NECESSARY FOR COMFORT, use a pillow under your head or elbows

Keep the weight on your feet equal, with pressure on both the “ball” of your foot (the pad behind your toes) and your heel. Feel behind your nose when indicated by .

5

If your condition makes you want to cringe in this movement, use less effort. If you still tend to cringe involuntarily, go to Module 2B (page 129), then come back to this coordination pattern.

Module 1C: The Folding Seesaw & The Kite

95

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. Never cause yourself to cringe. If a movement hurts, use less effort.

2

×

1.

Exhale until you feel your belly tighten.

2.

By pressing down with your feet, lift your hips high. ⇒ 2nd level ⇒ Look at the

space between your knees. Feel how looking between your knees changes your alignment.

3.

Take a full breath in that position.

4.

Exhale until you feel a pull on your chest.

Module 1C: The Folding Seesaw & The Kite

96

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. Never cause yourself to cringe. If a movement hurts, use less effort.

5. ×

×

5

× Ø

×

Lift some weight slightly off your scalp. NOTE: If it hurts to lift your head, use less effort or don’t lift it. Imagine that you are lifting it. ⇒ 2nd level ⇒ Keep your chin

×

tucked near your neck.

You feel your throat constrict, a bit. If it doesn’t constrict, make it constrict by tucking your chin towards your adam’s apple.

×

5

Ø

⇒ 3rd level ⇒ Feel the place behind your nose.

Module 1C: The Folding Seesaw & The Kite

97

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. Never cause yourself to cringe. If a movement hurts, use less effort.

6.

Inhale and slowly let your hips come down.

7.

Let your head sink down.

×

Ø

5 Ø

5

Feel your neck relax.

8.

Relax the rest of your body and breathe freely.

NO EFFORT

Repeat twice more (3 times, total), at decreasing levels of effort. Once you are familiar with this coordination pattern, use the summary on the next page to remind you how to do it. For best results, please follow the checklist (page 39).

Module 1C: The Folding Seesaw & The Kite

98

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. Never cause yourself to cringe. If a movement hurts, use less effort.

The Kite If you’ve seen a diamond-shaped kite, you may have observed that the cross strut is much like an archer’s bow, held curved by the tension of the string attached to its ends. Likewise, the vertical strut, attached to the cross strut at its center, is also bowed. The cross strut corresponds to the line that connects your elbows; the vertical strut corresponds to your spine.

STARTING POSITION:

• on your back • legs: knees up, feet spaced so legs balance vertically, leaning neither in, nor out • hands: fingers interlaced at the base of your head • head: resting in the cups of your palms • elbows: flat on the floor Place cushions under your elbows if needed for comfort. Gently equalize the effort used to contract the muscles along your spine and those between your shoulders until you feel the tension in your back move. Be leisurely.

Module 1C: The Folding Seesaw & The Kite

99

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. Never cause yourself to cringe. If a movement hurts, use less effort.

1.

CHIN UP

Press the back of your head against your hands. Notice the first sensation of effort as you gently press .

CHIN UP

5 NO EFFORT

2.

Slowly relax.

Repeat a number of times until you can sense the moment at which effort begins and the place where it begins.

Module 1C: The Folding Seesaw & The Kite

100

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. Never cause yourself to cringe. If a movement hurts, use less effort.

1.

Bring your attention to your arms and shoulders.

2.

By pulling your shoulder blades together in back, gently pull your shoulders back into the surface on which you are lying.

Ý

Þ

You may notice that your chest lifts. Do not force; just notice it.

3. NO EFFORT

Slowly relax.

Repeat a number of times until you can sense the moment at which effort begins and the place where it begins.

Module 1C: The Folding Seesaw & The Kite

101

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. Never cause yourself to cringe. If a movement hurts, use less effort.

Now, we combine the two movements:

CHIN UP,

Ø

1.

Bring your attention back to your head.

2.

Press your head down against your hands and hold.



You may feel your low back tighten a bit, and the pressure against the back of your pelvis, increase.

Module 1C: The Folding Seesaw & The Kite

102

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. Never cause yourself to cringe. If a movement hurts, use less effort.

3.

5

Ø

Ø

Pull your shoulders back and hold. Use effort equal to the effort of pressing your head down. TIP: Alternate your attention between your neck and your shoulders to make the efforts equal.

Ø

Feel the pressure of your head and shoulders as a triangle. Feel yourself resting on “the head and shoulder tripod.”

⇒ 2nd level ⇒ Notice how your low back feels as you hold the “head and shoulder tripod.”

THE TENSION IN YOUR SHOULDERS AND BACK IS SHAPED LIKE A “PLUS”

(+).

Module 1C: The Folding Seesaw & The Kite

103

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. Never cause yourself to cringe. If a movement hurts, use less effort.

4.

When the tension is equalized, take a deep breath and look straight up at the ceiling.

5.

Slowly relax your low back muscles. You feel your lower back flatten. The tension moves to your ribs, in back.

6.

Slowly relax the rest of your efforts. Feel your upper back relax between the shoulder blades. You may want to stretch the area out, now that it has some slack.

Repeat the movement a few times at lower levels of effort. For best results, please follow the checklist (page 39).

Module 1C: The Folding Seesaw & The Kite

104

MODULE 2A

The Wiggling Jig

NO EFFORT

105

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Module 2A: The Wiggling Jig

106

Explanation: The Whole Body Yawn Yawning is relaxing -- but it’s not an attempt to relax. Next time you yawn, notice what’s happening. You’re not relaxing the muscles of your mouth and neck; you’re tightening them! It’s afterward that you experience relaxation. This is an important clue. You are experiencing a basic way we operate. To relax, we must be reminded of the difference between tension and relaxation. We must feel the difference. Yawning does that. This process of tension/relaxation can be applied systematically to the whole body. The movement maneuvers given in this program do exactly that. They involve very much the same slow quality of tension and relaxation as yawning does − and they produce a similar result: relaxation, greater freedom of movement, and recovery of our energy from wasteful habitual tension. Now, this matter of “the whole body” yawn is relevant to the way this program of coordination patterns operates. Consider: where moving at balance is concerned, the whole body is involved. Any movement requires adjustments of the entire musculature for balance to be maintained. We move as a whole body. The coordination patterns presented in this book systematically address various aspects of the whole body as an integrated movement system. For that reason, there are coordination patterns presented here that involve areas other than your back, coordination patterns that affect how your back muscles operate by affecting the whole-body balancing process. This concept is a significant departure from other exercise programs, which concentrate only on the area where symptoms appear. Doing movements in slow motion for the feeling they produce is the key to somatic developmental coordination patterns. The changes in muscular responsiveness occur during the relaxation phase of these movements, which is another reason to do them slowly. The effects of these exercises are cumulative. The various positions reach different muscle groups that together are involved in a muscular reflex pattern

Module 2A: The Wiggling Jig

107

associated with stress. This reflex pattern involves the muscles of the back of the body. First, you improve your control of the involved muscle groups individually; then, you activate these muscle groups together in coordinated movements, each of which decreases your store of held muscular tension. You’ll feel yourself getting better control of the involved muscles, and you’ll feel yourself relaxing. Immediately after you do this session’s sequence, follow it with a few repetitions of Spine Waves. Do this regimen for one week or more before you move forward in the program.

Module 2A: The Wiggling Jig

108

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Module 2A: The Wiggling Jig

109

• Always regulate your effort to be within your comfort zone: the amount of sensation you can experience without fear or cringing. • Follow the instructions, but breathe when you need to! • Begin with the least amount of effort needed to feel your effort. You may need to contract and relax a number of times to feel it. • Contract your muscles in a leisurely way and slowly enough to feel the first sensation of effort. Notice where you feel it. Feel there continuously through the movement. • Let the sensation “set in” before relaxing. • Be sure to relax completely between repetitions. • To repeat, be sure to relax completely between repetitions.

THE “FEEL” ICON

THE “EQUALIZE” ICON

Module 2A: The Wiggling Jig

110

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

The Wiggling Jig Part 1

STARTING POSITION:

• lying on your back • face turned to the side with your ear in the palm of your hand • the knee of the same side bent and turned out to the side. If necessary for comfort in your groin, place a pillow under your knee.

Tense your muscles in sequence, then tense them together and equalize their tensions. If your condition makes you want to cringe in this movement, use less effort. If you still tend to cringe involuntarily, go to Module 3A (page 157), then come back to this coordination pattern.

Module 2A: The Wiggling Jig

111

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

1. Bring your attention to your bent arm.

Û (×)

2.

Ø

(×) Ø

Slowly press the side of your upper arm into the surface. Do it by pulling your shoulder against the surface, which lifts your chest. Don’t roll onto your side; just move your arm and shoulder. Feel the muscles of your shoulder blade contract as you press your arm down and back into the surface. Can you feel your shoulder blade pull toward your spine?

Module 2A: The Wiggling Jig

112

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

⇒ 2nd level ⇒ Inhale as you

(×) Ø

press your arm down. You may feel your back arch slightly on that side. Feel how your shoulder blade tucks under.

Ø

3.

Ø

As slowly as you can, relax that effort, so your chest sinks down. Let your breath go. Feel where you relax last. Relax completely between repetitions. Notice if you feel new muscles working with each repetition.

NO EFFORT

Repeat this pressing and releasing action until you can feel where the movement comes from and can do it slowly and with confidence.

Module 2A: The Wiggling Jig

113

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

(×)

Û

1.

Bring your attention to your bent arm and shoulder.

2.

Press down into the surface, and hold. Feel the muscles at the back of your shoulder blade (behind your shoulder) tighten.

Ø 3.

Still pressing down, gently tug your elbow toward the hip of the same side, and hold. You may feel tension at your shoulder blade and in your low back on the opposite side.

Module 2A: The Wiggling Jig

114

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

4.

Equalize the efforts at your shoulder blade and opposite side low back.

5.

Slowly relax all efforts.

NO EFFORT

Repeat this movement about five (5) times, at decreasing levels of effort, until you feel a shift of muscular tension.

Module 2A: The Wiggling Jig

115

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

(×)

Û

1.

Bring your attention to your bent arm and shoulder.

2.

Press down into the surface, and hold. Feel the muscles at the back of your shoulder blade tighten.

Ø 3.

(×)

Ø

Push your hand toward the back of your ear, and hold. ⇒ 2nd level ⇒ Tip your chin away from your throat (head back).

Feel the muscles contract that run from the top of your shoulder to the back of your neck.

Module 2A: The Wiggling Jig

116

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

4.

Ü

Equalize the efforts of pushing down with your shoulder and pushing your ear, and hold. ⇒ 2nd level ⇒ Equalize the

effort of tipping your head back with the other efforts.

5.

Slowly relax all efforts.

NO EFFORT

Repeat five (5) times, total, at decreasing levels of effort. Now, stand and feel the difference between your two sides. You may feel a rush of sensation go to your head. This is a harmless sensation, though perhaps unnerving if it is new to you. Your brain is readjusting your blood pressure and muscular tensions. Stand relaxed, feel your weight on your feet, and wait for the rush of sensation to pass. Now, take a few steps forward and a few steps backward. Now, do your other side.

Module 2A: The Wiggling Jig

117

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

The Wiggling Jig, part 2

1.

Bring your attention to your bent arm and shoulder.

2.

Shorten your neck by shrugging your shoulder toward the side of your neck.

Û Ü

Ý

⇒ 2nd level ⇒ Notice the first place in your neck you feel contract. Tighten toward there.

Module 2A: The Wiggling Jig

118

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

⇒ 3rd level ⇒

At the same time, sense the place behind your nose. Feel how feeling that place changes the direction of pull of your shoulder.

5

If you are particularly sensitive, you may feel the shoulder pulling more toward the back of the nostril of the same-side.

Ý NO EFFORT

3.

Slowly relax.

Repeat the movement until you can more easily feel the first place that contracts.

Module 2A: The Wiggling Jig

119

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

1.

Þ

Ø Û

Þ

Reach with the straight leg to tighten the waist muscles on the same side as your bent-arm shoulder, and hold. You may feel your back arch a bit. Muscles may tighten between your shoulder blade and your waist on that side. Notice how your ear presses against your hand.

⇒ 2nd level ⇒ Notice the first

place in your waist that contracts.

⇒ 3rd level ⇒ Turn the knee

Þ

of the straight leg toward the other leg.

Ø Û

Þ

Feel how turning the knee toward the other leg helps you to lengthen the straight side.

Module 2A: The Wiggling Jig

120

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

2.

Slowly relax all efforts.

NO EFFORT

Repeat the movement until you feel it get stronger, then at decreasing levels of effort -- about five (5) times.

Module 2A: The Wiggling Jig

121

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

¬

1.

Bring your attention to the bent knee.

2.

Slightly lift the bent knee to feel its weight, and hold. Feel the contraction of your front hip joint muscles.

3.

Slowly relax.

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122

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

Þ

1.

By reaching with the straight leg, tighten the muscles at your waist (opposite side) and hold.

2.

Lift your bent knee enough to feel the weight of your leg, and hold.

3.

Equalize the efforts at waist and groin muscles.

4.

Relax your waist muscles. Your knee stays lifted.

Ø Û

Þ

¬ Þ

Ø Û

¬ Û

Þ

Þ

¬

Module 2A: The Wiggling Jig

123

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

5.

Lower the bent knee.

6.

Come to complete rest.

NO EFFORT

Repeat the sequence until you feel your back flatten more. Repeat five (5) times, at decreasing levels of effort. For best results, please follow the checklist.

Module 2A: The Wiggling Jig

124

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

1. Ü

Ý

Slowly shorten your neck by shrugging the bent-elbow shoulder, and hold. Feel the first place where you tighten in your neck. If you can’t feel it, at first, tighten more and hold until you can feel muscles warm up.

2.

Slowly relax.

3.

Shorten your neck by shrugging toward that tight place.

4.

Slowly relax.

Repeat the action until you can feel the place that tightens more clearly.

Module 2A: The Wiggling Jig

125

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

1.

Þ

Ø Û

Þ

Feel where you tighten at your waist.

2.

Ý

Ü

By reaching with the straight leg, tighten the muscles at your waist, and hold.

Shorten your neck by shrugging the bentelbow shoulder, and hold. Feel where you tighten in your neck.

3.

Þ

Ø Û

Þ

Equalize the efforts at your waist and neck. Decrease or increase effort as needed to get the two places equal.

Module 2A: The Wiggling Jig

126

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

4.

Lift your bent knee enough to feel the weight of your leg, and hold.

5.

Press your bent-elbow shoulder down, and hold.

Ø

¬

Þ

(×)

Ø

Feel the tension behind your shoulder blade.

6. Ø

¬

Þ

Equalize the efforts at your shoulder and hip joint. Decrease or increase effort to get the two places equal.

Module 2A: The Wiggling Jig

127

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

You’re now tight and equalized at waist, neck, groin, shoulder.

Ø

¬

Þ 7.

Slowly relax all efforts and come to complete rest. You’ll probably breathe a spontaneous sigh of relief!

NO EFFORT

Do the sequence five (5) times or more, until you feel your back flatten more. Then stand. Allow any rush of sensation to your neck and head to pass. Then, take a few steps forward and a few steps backward. Feel the differences between your two sides. You’ll probably feel a difference in balance. Now, do your other side.

Module 2A: The Wiggling Jig

128

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

The Wiggling Jig, part 3

TO GET INTO THE NEXT POSITION:

• on your back • both legs straight • one arm straight along one side, hand as a fist • face turned • other hand above your head • Bend your leg as shown; your elbow also bends. Your hand now fits into a hollow where your leg and hip meet, where a pocket might be.

If necessary for comfort, place a pillow under your knee.

Module 2A: The Wiggling Jig

129

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

1.

Ú

Press your elbow against the surface, then very slowly relax. Feel the tension at your shoulder blade, directly behind your shoulder, in back. Go slowly enough to feel where the movement comes from. Don’t force past any restrictions to full relaxation; instead, if you feel a restriction to movement, a. Pause in place. b. Scan the whole body for tension. c. Relax any tension you find. d. Recontract the muscles that pull your elbow against the surface (the ones that are too tight), and very slowly relax again.

Gently contract and slowly relax until you can do it comfortably and with confidence. Continue until you get as loose as you’re going to get.

Module 2A: The Wiggling Jig

130

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

2.

Press your elbow down and hold. ⇒ 2nd level ⇒ Turn your eyes

to the side and look over your shoulder by turning your head a bit more. You may feel the muscles of your neck and upper back contract and your waist lift up, slightly.

Ø

3.

Ø

Þ

Tighten your waist on that side by stretching the opposite leg. Done correctly, you feel the muscles of your back contract on that side; your back may arch, a bit.

4.

Ø

Þ

Equalize the efforts at your shoulder and waist.

Module 2A: The Wiggling Jig

131

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

5.

As slowly as you can, relax. If you pay special attention, you feel gravity as a very steady, continuous pull.

NO EFFORT

Be sure to relax completely between repetitions. Repeat this movement slowly until you can feel where the movement comes from and can do it slowly and confidently (about five times). Then stand. Allow any rush of sensation to pass, then take a few steps forward, a few steps backward. Now, do your other side. Immediately after you do both sides and stand, follow with a few repetitions of the last movement of Spine Waves.

For best results, please follow the checklist (page 39).

Module 2A: The Wiggling Jig

132

MODULE 2B

The Yoga of the Reclining Buddha

133

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Module 2B: The Yoga of the Reclining Buddha

134

Lengthening Your Sides Having freed yourself of a degree of tension in the muscles of your sides, it now becomes possible to obtain even more length of your spine. In particular, you can now become more long-waisted. The pull on the sides of your ribs has decreased and your sense of “the sides of your sides” has been clarified. What this does is reduce some of the tendency to “swayback.” Posturally, this decreased tendency to “swayback” further allows your back to flatten. Again, this doesn’t mean that your back is held flatter; it means that your back is released from muscular pulls that interfere with your low back flexibility. At the same time, the increased muscular control gives you greater stability -- flexibility with stability. The feeling is of being taller and better balanced. Better balance allows us to relax more, when standing and walking. Named after a famous sculpture, The Reclining Buddha, the following coordination pattern suggests what the Buddha may have been doing when nobody was looking! It particularly frees our whole spine for sidebending, so we can curve sideways uniformly from the base of our head to our waistline, with no stiff places in-between. Our spine curves and lengthens as a whole.

Module 2B: The Yoga of the Reclining Buddha

135

.

• Always regulate your effort to be within your comfort zone: the amount of sensation you can experience without fear or cringing. • Follow the instructions, but breathe when you need to! • Begin with the least amount of effort needed to feel your effort. You may need to contract and relax a number of times to feel it. • Contract your muscles in a leisurely way and slowly enough to feel the first sensation of effort. Notice where you feel it. Feel there continuously through the movement. • Let the sensation “set in” before relaxing. • Be sure to relax completely between repetitions. • To repeat, be sure to relax completely between repetitions.

THE “FEEL” ICON

THE “EQUALIZE” ICON

Module 2B: The Yoga of the Reclining Buddha

136

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

The Yoga of the Reclining Buddha

STARTING POSITION:

• sidelying • propped up on one elbow • underside knee bent, foot near the topside knee • topside leg straight Maintain constant, gentle tension in your neck as you bend. This is a good movement to do in bed. If your condition makes you want to cringe in this movement, use less effort. If you still tend to cringe involuntarily, go to Module 3A (page 157), then come back to this pattern.

1.

Place the heel of your topside hand weightlessly against your head, centered above your ear. Your fingers wrap over the top of your head.

2.

Inhale and hold.

Module 2B: The Yoga of the Reclining Buddha

137

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

3.

Gently press your head against your hand, and hold (“Set the tension.”) With your hand against your head, return the pressure with equal force, using shoulder muscles. Feel the side of your neck tighten and shorten.

5

⇒ 2nd level ⇒ Feel the place

behind your nose, with your head in the neutral position.

4.

5

Bend your neck sideways (head down), so your underside ear approaches your underside shoulder. The pressure between your hand and head remains

Module 2B: The Yoga of the Reclining Buddha

138

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

constant as you bend. Breathe when you need to.

⇒ 2nd level ⇒ Cause your topside leg to reach.

You feel tension in the underside of your waist.

Õ

⇒ 3rd level ⇒ Feel the place behind your nose as you curve.

5

Õ

Your head is in the neutral position facing forwardly.

Hand switches.

5.

Exhale and hold the tiny bit of breath that remains.

6.

Move your hand so the fingertips grasp your head above the other ear. The heel of your hand rests on the crown of your head.

Module 2B: The Yoga of the Reclining Buddha

139

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

7.

Set the tension in the underside of your neck by pressing your head against your fingertips, and hold. With your grasping hand, resist with equal force, using the muscles of your side.

⇒ 2nd level ⇒ Feel the place behind your nose.

8.

Slowly bend your neck sideways (head upright), so your topside ear approaches your topside shoulder. The pressure between your hand and head remains constant as you bend. Breathe when you need to.

Module 2B: The Yoga of the Reclining Buddha

140

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

⇒ 2nd level ⇒ Cause your

Ö Ö

underside ribs to sag. Your underside shoulder moves toward or against your neck.

×

Ø

You feel tension in the top side of your waist, as your topside leg draws short.

9.

Inhale, move your hand to the other side of your head, and repeat.

Repeat at decreasing levels of effort until you get better at curving your neck and spine sideways as a single, continuous curve. Now, turn over and do your other side. Please follow the checklist for best results (page 39).

Module 2B: The Yoga of the Reclining Buddha

141

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Module 2B: The Yoga of the Reclining Buddha

142

MODULE 2C

The Twist that Untwists

143

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Module 2C: The Twist that Untwists

144

Security for Your Low Back It is common for people to do abdominal exercises to relieve back pain. The rationale is that “strong abdominal muscles strengthen the low back.” A clearer understanding is possible. Let me explain. Most muscles or muscle groups of the body operate in pairs, each member of which does the opposite action of its partner. For example, the biceps muscle of the front of your upper arm bends your arm at the elbow; the triceps muscle at the back of your upper arm straightens your arm at the elbow. These muscles perform reciprocal (opposite and complementary) actions. Their tension levels vary accordingly: when one muscle contracts, the other muscle relaxes. This tension-relaxation pairing is controlled by your brain. Relaxation of the opposing muscle permits its partner more easily to contract and cause movement. The term physical therapists use for this brain-controlled muscular behavior is “reciprocal inhibition.” Ideally, when one muscle contracts, its opposing partner relaxes to the same degree. This may not always happen. When your brain is conditioned to keep a muscle contracted at all times, the muscle does not relax freely; it may relax only partially and interfere with its partner’s efforts at movement. Now, let’s consider the muscles of your abdomen and low back. In the case of back pain, the muscles of the back exist at a heightened state of tension, a heightened state of “burn.” That’s the usual origin of chronic back pain. The result of back muscle contraction is a forcing forward of your low back, as if your spine were an archer’s bow and the muscular tension, the taut bowstring. This postural change gives the appearance of weak abdominal muscles. When your abdominal muscles contract, your back muscles relax to some degree. Your brain causes this relaxation-response. As your back muscles relax, they burn less fuel and oxygen; as the “burn” decreases, muscle fatigue and soreness decrease. That’s why abdominal exercises produce temporary relief of back discomfort.

Module 2C: The Twist that Untwists

145

Contracting your abdominal muscles has not strengthened your back; it has (to some degree) relaxed your back muscles. Relaxed muscles are much less likely to go into spasm. They feel more under your control. Your back feels more secure -- but only as long as you keep your abdomen tight. But you cannot keep your abdomen tight and breathe freely at the same time. A tight abdomen interferes with free breathing. Because the muscles of the back and front of your torso are related to each other, to change how one muscle group operates, we must change how both muscle groups cooperate. We want the two muscle groups to work freely in cooperative coordination. In the previous set of coordination patterns, you gained some control over your back muscles; you increased both your ability to relax and to contract muscles. But to feel really secure, you need to feel that the muscles at both the back and front of your trunk are working in closely matched coordination. They both must feel both free and strong. The following coordination pattern sequence integrates the muscles of your back with the muscles in the front of your torso. The added security you feel comes from their close, cooperative relationship. (Close, harmonious cooperation gives the feeling of security.) Do the following coordination pattern sequence and feel what I mean.

Module 2C: The Twist that Untwists

146

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Module 2C: The Twist that Untwists

147

• Always regulate your effort to be within your comfort zone: the amount of sensation you can experience without fear or cringing. • Follow the instructions, but breathe when you need to! • Begin with the least amount of effort needed to feel your effort. You may need to contract and relax a number of times to feel it. • Contract your muscles in a leisurely way and slowly enough to feel the first sensation of effort. Notice where you feel it. Feel there continuously through the movement. • Let the sensation “set in” before relaxing. • Be sure to relax completely between repetitions. • To repeat, be sure to relax completely between repetitions.

THE “FEEL” ICON

THE “EQUALIZE” ICON

Module 2C: The Twist that Untwists

148

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

The Twist that Untwists STARTING POSITION:

• face turned, hand under your ear • legs straight

Relax your back muscles before you relax your front. If your condition makes you want to cringe in this movement, use less effort. If you still tend to cringe involuntarily, go to Module 3B (page 185), then come back to this coordination pattern.

1.

×

Ø

Press your arm and shoulder into the surface, so your chest lifts a bit, and hold. You lift the ribs near your belly, not near the top of your chest.

Module 2C: The Twist that Untwists

149

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

2.

Ø Ø

Press your ear against your hand, and hold. You feel your back arch a bit, as you press.

Ü

⇒ 2nd level ⇒ Tip your

ARCH

head far back, so the base of your head pulls against your shoulder. You feel a tight muscle running from behind your ear, to your shoulder blade.

3.

Equalize the efforts. Feel how the two moves combine into one. Ear against your hand; shoulder against the surface.

4.

Slowly, relax.

NO EFFORT

Repeat this combination movement at decreasing levels of effort until you feel the two movements combine into one.

Module 2C: The Twist that Untwists

150

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

1.

Bring your attention to the leg opposite your bent elbow.

2.

Turn your leg so your toes point straight up. You feel pressure on the backcenter of your heel. You may feel that you have turned your toes inward and are “pigeon toed.” Take a look. You may be surprised to see that your toes are pointing straight upwardly. So go for that feeling.

3.

Tighten your buttock (same side), so your hip lifts, slightly. You feel a bit of pressure on the back of your calf and heel, of the same side.

Module 2C: The Twist that Untwists

151

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

4.

Slowly relax all efforts.

NO EFFORT

Repeat this movement until you get a bit more strength in the buttock, with your toes pointed upward.

Module 2C: The Twist that Untwists

152

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

1.

×

Ø

Press your head and bent-elbow shoulder down, and hold. ⇒ 2nd level ⇒ Breathe in to

help your chest lift as your shoulder goes back.

2.

Turn the opposite foot toes-upward.

3.

Tighten the toesupward buttock and hold.

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153

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

4.

Equalize head, shoulder, buttock.

5.

Sense shoulder and buttock, then slowly relax.

NO EFFORT

Repeat until your shoulder comes a bit looser from your ribs and your chest lifts a bit more.

Module 2C: The Twist that Untwists

154

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

1.

Press your straightarm shoulder down and hold. Feel the muscles that connect your shoulder blade to your spine.

Ø 2.

Turn the same-side leg toes-in and hold. Feel the muscles of your groin.

Ø 3.

Equalize the two efforts.

4.

Slowly relax.

Repeat until both sensations (shoulder and groin) get clearer.

Module 2C: The Twist that Untwists

155

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

1.

Press your bent-elbow shoulder down.

2.

Switch shoulders and press down.

3.

Alternate shoulders.

×

Ø

Ø This is a kind of wiggling movement. Hold and let the sensation set in before switching. Repeat five (5) times at decreasing levels of effort.

Module 2C: The Twist that Untwists

156

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

Ø

Ø

1.

Turn the toes of the bent-elbow side straight up, and hold.

2.

Press your bent-elbow shoulder down. Hold and feel.

3.

Switch shoulders and hold.

4.

Turn the toes of the straight-arm-side in and hold. Press down on that foot, knee straight.

Module 2C: The Twist that Untwists

157

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

5.

Ø

Switch shoulders and hold. Shoulder and opposite foot press down.

6.

Lift the straight arm slightly and hold.

7.

Take a bit of weight off the opposite foot.

×

The knee slightly lifts straight up.

Module 2C: The Twist that Untwists

158

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

8.

Equalize the lifted arm and lifted leg and hold. You may feel a sensation from your groin deep into your pelvis.

9.

Using your belly muscles, flatten your low back down to the surface and hold.

10. Slowly lower your lifted arm and foot.

Module 2C: The Twist that Untwists

159

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

11.

Come to complete relaxation.

Repeat five times or more, at decreasing levels of effort, until your coordination improves. Now stand and feel your weight on your feet. Allow any rush of sensation to pass. Take a few steps forward, a few steps backward. Notice any difference between your two sides. Now, do your other side. For best results, please follow the checklist (page 39).

Module 2C: The Twist that Untwists

160

MODULE 3A

In-Bed No-Stretch Stretches

5 Ø

161

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162

Relation and Mutuality Whenever we’re talking about things functioning, we’re talking about relationships -- mutual interaction. To make any kind of change in a relationship, it takes the collaboration of at least two involved parties to make it effective, particularly when both parties have a stake in the same situation. Otherwise, the change initiated by one will be countered or limited by the other. In the case of excessive muscular tension, the situation is excessive back tension, and the parties involved are your upper body and lower body. The coordination patterns in this section locate positions in which different actions of both your upper body and lower body affect the same place in your back. It’s a twoagainst-one type of arrangement. As you will see, the combination is both easy and potent.

Module 3A: In-Bed No-stretch Stretches

163

• Always regulate your effort to be within your comfort zone: the amount of sensation you can experience without fear or cringing. • Follow the instructions, but breathe when you need to! • Begin with the least amount of effort needed to feel your effort. You may need to contract and relax a number of times to feel it. • Contract your muscles in a leisurely way and slowly enough to feel the first sensation of effort. Notice where you feel it. Feel there continuously through the movement. • Let the sensation “set in” before relaxing. • Be sure to relax completely between repetitions. • To repeat, be sure to relax completely between repetitions.

THE “FEEL” ICON

THE “EQUALIZE” ICON

Module 3A: In-Bed No-stretch Stretches

164

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

In-Bed No-stretch Stretches STARTING POSITION:

• lying on your back • face turned to the side with your ear in the palm of your hand • the knee of the same side bent and turned out to the side. If necessary for comfort, place a pillow under your knee, elbow, or head.

Look over the shoulder of the bent arm.

Module 3A: In-Bed No-stretch Stretches

165

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

Û

1.

Bring your attention to your neck and head.

2.

Press your underside ear down onto your palm. Feel the side of your neck shorten and the back of your shoulder area tighten.

3.

Slowly relax.

Repeat this action until you can feel the tension increase and decrease, then continue at decreasing levels of effort.

Module 3A: In-Bed No-stretch Stretches

166

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

1.

Û

Press your arm and shoulder down and hold. Feel your shoulder blade tighten, in back.

2.

Û Û

Press your ear down against your palm and hold. Feel the tension in your neck and shoulder area.

⇒ 1st level ⇒ Look over your

shoulder, toward the surface on which you are lying.

Feel how looking there affects your ability to turn.

Ü

3.

Help your low back on that side arch, a bit.

Module 3A: In-Bed No-stretch Stretches

167

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

4.

Equalize the efforts at shoulder blade and low back.

5.

Slowly relax all efforts.

Ü

NO EFFORT

Repeat this movement about five (5) times -- until you can feel the tension increase and decrease, then at decreasing levels of effort. Now, stand and feel the difference between your two sides. Allow any rush of sensation to pass. Walk foward, then backward. Now, do your other side. Immediately after you do this sequence, follow it with a few repetitions of the last movement of Spine Waves.

Module 3A: In-Bed No-stretch Stretches

168

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Module 3A: In-Bed No-stretch Stretches

169

• Always regulate your effort to be within your comfort zone: the amount of sensation you can experience without fear or cringing. • Follow the instructions, but breathe when you need to! • Begin with the least amount of effort needed to feel your effort. Contract your muscles in a leisurely way and slowly enough to feel the first sensation of effort. Notice where you feel it. Feel there continuously through the movement. • Learn the parts (elements) of multi-part movements, then put them together. • Go slowly enough to feel tension increase or decrease. • To repeat, be sure to relax completely between repetitions.

THE “FEEL” ICON

THE “EQUALIZE” ICON

Module 3A: In-Bed No-stretch Stretches

170

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

The In-Bed Precision No-stretch Stretch

STARTING POSITION:

• face forward • one hand with your fingertips behind your ear • one leg bent, knee up, foot near your buttock • toes of straight leg facing straight forwardly Visually check to see that your toes point straight upwardly, and not to the side. Find the amount to reach with your straight leg and to turn your head to tighten the same place in your back.

1.

Press the back of your head down and hold.

Ø

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171

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

2.

Tighten the buttock of your straight leg, and hold.

3.

Equalize the two efforts, head and buttock.

Ø

⇒ 2nd level ⇒ Feel the place

5

behind your nose with your head in the neutral position.

Ø

4.

Slowly relax both efforts together.

Repeat this action until you feel some place in your back contract and relax.

NO EFFORT

Module 3A: In-Bed No-stretch Stretches

172

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

1.

Press your head down, and hold.

2.

Tighten the buttock of your straight leg, and hold.

Ø

Toes point straight-forwardly, not turned out.

Module 3A: In-Bed No-stretch Stretches

173

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

«

Û

3.

Slowly turn your face toward your bent elbow to locate a position that reveals any (probably mild) discomfort in your back, and hold.

4.

Lift your breastbone, slightly.

5.

Reach and relax with your straight leg just enough to feel the tight place contract more. ⇒ 2nd level ⇒ Help that place in your back contract.

Module 3A: In-Bed No-stretch Stretches

174

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

Û

6.

Press the back of your straight leg down, and hold.

7.

Equalize the leg effort with that of your head.

Ø

Û Ø

You’ll probably feel your back flatten and something near your solar plexus relax.

Ø

8.

Slowly relax all efforts, completely. Tighten and slowly relax in the same position at decreasing levels of effort until the discomfort fades or ceases to fade further.

NO EFFORT

Module 3A: In-Bed No-stretch Stretches

175

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

1.

Press your head down, and hold.

2.

Tighten your straight-leg buttock, and hold.

3.

Slowly turn your head a bit more to the side to locate another position that reveals mild discomfort in your back.

4.

Reach with the straight leg enough to help feel the discomfort more, and hold.

Ø

Ø

Û

Help your back tighten.

Module 3A: In-Bed No-stretch Stretches

176

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

Û

5.

Press the back of your straight leg down.

6.

Equalize the efforts of head and leg.

7.

Slowly relax.

Ø

Û Ø

Ø

In this way, continue to locate and release the discomfort in a number of positions until your head is fully turned.

NO EFFORT

177

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

Now, in reverse . . .

1.

Tighten the buttock of your straight leg and hold.

2.

Turn your leg so your knee and toes point upward, and hold. You may feel your hip lift up, a bit.

3.

Press your shoulder down and hold.

Ø

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178

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

4.

Ø

Press your head down, and hold. You may feel your hip lift up, a bit more.

Ø 5.

Slowly, turn your face forward to locate a position that reveals some tightness or discomfort in your back. Stay there.

6.

Press your bent-knee foot down enough to tighten the tight place more.

ØØ

Experiment with more and less pressure on that foot to find the best amount of pressure to feel the tight place.

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179

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

ØØ

7.

Equalize the head and foot pressures.

8.

Slowly relax in that position.

Ø

In a similar manner, locate and release soreness in various positions until you are facing forward.

NO EFFORT

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180

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

Now, lie flat and compare how your two sides feel. Compare your:

• shoulders • back • buttocks • legs Stand. Allow any rush of sensation to your neck and head to pass. This effect is your brain resetting tensions and blood pressure throughout your body. Now, go back to the beginning of this sequence and do your other side. After you’ve done your other side, do a few repetitions of Spine Waves.

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• Always regulate your effort to be within your comfort zone: the amount of sensation you can experience without fear or cringing. • Follow the instructions, but breathe when you need to! • Begin with the least amount of effort needed to feel your effort. Contract your muscles in a leisurely way and slowly enough to feel the first sensation of effort. Notice where you feel it. Feel there continuously through the movement. • Learn the parts (elements) of multi-part movements, then put them together. • Go slowly enough to feel tension increase or decrease. • To repeat, be sure to relax completely between repetitions.

THE “FEEL” ICON

THE “EQUALIZE” ICON

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182

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

Spreading Butter

NEXT POSITION:

• palm of your hand on the front of your hip bone • same-side knee turned out • face turned toward bent side

Cause the same place to tighten by reaching with your leg as by pressing down your hand.

1. Ø

Pull your shoulder snugly against the surface and hold. “Pull” means to draw your shoulder behind you, under your back, toward your spine.

×

Your chest lifts, slightly. If it doesn’t lift, help it lift.

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183

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

Ø

2.

Press your hand against your hip bone and hold. You now feel your upper arm press against the surface.

3. Ø Ø

Press your elbow against the surface, and hold. You may now feel tension in your back by your shoulder blade.

Ø

4.

Equalize the pressures of shoulder, elbow, and hand.

5.

Slowly relax all efforts.

Ø Ø

NO EFFORT

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184

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

6. Ø

Pull your shoulder snugly against the surface and hold. As you pull your shoulder back, you may feel your ribs lift up, increasing the hollow at the small of your back.

Ø

7.

Press your hand against your hip bone and hold.

8.

As you press, slowly slide your hand from hip bone to chest.

Ø

As you move, notice where in your back you feel muscles working.

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185

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

9.

Slowly relax.

10. Replace your hand on your hip bone.

NO EFFORT

11. This time, as you press and slide, stop at any position where you feel some tension or mild discomfort in your back or shoulder. 12.

Reach with your straight leg to increase the sensation.

Ø

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Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

13. Equalize the leg-reach and hand pressure. 14. Slowly relax. 15. Repeat in place, and hold.

Ø

16. Contract the straightleg buttock. Feel the added effect in your shoulder. Use this addition each time.

Ø

Ø

17. Now, press and slide your hand more toward your chest. Again, stop at any position in which you become aware of mild discomfort in your back.

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187

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

18.

Reach with the straight leg and equalize.

19. Slowly relax. Ø Continue in that manner until you have located and relaxed all areas of discomfort. Your hand ends up at your collar bone. Then, do the process in reverse, moving your hand from your collar bone down to your hip bone. Stand. Allow the wave of sensation to your neck and head to pass. Now, do your other side.

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188

MODULE 3B The Dog Stretch

189

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Module 3B: The Dog Stretch

190

Introduction: Claiming Your Full Flexibility Now that you have released tension from your back, you have a bit of slack in those muscles. This next movement distributes that slack along the length of your spine. Note that in this movement, you are putting as much attention on contracting and relaxing the muscles of your back as you are on contracting and relaxing the muscles of your front . Move slowly to give time for sensations to surface. You are using this coordination pattern to increase your awareness and control of the tension you maintain in the active muscle groups. You are decreasing the tension you maintain, at rest. The flexibility you gain does not come from stretching; it comes from letting go of muscles you habitually hold tight. You discover these muscles by moving slowly and gently enough to feel where your effort is. As with all the developmental coordination patterns found in this program, your ability to get the result from this session depends upon your getting sufficient improvement from the previous sessions.

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191

.

• Always regulate your effort to be within your comfort zone: the amount of sensation you can experience without fear or cringing. • Follow the instructions, but breathe when you need to! • Begin with the least amount of effort needed to feel your effort. You may need to contract and relax a number of times to feel it. • Contract your muscles in a leisurely way and slowly enough to feel the first sensation of effort. Notice where you feel it. Feel there continuously through the movement. • Let the sensation “set in” before relaxing, each time at a decreasing level of effort. • Be sure to relax completely between repetitions. • To repeat, be sure to relax completely between repetitions.

THE “FEEL” ICON

THE “EQUALIZE” ICON

Module 3B: The Dog Stretch

192

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

The Rising Sphinx STARTING POSITION:

• on all-fours - go from a. to b.

a.

• ankles and knees together • shoulders directly above your hands • head hanging freely • small cushion under (and over) your ankles, if needed for comfort

b.

Sense the gradual curving movements go along your spine. Coordinating your spine and legs

1.

Slowly lift your head until you feel gentle tension in the back of your neck. Notice how your back sags, slightly.

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193

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

2.

Slowly let your head hang down. Feel where you relax last. Notice how your back arches, slightly.

3.

Place your attention in your low back.

4.

Lift your head and hold. Notice how lifting your head tenses your low back.

5.

Equalize the efforts at the back of your neck and low back.

6.

Slowly relax. Repeat until you can get the sensations of tension more nearly equal.

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194

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

The Muscles of Your Front

1.

Lift your head (gently) and hold. Feel a gentle pressure at the base of your head.

2.

Equalize the tensions at low back and back of neck.

3.

Slowly sit back toward your heels. Feel the curve of your back reverse itself from your waist toward your neck.

4.

Rest on your elbows.

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195

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

5.

Slowly, let your head hang. Feel where you relax last.

Ü

6.

Squeeze your knees together, and hold.

7.

Gently and steadily pull your elbows toward your groin, and hold.

Ü

Feel how the action tightens your upper abdomen.

⇒ 2nd level ⇒ Draw your abdomen in by arching your back.

8.

Equalize the efforts at groin, abdomen, and neck.

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196

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

9.

×

Slowly relax.

10. Lift your head until you feel gentle pressure at the base of your head. 11. Come back up onto all-fours. Feel the curve of your spine change.

Repeat this movement at decreasing levels of effort.

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197

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

1.

Lift your head (gently), and hold. Feel a gentle pressure at the base of your head.

2.

Grip with your fingertips and tug toward your knees, and hold. Feel how your mid-back tenses.

3.

Equalize the sensations at the back of your neck and mid-back.

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198

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

4.

Slowly relax and let your head hang down.

5.

Push down with your feet, and hold. Feel the tension at the fronts of your thighs.

Ø

6.

Look at your belly. Feel the tension in your abdomen and front of your neck.

7.

Equalize the sensations at the fronts of your thighs, abdomen, and neck. Repeat until you get better at equalizing the tensions.

Ø

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199

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

1.

Lift your head and hold. Notice how lifting your head tenses your low back.

2.

Slowly sit back toward your heels. Feel the curve of your back reverse itself from your waist toward your neck.

3.

Rest on your elbows.

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200

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

4.

Squeeze your knees together, and hold.

5.

Press your wrists and hands down, and hold (within your comfort zone).

ÖÕ

Ø

Ø

Feel how the tension moves to your lower abdomen.

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201

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

6.

Þ

Press your forehead gently toward the ground and hold (within your comfort zone). ⇒ 2nd level ⇒

Exhale and cause your belly to draw up by rounding your back. Notice the tension in the front of your neck and abdomen.

7.

Þ

Equalize all the efforts so they become unified. ⇒ 2nd level ⇒ “Pump” the action a few times.

8.

Inhale and slowly relax all efforts.

Module 3B: The Dog Stretch

202

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

Adjust your efforts to make the left and right sides of each effort feel equal.

1.

×

Slowly lift your head until you feel tension in the back of your neck. Hold. ⇒ 2nd level ⇒ Inhale as you increase effort.

2.

Slowly move forward onto all-fours. Feel your back curve increase from your neck down to your waist. If you feel discomfort in your spine or ribs, back up to the first point where you felt it. Pause in place and relax any extra tensions before continuing.

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203

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

⇒ 2nd level ⇒ Inhale as you come forward.

3.

Contract between your shoulder blades to draw them close together, in back, and hold.

4.

Equalize the right and left sides of your shoulder blades, and hold. If your right side feels tigher, sway your hips and head to the left, and vice-versa.

5.

Slowly relax and let your head hang partway.

Ø

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204

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

6.

Re-contract your shoulder blades and equalize.

7.

Let your head come down a little farther. Repeat until your head hangs freely.

Ø

Then, repeat the entire process three or more times.

Module 3B: The Dog Stretch

205

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

8.

× Þ Û

Ø

Exhale all the way, round your back upward (by tightening your front), and squeeze your knees together. Look at your navel. Take time to feel the unifying action on the efforts of the front of your body.

9.

While squeezing, sit toward your heels. Feel your spine curve as you sit.

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206

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

10. Squeeze your knees and push your elbows into the surface.

Ø Ø

Û

Feel how the action pulls your knees in toward your chest.

⇒ 2nd level ⇒ Release and squeeze a few times.

11. Inhale and apply a very constant outward pressure with your knees, and hold. 12. Come forward onto all-fours. Feel the effort in your buttocks. Feel how the action unifies the efforts in the back of your body.

Repeat five (5) times, or so, at deceasing levels of effort.

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207

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

ENDING THE MOVEMENT: Sit back onto your heels. Relax in place with your hands on your hips, sitting erectly.

1.

Lift your head. Feel gentle pressure at the base of your head, at the neck.

⇒ 2nd level ⇒ Look upward at your brow.

⇒ 3rd level ⇒ Actively inhale.

2.

Exhale and begin to sit toward your heels, as before. ⇒ 2nd level ⇒ Look at the

space between your knees.

Your head comes down last. Feel your spinal curve reverse from your waist toward your neck.

Module 3B: The Dog Stretch

208

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

Module 3B: The Dog Stretch

209

Intend ... Allow ... Do Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

210

.

MODULE 3C

The Mortar & Pestle

Ւ

211

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Module 3C: The Mortar and Pestle

212

The Role of Adequate Water Intake It has been written that 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated, that in 37% of Americans, the thirst mechanism is so weak that it is often mistaken for hunger, and that lack of water is the #1 trigger of daytime fatigue. Many people drink insufficient water to allow the body to eliminate metabolic waste as it should. With insufficient water, wastes get more concentrated in bodily fluids than they should. Toxicity is the result. Nerve endings get more irritable. Maybe that partially expains the moods often found in the office or workplace. A person should be drinking six to eight glasses (that’s forty-eight to sixtyfour ounces) of water, per day -- and more if they live in a hot or dry climate. You’ve possibly heard that idea, before. But to be clear, that means water, not soda, juice, tea or coffee. Water. Anything dissolved in water slows its absorption and decreases its ability to carry the body’s nutrients and metabolic wastes. Here are some more good reasons to drink water. Dehydration makes the fatigue and soreness of tight back muscles worse. Preliminary research indicates that 8-10 glasses of water a day could significantly ease back and joint pain for up to 80% of sufferers. This last point is pertinent to the session that follows. If you’ve often allowed yourself to get dehydrated, the tissues of your back may report soreness with movements that involve bending. A mere 2% drop in body water can trigger fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic math, and difficulty focusing on the computer screen or reading material. In other words, the chemistry of your brain requires adequate water to function. A bit more on that point. The processes shown in this book are learningintensive. That means it’s easiest when your brain functions best. It’s a good idea, then, to drink a glass of water before each session of the kind of brainintensive processes shown in this book.

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213

More interesting statistics: Drinking 5 glasses of water daily decreases the risk of colon cancer by 45%, plus it can reduce the risk of breast cancer by 79%, and one is 50% less likely to develop bladder cancer. Even mild dehydration will slow down one's metabolism as much as 3%. One glass of water shuts down midnight hunger pangs for almost 100% of the dieters studied in a U-Washington study. Implication: Drinking water helps weight-loss, an idea that is backed up by scientists’ understanding of fat metabolism, which involves a process called hydrolysis, which involves water. Here’s another reason: as bodily tissues are about 70% water, dehydration leads to tissue shrinkage. Over a lifetime of inadequate water intake, intervertebral disks (the cushions between the bones of the spine) lose their plumpness, leading to spinal compression. This is one reason why people lose height as they get older. And yet another reason: dehydration leads to a thickening of the slippery lubricant found in joints (synovial fluid). The result? Less lubrication of joints. A final word: Dry mouth is not the first sign of dehydration. It’s the last sign, the vital organs of the body having priority over the mouth for water. Are you drinking the amount of water you should every day? For an eye-opener on the widely underestimated role of water in health and disease, read the book, Your Body’s Many Cries for Water, by Dr. F. Batmangelidge, M.D. A new words on The Mortar and Pestle movement pattern. This movement frees your spine for bending in all directions. It also teaches you how to maintain balance while bending. Both benefits reduce the tendency to hold tension unnecessarily. Work with it until the movement is smooth and your balance is steady.

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214

• Always regulate your effort to be within your comfort zone: the amount of sensation you can experience without fear or cringing. • Follow the instructions, but breathe when you need to! • Begin with the least amount of effort needed to feel your effort. You may need to contract and relax a number of times to feel it. • Contract your muscles in a leisurely way and slowly enough to feel the first sensation of effort. Notice where you feel it. Feel there continuously through the movement. • Let the sensation “set in” before relaxing, each time at a decreasing level of effort. • Be sure to relax completely between repetitions. • To repeat, be sure to relax completely between repetitions.

THE “FEEL” ICON

THE “EQUALIZE” ICON

Module 3C: The Mortar and Pestle

215

The Mortar & Pestle

STARTING POSITION:

• seated • hands on hips • feet and knees at shoulder width

Feel the tension “orbit” your waistline as you move, as you keep the amount of weight on your two feet equal and constant.

1. ’ ×

Shift your weight to your left buttock and hold. Feel your waistline contract on the right side.

Module 3C: The Mortar and Pestle

216

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

×

2.

Lift your left shoulder to match the effort at your right waist, and hold.

3.

Arch your back (bring your chest up), and hold.

Ւ

Ü

Ւ

Feel the tension move to your back, on the right.

4.

Ø ’Õ

Let your right hip and left shoulder come down. Stay arched. Feel the tension move from your right side toward the center of your spine.

Module 3C: The Mortar and Pestle

217

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

5.

× Õ’ ×

×

×

× Õ’

Lift your left hip and right shoulder, and hold. Feel the tension move toward your left waist.

6.

Equalize the efforts.

7.

Slowly let your chest cave in, so you sag.

Ø

Feel the tension move from your left side toward the center of your belly.

8. ’Õ

’

Center your weight on your buttocks. Feel the tension move to the center of your belly.

Module 3C: The Mortar and Pestle

218

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe.

Continue this cycle of shifting your weight in a circle and feel the tension “orbit” your belly. Do five cycles or more at decreasing levels of effort

Ւ

Then, reverse direction. If you find any position particularly painful, retreat from that position to find the “edge” of the pain. Then, make slow, small turning movements, as if to glance over your shoulder, back and forth, into and out of the pain. Find the edge. Relax into the movement so the pain disappears.

Module 3C: The Mortar and Pestle

219

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Module 3C: The Mortar and Pestle

220

QUICK REFERENCE

Pictorial Summaries of Coordination Patterns

221

• Always regulate your effort to be within your comfort zone: the amount of sensation you can experience without fear or cringing. • Begin with the amount of effort needed to feel your effort and, with each repetition, start with the least effort you can feel. Work toward “gentle.” • Learn the parts (elements) of multi-part movements, put them together. • Go slowly enough to feel tension increase or decrease. • Be sure to relax completely between repetitions. • To repeat, be sure to relax completely between repetitions.

THE “FEEL” ICON

THE “EQUALIZE” ICON

PICTORIAL SUMMARIES

222

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. Never cause yourself to cringe. If a movement hurts, use less effort.

SUMMARY 1A

Ü

2.

5

1.

Ø

NO EFFORT

5

Û

5

1.

2.

3.

Ø 2. ØØ

5

3.

Ý

Ý 4.

Ü Ø 1.

Ø

PICTORIAL SUMMARIES

223

5

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. Never cause yourself to cringe. If a movement hurts, use less effort.

SUMMARY 1B

1.

×

2. 5.

××

ØØ

4.

Ø

3.

Ø

PICTORIAL SUMMARIES

224

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. Never cause yourself to cringe. If a movement hurts, use less effort.

SUMMARY 1C(a)

1.

2

5 2.

4. NO EFFORT

×

5

5 3.

5 1. 2. 3. 4.

Hips up. Head up. Hips down. Head down.

PICTORIAL SUMMARIES

225

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. Never cause yourself to cringe. If a movement hurts, use less effort.

SUMMARY 1C(b)

1.

Ø

Ø

CHIN UP, HEAD DOWN

2.

NO EFFORT

ÖÕ

4. 3.

PICTORIAL SUMMARIES

226

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. Never cause yourself to cringe. If a movement hurts, use less effort.

SUMMARY 1C - COMPLETE NOW, COMBINE THE TWO COORDINATION PATTERNS INTO A CYCLE.

NO EFFORT

5

1.

7.

6.

2

× ×

5

2. TRIPOD

× 5.

Ø +

BELLY UP+CHIN UP HEAD DOWN

5

3.

Ø NO EFFORT

Ø

5

4.

PICTORIAL SUMMARIES

227

Ø

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. Never cause yourself to cringe. If a movement hurts, use less effort.

SUMMARY 2A(a)

Ø

Þ

1.

Û

¬

Þ

3.

Û

2.

Þ

¬

PICTORIAL SUMMARIES

228

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe

SUMMARY 2A(b)

Shrug to shorten neck.

Ý

Ü

1.

Ø5. NO EFFORT

2.

Þ

4.

Ø Û

(×)

Ø

Reach.

Þ

Press elbow & shoulder.

Þ

3.

Ø Û Lift knee.

¬

229

Þ

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe

SUMMARY 2A(c)

Ø

Þ

NO EFFORT

230

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. Never cause yourself to cringe. If a movement hurts, use less effort.

SUMMARY 2B

Set tension.

Hand switches.

Ö Ö

×

Õ

Ø Hand switches.

5

Set tension.

PICTORIAL SUMMARIES

231

5

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. Never cause yourself to cringe. If a movement hurts, use less effort.

SUMMARY 2C .

1. AT REST

Ø Ø Ø

Ü ARCH

2. SHOULDER DOWN

5. PELVIS FLATTENED

Ø 3. OTHER SHOULDER DOWN,

4. ARM AND FOOT LIFTED

FOOT TURNED IN

PICTORIAL SUMMARIES

232

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. Never cause yourself to cringe. If a movement hurts, use less effort.

SUMMARY 3A(a)

Û

1. HEAD AND SHOULDER

Ü 4.

NO EFFORT

2. ARCH BACK

Ü

3. EQUALIZE

PICTORIAL SUMMARIES

233

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. Never cause yourself to cringe. If a movement hurts, use less effort.

SUMMARY 3A(b)

Û CONTRACT BUTTOCK

Ø

Ø

NO EFFORT

NO EFFORT

PICTORIAL SUMMARIES

234

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe

SUMMARY 3A(c)

Ø Ø Ø

Ø

Ø

Ø

235

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe

SUMMARY 3B

1.

8.

7.

2.

6.

3.

×

4.

5.

236

Ø

Go slowly enough to notice the first sensation of effort. Always work within your zone of easy effort. If a movement hurts, use less effort. Never cause yourself to cringe

SUMMARY 3C

Ü 1.

ARCH

6.

’ ’

2.

5.

’ ’

3.

Ø

4. CAVE

’

237

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PICTORIAL SUMMARIES

238

Appendix A

Some Comments on Typical Terms Applied to Back Pain

239

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Some Comments on Typical Terms Applied to Back Pain Degenerative Disc Disease Refers to breakdown of the intervertebral discs -- the fibrocartilage spacers between vertebrae. The discs consist of two layers: a tough, fibrous outer ring (annulus fibrosus) and a gummy core (nucleus pulposus) -- something like a Tootsie Roll Pop. Disc breakdown may range from mild disc bulge, to more severe disc bulge (herniation), to rupture of the disc with extrusion of disc material, to conversion of the disc into bone (fusion). This phenomenon may occur anywhere in the spine, including the neck. While defined as a disease, Degenerative Disc Disease is no more a disease than a blowout of an overloaded tire is a disease of the tire. The breakdown comes from mechanical causes -- overcompression. Tight muscles of the back (the spinal extensors) pull neighboring vertebrae closer together, compressing the discs in between. Over time, the combination of overcompression and movement cause discs to break down, leading to the range of breakdown described above. The breakdown process can be stopped by restoring normal pliancy to the spinal muscles and normal space between the vertebrae. Then, the healing process can restore disc integrity. Added note: chronic dehydration due to insufficient water intake affects the discs adversely. As discs lose water, they lose plumpness and lose their ability to maintain space between neighboring vertebrae. Nerve entrapment, such as sciatica or tingling and numbness in the hands (including carpal tunnel syndrome), may result.2 2. Hanna, Thomas L. Ph.D. Somatics -- Reawakening the Mind’s Control of Movement, Flexibility, and Health. 1988: Perseus Books, pages 81-82.

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Spinal Subluxations The term, originating in Chiropractic, refers to misalignments of neighboring vertebrae. Such misalignments adversely affect posture, movement, and organ function by affecting nerve signal transmission. Bones go where muscles pull them. Abnormal (habituated) tensions in the spinal muscles pull vertebrae out of alignment. As muscular functioning normalizes, spinal alignment often normalizes spontaneously. Without normalization of muscular functioning, spinal misalignments tend to return; with normalization of muscular functioning, chiropractic adjustments, if needed, tend to be long-lasting and are needed less often, if ever.

Injury vs. Spasm People commonly confuse spinal injuries with muscle spasms. Spinal injuries involve changes in bone structure or soft-tissue consistency: fractured vertebrae, degenerating discs, nerve damage. Spinal injuries require substantial healing time -- or may never heal. Muscle spasms -- painful muscular contractions -- though painful, do not constitute an injury. Though symptoms of nerve impingement (tingling, burning, numbness, loss of muscular control) may accompany muscle spasms, these symptoms often disappear nearly instantly, once muscle spasms relax. Muscle spasms can often be induced to relax through somatic methods relatively quickly. Muscle spasms often follow traumatic accidents, such as falls or motor vehicle mishaps, shocks to the nervous system that prompt the muscular system to tighten up. For that reason, muscle spasms may be confused with spinal (not “spinal cord”) injuries. In persons with chronic muscular tension, muscle spasms may also occur when lifting heavy loads or even when bending forward, leading persons to speculate that they have injured their back.

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Referred Pain This term, familiar to physical therapists, has to do with pinched nerves (nerve impingement). It refers to pain at a location other than at the location where the nerve pinch exists. Sensory nerves end at brain connections corresponding to the body part they sense. A nerve that reports on the state of the foot ends in a brain connection that corresponds to the foot. That nerve “refers” to the foot. If the nerve to the foot gets pinched, the brain interprets the nerve signal that results as a sensation of the foot. Sciatica is an example of referred pain. The sciatic nerve branches down the back of the leg to the foot. A pinch or entrapment of the sciatic nerve at the waist or buttock (often caused by muscular tension) creates a signal that the brain interprets as trouble in the back of the leg or in the foot.

Facet Joint Syndrome The facet joints are bony projections on vertebrae. Generally, these bony projections on neighboring vertebrae don’t touch each other, but muscular contractions along the spine pull neighboring vertebrae together and may cause those facet joints to meet with undue pressure and friction. Another type of facet joint exists where ribs meet vertebrae. Excessive tension of the muscles that control rib movement may also cause a kind of facet joint syndrome. The pain and inflammation that result are sometimes called “facet joint syndrome” and sometimes, “spinal arthritis.”

Radiculopathy This is another term familiar to physical therapists. It refers to tingling and numbness in the extremities that result from nerve impingement (a pinched nerve). The term implies damage to a nerve root where it exits the spinal column.

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Sometimes, no damage exists; a nerve impingement of muscular origin exists. The symptoms of radiculopathy often disappears as soon as tensions of the spinal musculature normalize.

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Appendix B AN EXPERIMENT IN PERCEPTION

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An Experiment in Perception The following images show the typical posture of people with the pattern of muscular tension described earlier -- the muscular tension of typical back trouble. The two side-by-side images are designed to give you a three-dimensional view. While it is not necessary for your success in this program to get a threedimensional view from these images, it might be fun to try. The benefit of getting a 3-D view is that it awakens and harmonizes both sides of the brain -- helpful for developing body-awareness, as we are doing in this program. Here’s how to get that three-dimensional view, using these images. In normal seeing, depth perception (binocular vision) comes from your brain’s merging the slightly different images seen by your two eyes into one image. The images shown here are slightly different from each other. +

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As you gaze at these images, relax your eyes. If both your eyes are “awake”, you will notice how the images drift apart, and instead of seeing two images, you see four.

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Now, cross your eyes gently and see the images drift toward each other. Add a bit of effort to crossing your eyes, and you will see the innermost images overlay each other. Get them to merge, and you have a three-dimensional image. The image below shows a more normal posture characteristic of a person without back trouble.

+

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Now, it’s an interesting thing, but the first set of images corresponds more to the ideal of a masculine man -- muscular, powerful -- and under strain. The second set of images corresponds to another kind of man -- not so muscular looking, not so powerful looking -- and relaxed. The interesting thing is that the only difference between the two images is their posture -- the state of tension they portray. Exactly the same figures were used for both sets of images, with no changes of muscular build. This observation may reveal something about why back trouble is so prevalent in our culture.

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Appendix C WE BECOME HOW WE LIVE.

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An Expanded View of The Three Reflexes of Stress “We become how we live.”

In his book, Somatics1 , Thomas Hanna described three neuromuscular reflexes of stress: the Landau Reaction2, the Startle Reflex3, and the Trauma Reflex4. He described his view of how, when repeatedly triggered, these reflexes lead to the formation of tension habits that create the pains and stiffness commonly attributed to aging. This information might be of interest to you if you’re wondering what’s going on with you, particularly if you have chronic conditions that don’t respond well to the usual therapeutic options. Thomas Hanna also described the role of expectation in the aging process − how the expectation that aging leads to decrepitude leads to people limiting their lives so that they become unfit for life; their expectation becomes a reality. In popular parlance, “Use it or lose it.” My own practice has substantiated his views. I have also seen that there are various attitudes and ways of operating in life that lead to a poor life experience and to formation of tension habits that lead to poor aging. In general, these ways of operating have to do with how we handle beginnings, middles, and endings of the events in our lives.

The Enigma Most people respond well and decisively to Hanna Somatic Education as a way of eliminating chronic muscular or musculo-skeletal pain resulting from aging, injury, or stress. But from time to time, I encounter people whose improvement is temporary, and for whom their initial complaint reappears − or who just don’t respond as expected to the work. 1. Hanna, Thomas, Ph.D. Somatics. Reading, MA: Perseus Books, 1988 2. ibid, page 61 3. ibid, page 49 4. ibid, page 79

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For some of these, the explanation is simple: they have returned to the same activities that provoked the problem to begin with, without adding to their lives the regimen of somatic coordination patterns that dispels the effects of those activities. There have been others, however, for whom the return of the initial complaint, or its failure to resolve, was enigmatic.

The Insight Expanded insight into the psycho-physical workings of human beings (ourselves) seems to provide an explanation that intuitively resounds with a striking ring of truth. The ways we accept, reject, and participate in experience (or the ways in which we handle beginnings, middles, and endings in our lives) lead to the accumulation or release of tension. Let’s begin with a premise and see if it is intuitively acceptable.

Every act of attention or any intention to act involves a rise of muscular tension.

What this means is that paying attention and getting ready to act involve moving from a state of rest to a state of heightened muscular activity. Moving from a state of “not ready” (at rest) to a state of “readiness” (getting set) and into action all involve rising tension. (“Ready, get set, go!”) You might experience such a state of heightened tension as you work to understand what I’m getting at in this paper. The effort of understanding is both an act of attention (to these words) and an intention to make sense (of these words). Effort is tension. That’s just an immediate example, perhaps the hardest one you will encounter in this paper.

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For those who are unfamiliar with the reflexes of stress named above, I begin with a brief description. Then, I touch on attitudes and ways of operating so that you may consider them in your own case and, as a somatic explorer in your own right, determine for yourself whether those connections between behavior and tension hold good in your own case. I frame each of those ways of operating in terms of “beginnings, middles (or continuations), and endings (or interruptions)” to help you tap into the type of intention that can change them for the better.

The Neuromuscular Reflexes of Stress There is a general opinion among physical therapists and developmental physiologists that two of the reflex patterns described below, the Landau reaction and Startle Reflex, are outgrown after a certain stage of infancy. However, the muscular patterns of contraction described here fit the descriptions of those muscular tension patterns and persist throughout a lifetime. Perhaps this difference of opinion is only a matter of what we call these patterns of contraction, but whatever name we use, they are common among human beings and last throughout a lifetime. That said, let’s continue.

THE LANDAU REACTION The Landau Reaction is the movement into beginnings and the mood of continuing or sustained action. The posture of the Landau Reaction, though evident in people everywhere, goes largely unrecognized. It is the swayback and tight shoulders of people under stress. Its beginnings start in infancy. At about three months of age, most infants start lifting their head to look around. They are developing a heightened state of alertness and awareness of their environment. This development is the key distinction of the Landau reaction, which involves both heightened alertness and activation of the erector muscles of the spine, the muscles that gather independent vertebrae into a functional unit that is recognizable as a spine − and makes lifting the head, sitting up, crawling, creeping, standing, walking, etc., possible.

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When an infant turns upon his or her belly, he or she is preparing to crawl. The act of crawling, itself, activates the gluteal muscles of the buttocks and the hamstrings (for leg movements) and the muscles that surround the shoulder blades (for arm movements). So we have two distinctions for the Landau Reaction:



coming to a heightened state of alertness (sensory awareness)



activation of certain nerve pathways that control certain muscle groups in the back side of the body

THE STARTLE REFLEX The Startle Reflex is the movement of withdrawal from total experience; it is the withdrawal of attention from experiencing via the cringing response. The movements of the cringing response are familiar to all of us. We see it when we hear a sudden noise (e.g., a door slams or someone yells, “Duck!”) and we pull into a ducking position, or when something moves quickly toward our face and we shut our eyes and contract our face. We may possibly have read about people curling into fetal position when under emotional stress. The Startle Reflex is the reflex of fear. The reflex involves a cascade of responses in which the individual closes themselves off from the environment, starting with the face, then the neck and chest, then the arms and shoulders, abdomen, and at last, the legs, as the knees are brought together and pulled toward the chest in a movement into collapse. Where the Landau Reaction is the impulse to explore and participate in our environment, the Startle Reflex is a drawing away and withdrawal from our environment. Where the Landau Reaction involves activation of the muscles of the back of the body, the Startle Reflex involves activation of the muscles of the front of the body. So we have two distinctions for the Startle Reflex:



withdrawal from sensory awareness of the environment

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activation of certain nerve pathways that control certain muscle groups in the frontal aspect of the body

THE TRAUMA REFLEX The Trauma Reflex is the limiting of movement (or participation in experience) in order to maintain safety while participating in experience. There is a universal response to pain or injury: we contract away from the perceived source of the sensation. The trauma reflex is another kind of “movement-away”. Unlike the Startle Reflex, which is wholesale withdrawal from contact with the individual’s environment, the trauma reflex is a selective withdrawal from an external event or stimulus. It is an act of self-preservation, while still staying in participatory contact with our environment. Unlike the Startle Reflex, which has a consistent movement pattern, the trauma reflex involves patterns of movement unique to the situation. In general, injuries come from a single direction, usually from one side of the individual or the other; rarely do they come from a straight-forward direction. So the effects of trauma reflex show up as asymmetrical postural distortions. So we have two distinctions for the Trauma Reflex:



withdrawal of sensory awareness from a painful or shocking sensation



activation of certain nerve pathways that control muscle groups involved in physical withdrawal from the direction from which pain or shock seems to come

Summary of the Neuromuscular Reflexes of Stress These descriptions show that there is a correlation of the emotional, cognitive, and sensory-motor realms. They all involve a simultaneous involvement of the senses and of movement. Each has its proper moment. Problems occur when they persist beyond the moment as chronic, fixated, or habituated responses.

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Somatic education, in general, and Hanna Somatic Education, in specific, is a way to get free of these responses when they have become habituated and chronic, to return to a free state of functioning appropriately responsive to the moment.

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How Our Way of Operating in Life Triggers the Neuromuscular Reflexes of Stress PROCRASTINATION AND URGENCY a disorder of beginning and a beginning of disorder

Have you ever procrastinated? Have you noticed that resisting doing something you felt needed doing only added to your tension in life? That once you did it, you felt relieved? Have you ever procrastinated for so long that now the matter you had put off constituted an emergency about which you felt some urgency? Would you say that urgency involves a state of heightened tension? That’s the Landau Reaction. Consider the cumulative effects of habitual procrastination. What must the tension level be like in a person who habitually procrastinates? Always behind, always hurrying.

LATENESS AND HURRYING a disorder of beginning and a beginning of disorder

What about a person who is habitually late for appointments? Same thing, isn’t it? Now that they’re late, they’re driven to be on time. Would such a person be tense? Another instance of the Landau Reaction.

BROKEN COMMITMENTS AND OVERLOAD a disorder of continuation

How about the person who is late but doesn’t care? Is it true that they really don’t care, or are they just resisting caring? Their promise to be on time was a commitment they made (for whatever reason); now, they are denying their original commitment. So now they are opposing the thing with which they were at first sympathetic. Isn’t this confusing? Confusion costs us peace. It’s a kind of disoriented state of heightened tension; we can’t (or won’t ) choose one side or the other. It’s a way of being stuck and wanting to get free.

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What makes it more complicated is that another person is involved who stands for the thing with which we were originally sympathetic, but now oppose. So they seem to be our opponent − for asking us to do that for which we prepared (at least partially) to do by making a commitment. To make a commitment is to enter a state of readiness to act. It’s a heightened state of tension. It triggers the Landau reaction until the commitment is fulfilled. Consider the person who habitually makes and fails to keep commitments − or makes too many commitments. What amount of tension must they be accumulating? How must their attention be split among the various directions of their unfulfilled commitments? Might they feel overloaded and tense?

... on the receiving end of Broken Commitments and Overload: UNFULFILLED EXPECTATION AND ANGER a disorder of continuation Suppose you’re the person disappointed by someone who’s made a commitment to you. You’re in a state of readiness to fulfill what you both agreed to, in a state of suspense, even, and now it isn’t happening. You’re waiting for it to happen. More readiness, more Landau Reaction, more tension. What of the person who habitually enters into agreements with a person who habitually breaks them? Might that not contribute to a persons stress level? Might they not go nuts, at times?

SLOPPINESS a disorder of endings or completions “A Clean Desk is a Sign of a Sick Mind” − perhaps you have seen this saying on a coffee mug in some office. This saying is a sign of a sick mind! Why? Like procrastination, sloppiness leads to a sense of urgency − a sense of “overwhelm” − chronic fatigue. The mess seems too much to clean up and so only gets worse with time. Sporadic attempts at clean-up lead to getting bogged down

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in details. Eventually, one wishes for a dump truck − but among the detritus are usually things one wants! So the mass preys upon ones attention. Sloppy people have trouble ending things with a completion. Their attention goes off the situation before it is over. They put things down and forget where they put them. They make promises and forget they made them. The rooms they occupy become shrines to disorder and backlog, every square inch of surface area occupied with stuff. They live under the Sword of Damocles, too many things pending, and the consequences of their actions impending. They may be paralyzed by feelings of impending doom. Because so much is pending, they exist in a state of chronic arousal, the tension of the Landau Reaction; because consequences are impending, they exist in a state of chronic anxiety, the tension of the Startle Reflex. Like the rooms they occupy, their minds are congested with clutter. Ever worked in an office occupied by such a person? How do you feel, there? It’s something like a kind of mental constipation, isn’t it? A sloppy desk is a sign of a sick mind. The cure? End things with a completion.

SELF-DENIAL: UNMET NEEDS AND RESENTMENT a disorder of beginning Desire is the impulse to take action to get what we want or need − e.g., to go and talk to someone, to go get something − some physical action. Consider the “polite” person who doesn’t ask for what they need or accept it when it is offered because (in their mind) it would inconvenience someone else or be impolite. They have dual motivations: to get what they need (beginning/ Landau) and to avoid a “situation” (interrupting/Startle). Might they be a little tense? Might they be a bit prone to angry resentment at those who do ask for (and get) what they need? (“If I shouldn’t ask

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for it, neither should they.”) Might they be feeling both needy and angry − and isn’t that a good definition of resentment? And consider the person who acts that way as a matter of principle. Might they not accumulate the dual tensions of desiring to act to get what they want and opposing their desire? (... which is “the fault of others,” of course.)

CHRONIC DISTRACTION: BEING DIVERTED (DIVERTING ONESELF) FROM ONES PRIORITIES a disorder of endings (or completions)

A priority is a decided-upon intention. As a state of readiness-to-act, it involves heightened tension; complete relaxation is unreadiness to act. Some people have a tendency to distraction. When we get distracted, our first priority remains as a frustrated (or delayed) impulse. The sense of frustration is a combination of arousal or readiness to act coupled with restraint (the sense of being delayed) as we involve ourselves with something else. In effect, we have three “programs” or intentions to act going on at once: readiness, delay, and the “off-purpose” action. Consider how wound up people get when delayed in traffic. Since our priorities often involve other persons, consider, in addition, the tension involved in handling the reactions of others affected by our distraction. In effect, they remind us of our own state of readiness to act on our first priority; when we resist that reminder, we call it “nagging”, but it is our own heightened tension, our own readiness to act (Landau) on our first priority, that we are feeling and resisting. People who commonly follow distractions get accustomed to heightened states of tension.

RESISTANCE TO CHANGE: REGRET AND MISSED OPPORTUNITIES disorder of failed beginnings, ended before they began

How many times have we agonized about missed opportunities − moments when we had the desire to act, but suppressed it?

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The desire to act stands as a state of readiness; the suppression of action substitutes for relaxing and relinquishing the initial desire, which continues. The memory of the situation re-triggers the desire and intensifies the state of readiness to act (to begin: Landau) at a time when action is now impossible (so we believe). It is a desire to begin meeting a belief in a premature end.

VIOLATING TABOOS OR ONES OWN SENSE OF INTEGRITY a disorder of desiring to end what we are beginning

A taboo is an injunction to refrain from certain types of actions. When we knowingly violate taboos, we feel a combination of fear of the consequences and desire to do it anyway. This combination of feelings triggers, at the same time, the Landau Reaction (readiness to act, involving the muscles of the back of the body) and the Startle Reflex (withdrawal from action, involving the muscles of the front of the body). The same reflexes are triggered any time we engage in actions that we feel are wrong or for which we feel unprepared.

PERPETRATIONS actions that we wish we had never begun

A perpetration is any action about which we feel guilt, shame, regret, remorse, or any similar emotion. It is an action we wish we had not done, or an act of omission, for which we have not yet handled the consequences. Lies and secrets are included in this category. Perpetrations involve both a memory of the action (maintained as a heightened state of tension in the musculature − a memory is a heightened readiness to experience something) and a desire to counteract the action (another heightened state of tension in the musculature − readiness to do the opposite action).

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Since these states of readiness do not cancel or neutralize each other (since the emotion is persisting), they add to each other. One word for this state is torment. Tormented people are not relaxed, you may have noticed.

STUBBORNNESS AND FRUSTRATION a disorder of prevented beginnings

Frustration is no stranger to us; it has been described as “the universal disease”. The opposite of procrastination, frustration involves a state of readiness that conflicts with our previous state of readiness to be some other way - or with conditions we have yet to handle. It may involve (and be intensified by) a chronic desire for a beginning coupled with a refusal to end what has come before. When a great change is desired, rather than one intention dissolving into the next, it persists and conflicts with it. The “disowned” desire (for what has gone before) is then assumed to come from the environment or others, setting the stage for fruitless conflict and tension.

SELF-DECEPTION: RESISTED ROLES disorders of denied beginnings and failed endings

A role is a set of behaviors and feelings. Consider actors in the theater; what we respond to is not they, themselves, but the role they are playing. Our system of morals, social mores, and taboos seeks to confine feelings and behaviors within a certain accepted range. Greed, cruelty, stupidity, selfishness, and ignorance are (most of the time) taboo, except when the end “justifies” the means (see “Violating Taboos” above). I’m sure you can think of other attributes, as well. Consequently, when we have impulses (or habits) that embody those forbidden attributes, we are likely to go into conflict with ourselves. This pattern is similar to that of perpetrations, except for the addition of one more feature: denial.

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We tend to deny that we embody those forbidden attributes and suffer torment at the idea that we do embody them. We also tend to want to torment others who embody those attributes! Such is the origin of much righteous anger. People who resist playing a certain role also tend to emphasize its opposite, giving power to their denial that they are that way. Another state of “readiness”, held as a desire not to experience being the way we really want to be. It is a combination of Landau and Startle. More tension. Summary These are but a few examples of how people operate that lead to the heightened tensions of the three reflexes of stress. They show how the way we live triggers the neuromuscular reflexes of stress. A moment’s consideration reveals how they also set the stage for injury. (Think of haste, inattention, and disordered environments.) While clinical somatic education can do much to alleviate the effects of injury and stress, the effects of self-conflicted ways of living return as long as we continue to live as we have. No-contraction, no-problem is the natural condition of rest, and it is available only when we conduct our lives in such a way that our attention can move appropriately into beginnings and come to rest in appropriate endings. We must change our lives or suffer our own reactions. © 2000 Lawrence Gold. Reprinted from Somatics -- the Magazine-Journal of the Mind-Body Arts and Sciences, summer/fall 2000, Vol. XII, no. 4, pg. 12

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Appendix D A FUNCTIONAL LOOK AT BACK PAIN AND TREATMENT METHODS

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A Functional Look at Back Pain and Treatment Methods Lawrence Gold, Certified Hanna Somatic Educator REPRINTED FROM THE TOWNSEND LETTER FOR DOCTORS AND PATIENTS, November, 1994, #136, pg. 1186, revised 4/5/02

Two primary sources of chronic back pain are muscular hypertonicity (resulting in joint compression and possible nerve impingement) and lactic acid buildup in hypertonic muscles (creating nociceptor irritation). Improper or insufficient movement and/or postural habits lead to (and result from) chronic muscular hypertonicity and soreness. This essay presents a radical departure from the conventional viewpoint of clinical therapeutics. It states that to resolve back pain often requires neither strengthening nor stretching, neither mechanical skeletal adjustment nor application of electrical stimulation, heat or cold, neither muscle relaxants nor surgery. In many cases, to resolve back pain requires nothing more than improving the link between kinesthetic awareness and motor control, the benefits of which, in some cases, might be augmented by soft-tissue manipulation. Both traditional and newer treatment methods are discussed.

INTRODUCTION The conventional understanding of muscular back pain is that it results from traumatic injury, poor posture, genetic (mis)endowment, old age, or from "insidious causes". Pain is often attributed to strain, sprain, or facet joint damage. In cases of traumatic injury, such as whiplash or a lifting injury, a strain, sprain, or joint damage may in fact have occurred. In many cases, however, pain reflects chronic muscular hypertonicity following injury or subsequent to longterm stress. Lactic acid buildup and tissue irritation follow- this apart from any tissue damage that may exist.

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Two basic conditions contribute to lactic acid build-up in muscle and thus, to back pain: •

chronic muscular hypertonicity



disorganization of the fascial network (connective tissue)

Chronic Muscular Hypertonicity Chronic muscular hypertonicity may result from long-term performance of repetitive movement (e.g., at work); from long-term emotional distress (i.e., heightened tension), or from trauma (reflexive retraction from pain upon injury that persists through healing). In all cases, muscular tension begins as a momentary response and becomes chronic/automatic through habituation. It often persists even during sleep. Whether muscular hypertonicity results from pain (i.e., from guarding against pain) or produces it, the results are the same: reduced movement, decreased circulation, and accumulation of lactic acid in the involved muscle tissue. Habituated contraction can accumulate in "layers" (with multiple episodes of heightened tension), often to crisis proportions, as often happens with back pain. Habitually tight muscles interfere with movement and interfere with their muscular antagonists; fatigue, stiffness, and soreness result. Chronic co-contraction of extensors and flexors is one mechanism by which unresolved muscular tension persists. When the extensors and flexors of the trunk co-contract, they shorten the spine and compress the intervertebral discs; this is a common origin of disc degeneration and radiculopathy. Whether muscular hypertonicity arises from physical or emotional origin, the result is the same: lactic acid build-up and joint compression.

Disorganization of the Fascia The fascia is the fibrous matrix that gives shape and tensile strength to tissue; in muscle, fascia is called, "myofascia". In soft tissue, fascia grows or shrinks

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according to functional demand. This logic of growth-by-demand creates a pattern of organization visible as the physical person; it also imprints stress and trauma upon the fascial system, present as patterns of disorganization -- contraction and restricted movement. The fascia is thus an organ of memory, whether of healthy function or of dysfunction, as well as of tissue integrity. The consequences of trauma -- heightened muscular tension, pain, and fatigue -- may thus persist due to disorganization of the fascia. Long-term consequences may include crises of spasm and long-term joint degeneration.

Summary of Introduction Two basic conditions, muscular hypertonicity and fascial disorganization, can account for many or most cases of chronic back pain. METHODS OF TREATMENT We discuss four basic areas of praxis for the treatment of back pain: •

physical therapy modalities



chiropractic manipulation



somatic education



myofascial release techniques

In physical therapy, therapeutic exercise, heat, electrical stimulation, and massage are the usual modalities used to treat back pain. In chiropractic manipulation, adjustments of vertebral placement shift patterns of compression communicated through the skeletal system. In somatic education, accelerated sensory-motor learning retrains the central nervous system (CNS) to alleviate muscular hypertonicity. In myofascial release techniques, soft-tissue manipulation frees adhesions and restriction in the myofascial system.

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Physical Therapy Modalities Therapeutic Exercise, Heat, Ice, Electrical Stimulation, and Massage Therapeutic exercises may, if properly taught, supervised, and practiced by the patient, improve sensory awareness and voluntary control over muscular tension. Although the rationale behind therapeutic exercises is usually to strengthen muscles, a more precise understanding is that it improves coordination and control of muscles, upon which strength depends. Such exercises, performed ballistically, produce little benefit and may increase pain and spasticity. To produce the most benefit, they must be performed slowly, smoothly, and with due respect for the patient's comfort level (to avoid guarding against pain by tightening further). Moist heat, applied to the affected area, increases circulation and induces relaxation. Application of ice can numb pain and, through a rebound of circulation to restore warmth to an area, result in removal of lactic acid. These three approaches are therefore effective ways to flush lactic acid from the soft tissues, and that is the primary benefit. These modalities are therefore palliative; hypertonicity tends to return. Electrical stimulation may produce temporary relaxation and mask pain; by inducing increased awareness of the hypertonic muscles, it may also indirectly improve voluntary control over muscular tension. Muscular activity and massage move fluids from the soft tissues into the bloodstream and lymphatic system, through pumping action.

Chiropractic Manipulation Bone movement and position reflect muscular pulls and the lines of stress communicated through the fascial system. Sense receptors in joints communicate bone movement to the Central Nervous System (CNS), which in turn controls muscular tensions associated with posture.

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Thus, movement and sensation form a feedback loop for the maintenance of postural alignment. For bone displacement maintained by muscular tensions of recent (i.e., nonhabituated) status, skeletal adjustments can be sufficient to interrupt postural reactions to injury and bring relief. Muscular tensions of long duration (i.e., habituated status), may reassert themselves after skeletal adjustments. In such cases, relief is brief, as muscular hypertonicity returns, with attendant exacerbation of symptoms. The same limitation applies to traction techniques.

Somatic Education Somatic education addresses the sensory-motor aspect of the CNS to reduce muscular hypertonicity. It is indicated where residual tension persists after injured tissue has healed or where hypertonicity returns after treatment by conventional methods. Four forms of somatic education will be discussed, here: •

conventional postural training



movement training



assisted pandiculation

Conventional Postural Training Conventional postural training teaches patients to establish a neutral spine position in movement and to maintain it in all activity. Patients thus limit their movement and tend to maintain protective holding patterns in the musculature ("guarding"). Guarding leads to conditioning into chronic patterns of tension, and patients tend to remain fearful about their injury. An alternative to this choice is to maintain "normal spinal curves". The fallacy of this approach is that there exist "normal spinal curves"; the spine is inherently a flexible structure whose curves

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change according to load, position, and emotional tension. This fallacy extends to the use of "lumbar supports".

Movement Training Movement education seeks to develop balanced agonist/antagonist muscular coordination throughout the body. Where agonist overpowers antagonist (where reciprocal inhibition is interfered with by chronic hypertonicity), postural aberrations result. For example, in individuals who typically stand with knees locked and feet and legs splayed apart, abductors and the external rotators of the thighs have overpowered the adductors and internal rotators. The pelvis is thrust forward, as a result, the rib cage falls back, and the head, forward. Such a position accentuates the spinal curves and adds strain to the musculature of the neck and thoracic spine. Movement training optimally uses balanced movements that "reprogram" control of agonist/antagonist muscle pairs. The patterns of movement thus cultivated permit release of more habituated tensions, including those of injuryguarding and emotional distress. As better-balanced movement patterns develop, compensatory muscular responses are less necessary; muscular tensions redistribute themselves and abate. Lactic acid concentration and pain decrease. Examples of somatic education include Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF), The Alexander Technique, The Trager Approach, Feldenkrais Somatic Integration, Rolfing Movement, Hanna Somatic Education, and others. All of these methods use the client/patient's capacity for learning to develop new patterns of sensory-motor integration (coordination). Success depends upon restoring or improving voluntary control of previously involuntarily muscular contractions. Otherwise, states of involuntary contraction interfere with the possibility of establishing new coordination patterns.

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Assisted Pandiculation Pandiculation is an instinctual behavior found among all vertebrates that purges residual tension from the neuromuscular system. Assisted pandiculation systematically triggers the effects of pandiculation through a kind of "eccentric, active- resistive range of motion" maneuver; this maneuver produces sufficient sensory awareness of the involved areas to induce rapid sensory-motor learning. Assisted pandiculation produces a nearly instantaneous, stable reduction of habitual hypertonicity that can, if necessary, be maintained with a few minutes of patterned movement a day. It may be the fastest method known for bringing involuntary (habituated) muscular hypertonicity under voluntary control. As of this writing, there is only one system of movement education known which uses assisted pandiculation: Hanna Somatic Education. To be most effective, somatic education must include the whole body (since the neuro-musculo-skeletal system operates as a whole to maintain balance in the gravitational field). All of the methods named above cultivate relaxed or easy balance (grace) in movement and at rest, though some work more quickly than others.

Myofascial Release Techniques Myofascial release techniques free restrictions of the fascial network that have developed through injury or through growth under chronic muscular tension. Certain varieties concentrate on symptomatic relief and direct their processes accordingly. The technique developed by Ida P. Rolf, Ph.D. ("Structural Integration") addresses the body as a whole via a systematic, 10-session system that concentrates on improving overall physiological functioning, apart from consideration of symptoms. (Advanced work beyond the basic 10-session series is also done.) Structural Integration works by guiding the fascia into a pattern of distribution that more nearly approximates their anatomical ideals, as indicated by bony landmarks, joint structure, and the requirements for balance-inmovement, as dictated by the demands of the gravity field.

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This process balances the agonist/antagonist pairs, distributes tensional forces in the myofascia, and so allows the core of the body to relax and open. Structural Integration differs from myofascial release, per se, by its systematic approach to postural alignment and balance in movement, and in its recognition of the functional relationship of hard and soft tissues in relation to the gravitational field. In cases of chronic "poor posture," problems can usually be found in the myofascial system, e.g., twists, thickening, displacement from normal position, etc. Fascia in this state may be very tight and restrictive of movement. Consequently, agonist/antagonist muscle pulls are imprecisely matched and impaired, leading to irregularities of movement, impaired coordination, muscle weakness, and poor postural support. As stated above, chronic fatigue, pain, and postural breakdown accompany myofascial distortions. Neuromuscular compensations, including decreased mobility and unbalanced alignment, ensue. For example, the shoulder and hip joints are related. In walking, they move contralaterally; at rest, they counterbalance each other: As one hip moves forward, the shoulder above it tends to move backward as a postural reflex. The torso connects the two girdles, hip and shoulder. Compensatory shifts of these girdles twist or distort the spine and rib cage. The combination of a twist, shear forces, and muscle tension adds stress to the whole torso. For that reason, when treating back problems, the establishment of a dynamically balanced and freely functional neutral spine position requires free movement and reciprocal coordination of the shoulder the hip girdles. The technique of Structural Integration involves (1), placing the displaced part near its position of optimal relationship with its neighboring parts, (2) manually restraining the local myofascia, where disordered, and simultaneously, (3) having the patient/client move the part in a way approximating normal movement. The combination of movement and tissue-restraint repositions the myofascia to a better approximation of the norm.

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SUMMARY Though varying in etiology and degree of severity, back pain has a common feature: build-up of lactic acid in muscle tissue and resulting irritation. Muscular hypertonicity and postural distortions create pain, facet joint irritation, and radiculopathy. Disorganization of the fascial network restricts movement and triggers postural responses to overcome those restrictions. Hypertonicity may result from injury (trauma reflex), persistent emotional responses, repetitive movements, habitual poor posture, and/or prolonged immobilization. Treatment modalities addressing those mechanisms -- through the disciplines of physical therapy, chiropractic, somatic education, and myofascial release -have been discussed.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT I pay my respect to the late Thomas Hanna, Ph.D., whose writings and personal instruction provided a structure for my personal somatic explorations and for my work with others, and to Dr. Ida P. Rolf, for her development of the system of soft-tissue manipulation and movement education known as Rolfing.

REFERENCE Hanna, Thomas L. Somatics: Re-Awakening the Mind's Control of Movement, Flexibility, and Health. Reading, MA: Perseus Books, 1988

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MORE SOMATICS available at Somatics on the Web (somatics.com) Biokinetics/Hanna Somatics Developmental Movement Education with Carol Welch, certified Hanna somatic educator video programs available in VHS, PAL, and on DVD

Reflexes 101w The movement patterns worked with in this video address muscular contractions held involuntarily and unconsciously. They create a better condition for breathing, walking, and functioning in a more comfortable and efficient body. Practice along with Carol. 76 minutes running time, many hours in fruitful practice time. Spine and Joints 102w This program is based on movement patterns for the well-being of the spine, the long muscles of the back, and the small muscles joining the vertebrae. Included are cyclic motions that serve to integrate the sense of weight, balance, intention, and direction of movement. I liked this video very much. It was well organized and aesthetically pleasing. Clear and simple to follow, the video had an excellent pace which allowed the viewer to participate simultaneously with the producers. Consequently, I would recommend this video . . . It is accessible, applicable and appropriate for any audience: practitioners, students, or novices. Judith Aston (Aston Patterning)

Free Your Psoas -- all most people need by Lawrence Gold, certified Hanna somatic educator 2 DVD set, also available via electronic download

Got groin pain? Been diagnosed with a tight psoas? Here's a system of movements that ends groin pain, iliopsoas bursitis, and related conditions. Enjoy standing, walking and moving, again. Nine somatic exercises bring tight psoas muscles under control and free them comfortably, without stretching, for superior freedom and movement, Calmly Energizing: Somatic Breathing Training to Reduce Stress by Lawrence Gold, certified Hanna somatic educator

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