Take Charge through Healthy Support
(4) Freedom of movement can be enjoyed even in cramped quarters, breaking through the stress and discomfort of say, sitting in an airplane or car seat, or at a computer for prolonged periods of time. The spine, along with head, neck and torso, actually needs very little space for this. At our disposal are over one hundred joints, and about as many muscles that can stretch and contract in reciprocity with each other, including matching but opposing forces. The approach must start from a point of stillness, allowing only for gentle, graceful, slow, incremental movement, and without any demand of fulfilling hurried expectations. Potentially, bound up in those frozen joints can then be quite a bit of tension to release, freeing up enough energy to noticeably lighten our load.
Three basic points for nurturing this spinal freedom:
(1) A little tender loving care for what you have inside can go a long way. Much of what’s in your back has had to ‘turn out the lights’, so to speak, after years of abuse. A state of chronic disassociation. Anytime you can make your peace with whatever there is to feel inside, exploring what you hadn’t previously allowed yourself to feel, to feel just as it is, if even for only a moment, without trying to change it, a powerful healing force is set in motion. Network Care is designed to help you re-connect. Nonetheless, with or without Network Care training, nothing can be more essential than appreciating those natural instincts that are already there to guide you, given to you at birth.
(2) The cells of your spine, which are wired into your emotions, need to be stretched, relaxed, and contracted in ways that your curiosity will find interesting or engaging. That’s your body talking to you. So leave behind the boring, repetitious-exercise mentality. Let the movements of your spine be your inner-space exploration journey into something that feels new or different, while keeping within the zone of where you feel safe. Maybe you’re intrigued to move something in a new way, or a very specific section of your spine you had assumed was totally immovable.
Every sliver of your spine you focus on is movable just by intention alone. Even if you didn’t know a joint was there, intention is what makes it happen. You don’t need to intellectually know if you’re “doing it right”, or even if you’re actually moving anything one iota. The intention is what initiates an energy force, fostering the expansion of nerve coordination to appropriate muscles and receptors, simultaneously giving you a growing sense of what’s happening. All new advancements in perception and nerve coordination start out on such subtle level. In speeding up the process, Network Care practitioners can assure you that your intention is actually doing something, allowing any doubt to be dispelled. Then the nerve connection readily becomes obvious. No matter. Explore within your own level of self-confidence. Your confidence is then certain to grow.
(3) A friendly appreciation of the pace and rhythm of your natural respiration will allow everything to feel the way it was meant to be – in synch. There’s a timing to everything that needs to work together. Fortunately, the ebb and flow of the expansion and contraction of your lungs is all you need to cue you in.
The development of this coordination is, to some extent, innate. So even if there was not much experience with Network Care, or no experience whatsoever, inasmuch as one can trust his or her own instincts, we can only benefit by using what we’ve been endowed with in trying some of this on our own. Much of our life anyway will be spent in some sort of sitting or stationary position, when we can only help ourselves by practicing between the distractions that have a way of hijacking our attention. Don’t force anything in a hurried manner. Take it nice and slow. Easy does it, as it’s the little steps along the way, allowing the attention to be more discriminating, that ultimately offers the most reward. However, for anytime you may feel the need to get rid of something that does not feel safe to feel as it is, even for brief moments, and move through on your own, then reading this first is strongly recommended; Healing vs Curing; Crossroads and Outcomes.
Twenty four spinal segments, or vertebra, are above the waist – 7 in the neck, 12 in the thoracic rib cage, 5 in the lumbar region of the low back. Below the waist are the 5 vertebra of the sacrum,(1) along with the tailbone2. Several muscles attach to both sides of each vertebra. The spine has a superficial, intermediate, and deep layer of musculature, with the deep layer having small muscles for more precise movement control of every vertebra.
We may appear to be hardly moving when stretching different segments of our spine in opposite directions while holding other segments in place. Nonetheless, having to stay somewhat still in our seat shouldn’t stop us from feeling a good release of pent-up tension, massaging the spine, neck and torso by virtue of what we’re physically doing from underneath the skin. This is when the restrained tension is liberated as free energy, giving our posture a greater range of freedom to express itself for what comes up at any moment in life.
5) So many moving parts in the spine, every movement can be novel, engaging, and invigorating.
Every experience we could ever live through has its unique, expressive signature in the spine – energy patterns reflecting the person’s inclinations at that moment. Whenever we accept, even for a brief moment, whatever there is to feel inside, while including awareness of the spinal column, gently fostering attentiveness for allowing all or any parts of the spine to move in coordinated timing with our natural respiration, that, in itself is enough to put us in synch with what’s altogether nourishing to our physical and emotional well-being.
(6) The spine is commander in chief.
From ancient practices that spoke of accessing the spine in order to make use of our greater potential, to modern scientific views of the central nervous system – comprising brain and spinal cord – as being the master control system of the body, the spine has been esteemed as the physical headquarters for commanding all aspects that could possibly be part of the human domain. As history would have it, a muddled understanding has been the result, as tapping into this potential power has not always been without it’s controversy.
In more anatomical terms
The nerve cells of the brain extend into the spine, whereupon it’s given a different name – the spinal cord. Nonetheless, the spinal cord could just as well be considered a part of the brain itself. By convention only, another term is used when referring to both brain and spinal cord together – the central nervous system. That which enables the brain’s nerve cells to be in communication, by way of 62 branches off of the spinal cord, with every cell and organ of the human body. Both brain and spinal cord are anchored to the skull and spinal vertebra by a thin layer of innervated connective tissue, called the meninges. Thus making it possible for the connection between movement of the spine and regulation of spinal cord tension to be wired into our emotions.
In more practical terms of day-to-day activity, coordinating precise movement – whether it’s playing a musical instrument, basketball, shoveling snow, running, or working out – is most assured when our actions emanate from the spine out into the limbs, allowing one’s feelings, in guiding the activity, to be fully expressed with confidence and determination. One of the simplest things we can do to encourage our coordination development is to notice, from time to time, how our spine works as we go about our various activities. As long as the noticing is steering clear of being self-critical in a degrading manner, good enough for paying our respects to the commander in chief.
Under Network Care, this enriched manner of engaging the spine through freedom of movement becomes instinctive, guided by what’s needed in every cell, as the body’s internal information is emotionally synthesized for what the person is most drawn to experience.
Even without Network Care, this can be seen, to some degree, in this beautiful video of pianist Krystian Zimerman playing Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto, led by Leonard Bernstein.
Although not all spinal segments are moving freely, there is some posturing to observe nonetheless – within the confines of instrumental technique – along with facial expressions and other gestures. The power and success of emotional expression is seated in the spine.
(1) The segments in the sacrum are most often thought to be fused in adulthood. However, given what is observed clinically under Network Care, this fusion does not appear to be of any permanent nature.
(2) Four bones, sometimes 3 or 5, make up the coccyx, often referred to as the tailbone.