One-Minute Practice: Have Your Own Back
With even more attention in front of us on screens these days, it’s even more important to embody our whole selves, which includes our backs.
It’s challenging anytime, since we are very front-oriented creatures, with our eyes in front of us. We are responding all the time to other’s fronts. We mostly see our fronts in mirrors and cameras.
But we are three dimensional beings, and sensing/feeling our three-dimensionality can help us feel whole, even on Zoom.
Bring your awareness to your feet on the floor. Press just a little, and sense the solidity of the ground and your leg muscles engage. Now release the muscles down into the feet and into the floor.
Squiggle a bit in your chair and feel the weight of your pelvis. Notice the round shape of the pelvic bowl. Sit bones are the bottom of the bowl and the Iliac Crests are the top. (see illustration) Tip your pelvic bowl forward and back just a little and notice where neutral is. You can imagine that nothing will “spill out” to the front or to the back.
Notice the length and gentle curve of the spine. Your tail releasing down on one end and your head releasing up at the other. The lumbar vertebrae are big and wide, the thoracic vertebrae are medium-sized and the cervical vertebrae are quite delicate. As the spine is not straight, it is not helpful to think “I should stand up straight.” Rather, think of allowing space and mobility between the vertebrae and how you might lengthen and lighten upwards.
Notice the width of your torso. Imagine your pants pockets can widen slightly away from each other. Give permission for your ribs on the side all the way up to your underarms to move out sideways in each breath. Imagine a little cotton ball size of air in your underarm area. Visualize or sense your shoulder blades and collar bones drifting gently away from your center. No pushing, just a gentle invitation to allow the top of your torso to widen.
Bring your attention to your depth, or the volume of your torso, from the front of you to the back of you. You might put a hand on your back and one on your front. Lower back and belly, middle back and lower sternum or heart area, upper back and collar bones or lower throat. Allow your attention to include your volume as you now add the awareness of air or space in the room behind you, to your sides, and above you. Take a moment to look away from the screen and sense your back body and front body in your space.
As you look back to the screen, let your eyes softly see these words (enlarge the font if this is not possible) and put your hand on the back of your skull. Sense the volume of your head, all the sense organs in the front, and a lot of brain in the back and top. As you take your hand away, can you continue to widen your circle of attention to include the back of your head, down the back of your whole body?
If someone came in and asked you a question right now, could you keep some sensation in your back body? Could you sense your three-dimensionality and stay “back” while conversing with the person in front of you? Not getting drawn too forward into the other, but staying with yourself as you respond with your whole self? There can be a sense of calmness and solidity.
When we practice having our own back, we are better able to tap into our authentic feelings, needs and desires.
Can you sense this is a way for you to “have your own back”?
We often say, “She has my back” or “They really had his back.”
When we have our own back while on the computer and Zoom, we sense our three-dimensional support, more centeredness and ease.
New and unfamiliar for me. Not difficult at all except the sensing the room outside myself. That one is a bit more tricky. Definitely this is something I want to practice.