Sitting Exercises For Your Back
These exercises are based on, and developed from, some of Shafarman’s Feldenkrais Method exercises (ref. 1): they have been somewhat simplified and incorporate Threnergy Lines (The Power of Threnergy ref. 2).
The approach I have adopted is to enable you to get 80% of the advantage with 20% of the effort – the Pareto Principle. For the remaining 20%, the detail and the nuances, you will need to read Awareness Heals and the Power of Threnergy books. The most important bit is to get started.
Threnergy Lines use the concept of three energy points located along a structural line within your body. Each of these points can be focused on in your mind’s eye, and expanded, in of themselves and away from each other.
Think of each point as being something like a flexible tennis ball that can expand at will. Each point can also contract, in of itself and towards each of the other points. The middle, neutral position is the relaxed, not expanded and not contracted, state (see diagram below – for a full description please refer to The Power of Threnergy book).
Each Threnergy Line can also flex, just like a bow can flex. So instead of expanding in a straight line, expansion is like two arcs or arches spreading out from the centre of the three points to the Upper and Lower Points. The opposite happens with contraction, and the relaxed state is a neutral straight-line position.
When you focus on your energy points to expand, relax, contract and relax you are using a mind-model – a simplified visualisation of how your body works, that imparts some powerful techniques.
You now have the very basics of a Threnergy Line and a Threnergy Bow. Sit down on a chair that has a hard seat, positioned so that you are sitting on the front 4 inches of it. Keep your legs directly out in front of you, knees bent and feet flat on the floor pointing straight ahead (preferably with no shoes on).
In this position, sit with a straight back and feel how you are sitting. Feel the pressure you exert on the seat beneath you and the floor beneath your feet. Feel how you are breathing.
There are three major Threnergy Lines that we will use for these exercises:
- the Lower Torso or Abdominal Line
- the Upper Torso Line and
- the Head-Neck Line
Upper Torso Line
In this post, the second in the Better Back series, I will cover the Upper Torso Line exercises to free up tension in that area This exercise follows on from the one I introduced you to with your Head-Neck Line.
We are building up to a whole-back, integrated exercise a piece at a time, in a connected series of posts.
Your Upper Torso Line has the Centre Point in the middle of your sternum. The best way to feel it, is to run your finger up and down your sternum ( breast bone) until you find the mid point along it. It may be feel a little more sensitive at that point.
The Upper Point is the V-notch at the top of your sternum. If you press a finger in gently – you will feel your windpipe. The Lower Point is at the bottom of your sternum – your Xiphoid process.
Try expanding this Threnergy Line, while breathing in. It may not move much, but it will move enough for you to be aware of it. Then start to breathe out and relax. The while still breathing out, contract your Upper Torso Threnergy Line. And relax.
You have now completed one full Threnergy Expand-Relax-Contract-Relax cycle on your Upper Torso Line.
Repeat this slowly 3 times.
Try repeating the Threnergy Cycle again, but this time, when you breathe in and expand, feel as though you are creating a Threnergy Bow between your v-neck and Xiphoid points, arching them gently backwards. Your mid-sternum should feel as though it is the center point of your bow. As you expand you should arch gently. Relax slowly back to the neutral Threnergy Line position. Again, repeat 3 times slowly.
Contraction gives the feeling of bringing the Upper and Lower, neck and Xiphoid, points forward in a slight contracting arch. Again, be gentle, slow and careful when contracting so as not to overdo it. Repeat 3 times slowly.
Here we have breathed in on expansion and out on contraction. We have also arched with expansion backwards and arched with contraction forward.
Now, try the same arching Threnergy Cycles as above, but vary it in the following ways. Try arching back with contraction, and arching forward with expansion. Also vary your breathing so that you breathe in with contraction and out with expansion. To enhance this set of exercises move your eyes upwards slightly ahead of the expansion movement and downwards and slightly ahead of your contraction movement.
This should help release tension built up by any fixed patterns of bending and breathing you may have.
Take some time now to relax and breathe in and out gently, dwelling on the new feeling you now have in your torso.
In the next post, I will cover Lower Torso/ Abdominal Line exercises.