Stone Columns and Bone Columns

Could this mis-aligned column be a visual metaphor for your lumbar spine?

I glimpsed this mis-aligned column while being swept along in a human stream descending the steps of the Acropolis of Athens. Happily, I was able to step out and take a picture.

At that moment, all my swirling thoughts about architectural columns and spinal columns suddenly gelled.

So far, I had learned that columns in the ancient world are a stack of flat sections that taper towards the top. They sit on a base, and end in a capital – from the Latin, meaning “little head.”

That’s very like a human spine, with its 24 separate pieces, flat on the bottom and flat on the top, which rest on a sacrum and end inside a head.

Imagine this mis-aligned column as bulging to the front and you have a good image for what happens when we stand with the pelvis forward of the line of gravity (the defining habit of modern posture). The bones move forward and the lumbar curve deepens. In both stone and bone, the sections above the bulge have less support.

There are differences of course. Bone is living tissue, encased in living tissue. And unlike a stone column, the human spine does have natural curves, although not the exaggerated curves that are now the norm.

If the displaced section of stone continues to move forward, at some point the column will fall.

We human beings are in no danger of finding our vertebrae on the floor because we have muscles and ligaments that can compensate. But those are tight, sore muscles, and overtaxed ligaments.

Our spines evolved over the course of millions of years to transfer our weight in the most efficient way possible into the ground. In Spinefulness we reclaim this efficient posture, give our weight into our bones and let our muscles relax.

If you’d like experience this relaxation yourself, here’s what’s coming up in the next two months:

I’ve set up two intro classes, in which you see the slideshow, learn a revolutionary new idea of good posture and learn to sit in a posture that will help your back instead of hurting it:

* Wednesday, December 5 from 6 to 7:30 pm.

* Sunday, January 6 from 2 to 3:30 pm

For details go to:

If you’d like to learn more ways of Spineful sitting, and how to stand, bend, walk and sleep in relaxed alignment, sign up for the four-week Foundations Series, Wednesday evenings, from 6 to 8 pm, starting January 8.

To take this course you need to have taken an intro class. 

Find more details here:

I also teach private and semi-private classes by appointment. Email me at for more information.

And if you’d love to take an Intro class, but can’t make either of the times, get a group together and I’ll come to you. Email me for details.

Stone columns fall. Bone columns just get sore.