Stone Columns and Bone Columns

stone column with a stone out of place
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, check out my new online course, opening January 12, 2021.

In the first hour, you’ll learn to see what a healthy spine looks like, and how to sit in comfort.  And in the three classes that follow, you’ll learn how to feel the lightness, elegance and grace of healthy posture as you stand, bend and walk. Learn more by clicking here:


stone column collapsed

Stone columns fall. Bone columns just get sore.