What is Spinefulness?
“You can turn the faucet on and off, the heat on and off, and the light switch on and off, but you can’t turn gravity off.” Jean Couch
Gravity is either your friend or your enemy. At each moment in your life, it’s either holding you together or tearing you apart.
In modern posture, we take our pelvis forward of the centre of gravity, like the man on the right. The negative effects include: strain in every joint, tense, weak muscles, vulnerability to injury, and pain in our backs, feet, necks, knees and shoulders.
Spinefulness (spinal mindfulness) is based on a study of populations with a very low incidence of back pain. In these cultures, people remain strong and upright into old age. Spinefulness teaches you how to align your spine with gravity as you sit, stand, walk, bend and even sleep.
Noelle Perez, of the Institute D’Aplomb in Paris, conducted extensive research into differences in lifestyle that might relate to back pain. The common thread is posture: pain-free people stand, sit and move slightly differently than we do. In fact, they do what all human toddlers do in order to walk while balancing a 10-pound weight on top of their spines.
- they put their buttocks behind them, in line with their legs.
- they have a straight back, that rises from a short sharp arch where the lowest spinal vertebra meets the sacrum.
- their bones bear weight and their muscles relax.
By age three, most of us have taken on the posture of our parents. All children want to fit in. And children and adults alike mirror the posture of the people around them. Posture is cultural. That’s good news in a traditional village, especially among people who carry weight on their heads. Children maintain a relaxed upright posture, in line with gravity. In heavily industrialized countries, children imitate adults whose bodies have been thrown off balance. We sit in badly designed chairs and car seats, work long hours hunched over computers and slouch on soft couches.
SPINEFULNESS teaches us how to regain the balanced posture that is our birthright. Living on the axis, in harmony with gravity, puts our centre of gravity back in the centre. It allows our joints to move as they were designed to move, without friction.
Spinefulness reduces or relieves joint pain in all parts of the body and is especially helpful with low-back problems. It’s non-invasive. It can be done in loose, comfortable clothing, no special clothes required. It’s accessible to almost everyone. If you can get up and down from a chair, you can take a Spinefulness class. If you can get up and down from the floor, you can do an intensive. And it puts you in charge. Spinefulness teaches you why your back hurts and how to change your posture to make it stop.
About Eve Johnson
Eve Johnson taught as a certified Iyengar yoga teacher for 18 years before being introduced to Spinefulness in 2016. Convinced by the logic, clarity and effectiveness of Spineful alignment, she took the teacher training course and certified in July 2018.
She continues to study closely with Jean Couch, the leading teacher of this work in North America, and has made several trips to Paris to study with Noelle Perez, and to Palo Alto to study with visiting French teachers.
She especially values Spinefulness for the presence and ease it brings to yoga postures and to everyday life.