Eight Weeks to a Longer Spine: Postponed

Because of the Corvid-19 situation, all in-person classes are postponed until it’s once again safe to gather in groups.

The older we are, the more likely we are to have an overly curved upper back. 

But what’s the cause? Age or posture? What if you could learn a simple, comfortable way to sit and stand that will reverse the curve and straighten your back? 

A rounded upper back can make us feel and look old. But that’s far from its worst consequence. Studies show* that each extra degree of rounding leads to:

  • more trouble getting up out of a chair
  • reduced ability to balance
  • neck, shoulder and back pain
  • increased risk of fractures
  • difficulty performing daily tasks
  • a more fearful state of mind
  • less satisfaction from life.

*For a comprehensive view of the current research, see Age-Related Hyperkyphosis: Its Causes, Consequences, and Management.

Until recently, an overly rounded upper back (hyperkyphosis) was seen as incurable. We could blame it on our genes, or just accept it as a natural part of aging. There is still no drug or surgical procedure that can reverse the curve.

These days, the recommended treatment is to strengthen the abdominals and some muscles in the back and neck, while stretching others. Along with physiotherapy, this can stop the curve from getting worse, and brings moderate improvements, between five and 10 percent.

young woman standing out of balance

Happily, there’s another solution: posture in line with gravity.

This woman is still young, but her posture is already building a hump on her back.
The reason?  Her pelvis is pushed forward.
When the pelvis is forward the entire spine compensates. The upper spine goes back. The neck and head thrust forward.
If we habitually stand this way and sit with our back curved into a C-shape, we are building an overly large thoracic curve every day of our lives. 

Eight Weeks to a Longer Spine offers something different: a posture in line with gravity that lets us gradually straighten as we live our lives.

In North America, this posture is known as Spinefulness or Balance. In France, where it originated, it’s called Aplomb. Based on more than 50 years of ethnographic research, it details the characteristic posture in cultures in which straight, pain-free backs are the norm, even as people age. It’s also the posture that toddlers naturally adopt in order to balance their outsized heads as they stand and walk.


In Eight Weeks to a Longer Spine,  you will:

  • Get an accurate measurement of your degree of curvature, and see your progress as the course progresses.
  • Learn a new, relaxed comfortable posture that will keep you lengthening as you go about your daily life.
  • Learn specific exercises that will speed your progress
  • Receive hands on guidance
  • Have fun learning in a small group

When and Where:

Tuesdays, 6 to 8 pm, April 7 to May 26, the Pavillion, St. Stephen’s Anglican Church, 885 – 22nd Street, West Vancouver

Thursdays, 12:30 to 2:30, April  9 to May 28, Anna Wyman Dance Studio, 1457 Marine Dr, West Vancouver

Cost: Early bird by April 2, $395 + GST. After April 2, $450 + GST, Payment by e-transfer or credit card. If you wish to pay by credit card, mail Eve at evej@shaw.ca for an invoice.

Want to learn more? Come to a free intro class: 

Sign up for a free intro class, on Saturday, March 28, 1 to 2:30 pm or Thursday, April 2, 6 to 7:30 pm at West Vancouver United Church, 2062 Esquimalt Ave, West Vancouver. Space is limited. To reserve a place, email Eve at evej@shaw.ca.

The intro class is a pre-requisite for the Eight Weeks to a Longer Spine course. If you’d like to take the course, but can’t make it to an intro session, email me at evej@shaw.ca.


Eve Johnson is a motivating, attentive, skilled and thorough teacher, who has  changed the shape of her own upper back through Spinefulness (Spinal Mindfulness).

She studied Iyengar yoga for 29 years, and taught for 18 before taking her first Spinefulness class 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, who is the leading teacher of this work in North America, and with teachers in Paris, where the work originated.