The Other Side - Feel Your Ignored Back

Most of us “put on a good front”. That’s not unexpected. But don’t forget your back half.

Our front side is what we deal with most of the time. When we look in a mirror, we see our front side. We comb hair and shave viewing the front side. When meeting people, the interaction is face-to-face. Photographers ask us to look toward the camera.

By default, the back side doesn’t get as much attention. It’s easy to forget that we have a back half.

Yet, the back half of the body is as important as the front. First, the spine resides in the back half, and nerve impulses from the brain travel through the spine. Muscles and organs are affected. Second, more than half of breathing occurs in the body’s back half. Robust breathing provides energy and health. Third, platforms for arm movement (scapulae) reside in the back half. Fourth, body shape reflects back muscles. A “beer gut” isn’t necessarily fat, and an attempt to fix it with more sit-ups is usually doomed to failure. Fifth, your eyes are in front, but the brain’s vision center is in the back of the skull. All images are generated in the vision center. The eyes and retina send nerve signals, not images. This could go on.

To bring the back half into focus, start with expansive breathing. Visualize the breath traveling up and down the spine, separating each vertebral junction as it moves past. This benefits the small muscles that connect the vertebrae together and determines inter-vertebral spacing. Consider massage or deep tissue work to augment spinal awareness; it’s worth the money.

Loosen the larger back muscles. Twist the body while lengthening the whole torso. Get a sense of “twisting up”. Pretend that the muscles doing the work are connected to the back. (That’s more than a visual; it’s true.) Loosen the vertebrae. Keep breathing deeply. Visualize the spine floating backward in the low back and forward in the upper back. For most people, the result is a reduction in upper-and-lower spinal curves, leading to greater length. Your athletic body is waiting to show up!

Now carry the twist downward and upward. Soften the hip joints, knees, ankles, feet and all soft tissue in-between. Feel softness in the neck. Let the roof of the mouth feel soft. Picture that the whole skull is involved in the twist.

Focus on the back half by putting your awareness there. The reason is that the back has probably been ignored for some time; we are attempting to wake it up. Both front and back are obviously involved. It’s always about the whole body.

Take care of your back half. Breathe to it. Initiate movement from it. Give it the attention it deserves. Let someone else have back pain.


Jack Menear