My wife, Jan, discovered a word the other day in a magazine, “Spinefullness”, and I thought it was an interesting new word that actually could mean a few things. In the magazine it meant something like avoiding getting stuck with the spines from some plants when you go out walking or bike riding. But I like the meaning and play on words for “Spinefullness” when you think of the word “mindfullness” as it is currently employed to mean meditation. Spinefullness can mean being mindful and aware of ones spine, a very yogic kind of awareness.
And along with that perspective I have been thinking about how the C shape of a baby’s spine becomes the S shape of the person who can sit up, stand up and eventually walk on two legs. Muscular forces work that reshaping as the baby’s strength and tone increases and with muscles tugging on the spine to turn it from a C to an S. The muscles that shape us also can strain and distort us and often do. Bringing our awareness to the spine, “Spinefullness”, and the muscles that shape, strain, and distort the spine is yoga. Lengthening, loosening, relaxing, and releasing those muscles is also yoga.