Heart and Soul Bodywork
33 Wentworth Avenue East, Suite #240 West St. Paul, Minnesota 55118


Acu-Yoga for Spinal Stength and Flexibility

Acu-yoga is a system of exercises that combines two ancient Health maintenance systems: Acupressure and Yoga. These traditional, holistic systems seek to relax the muscles and balance the life force of the body. This life force radiates throughout the body through energy channels known as meridians. Due to stress or toxins in the system, these meridians can become blocked up. The consequent disruptions in the flow of chi can cause various ailments, or even serious illness.

Acupressure, with its roots in China and Japan, makes use of pressure on special release points, which lie along the energy meridians. Yoga, developed in ancient India, seeks to accomplish this through specific bodily posture and control of the breathing. By combining the two systems, Acu-yoga is a powerful tool for maintaining and enhancing overall health and well-being.

Back problems, common ailment today

Bad problems are one of the most common ailments in our society. Almost everyone has experienced stiffness, tension, or pain in some part of their back, and some people suffer from it for years.

Back tension, stiffness, weakness, aches, and pains are a result of lack of flexibility, poor posture, accidents such as falls and car collisions, and other stress, such as occupational or emotional pressures. These conditions affect the muscles and meridians of the back. The meridians become stagnated, blocked, or deviated. Also, when one area of the back is stiff, the body automatically compensates by taking pressure off that area and shifting it to another in order to relieve the strain and effort that can be caused even by common everyday movements. This, of course, shifts an extra burden of effort to another area of the back, compounding the problem.

Acu-yoga, however, can release back tension and relieve pain. The stretching, strengthening, and balancing techniques of Acu-yoga have been used for thousands of years in the orient to keep people well by giving natural Harmony to the body.

Acu-yoga also increases awareness of your posture which, in turn, helps you to correct poor postural habits. By noticing an imbalance at an early stage of its development, you can do something about it before it grows into a larger problem. It's important to work on back pains as soon as you notice them, rather than " trying to ignore it' until it becomes so bad that the ache or  pain becomes an unavoidable center of attention.

Strength and flexibility of the spine

It is of utmost importance to keep your spine and your back muscles strong and flexible. The nerve segments of the back function as a network which directly affects all the organs and meridians of the body. The spinal column is the foundation of the body. The nerves that go to all parts of our body and to all our internal organs branch out from the spinal cord, which is located inside the bony vertebral column, or spine. There are acupressure points related to all of the internal organs and functions located along the spine. Therefore when any vertebrae is out of position, it affects the nerves and muscles in the local area, and also the internal organs associated with it through the related nerves and meridians. Muscular tension will collect around the imbalanced area, and can ultimately cause back pain and more severe back problems. By systematically stretching your spine in all directions, however, you can release these tensions and help keep your spine properly aligned. 

Spinal column is important for General Health

The spinal column builds a key position in the development of general health. Comprised of 33 vertebrae, it encloses the spinal cord, which is made up of the nerves that stem from the brain. There are 31 pairs of spinal nerves which relate to every organ of the body. The spinal column is also the principal structure for supporting the weight of the human body. When it is healthy and limber, it can function properly, and accomplish this easily.  Poor posture and lack of movement, however, result in impaired flexibility. This can cause the spinal column to become weakened, and even pulled out of line by tension. Eventually, severe damage and deterioration can occur. We can prevent this degeneration through the practice of Acu-yoga, the most outstanding system for developing and maintaining strength, flexibility, and balance in the spine.

Health, Beauty, and Longevity Related To Spine

Health and Beauty are contingent upon the flexibility of the spine . If your spine is flexible and in alignment, the result can be seen in your whole body. If you have a limber spine, you will have a youthful body, stiffness in the spine is a sign of aging. Beauty is a reflection of Inner Harmony and good health. Stretching is the most fundamental exercise in Acu-yoga, and daily practice promotes longevity.

Accept where you are

Gradually, slowly, gently ease into the postures. Keeping your eyes closed allows you to get in touch with what you're doing, so that you can feel if you need to back off a little, go a little farther into it, or stay where you are for the moment. Get in touch with your own individual needs and limits. Stretch---don't strain! Acu-yoga is not a contest. Appreciate what you can do, because if you accept your level and continue practicing, you automatically become more stretched out, more flexible. Accept, love, and appreciate where you are, and you will naturally improve the problems in the back.

Sharon Madison has completed the Aciu-Yoga Teacher Training from the Acupressure Institute in Berkeley, California. Anyone interested in taking an Acu-yoga class or would would like to obtain more information, please contact me at 651-399-6645. I am  Board Certified in Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork and a Licensed Massage Therapist, a Certified Acupressurist from the Acupressure Institute in Berkeley, California and a Registered Foot Reflexologist from the International Institute of Reflexology in Clearwater, Florida.  My practice is located in West St. Paul and Faribault, Minnesota. Classes are taught at various sites.

This article was written by Sharon Madison and published in "The Twin Cities Wellness" magazine in the May 1997 issue.

The Tree and the River.  "ln an alternate past --or possible future--a mighty tree stands on the banks of a winding River, bearing Silent Witness to the flow of time and change." - Aaron Becker, Author