Working with a Plumb Line

With the understanding that the spine bears weight in front, execute the instructions again. This time make yourself a plumb line by tying a three-foot-long string to a key. Stand sideways to a mirror and place the top of the string five inches down from the top of your hipbone. If you are wearing pants, place the string on the side seam, as that will be about in the middle of your hip bone.

In The Religions of Man, the scholar Houston Smith says this about the Buddha, "...Three times a day he withdrew, that through meditation he might restore his center of gravity to its sacred inner pivot." Houston Smith does not say the Buddha followed his breath, or repeated his mantra, or prayed. Houston Smith says the Buddha relocated his physical center because that is the prerequisite for wholeness, a sacred wholeness.
Move the tops of your legs back so you can look down to see your ankles. Feel most of your body weight in your heels, and make sure your knees are very slightly flexed. Look in the mirror, and see where the string hangs in relation to your legs. If you have moved the tops of your legs to a balanced position, the string will align with the center of your hip, the center of your knee, and very slightly in front of the bump at the side of your ankle. Relax your abdominal muscles. Fold down under your breasts, and relax the muscles in your back.
Now is the moment when you will probably feel too curvy. It is appropriate to feel curvy. Your rump feels too far back while your upper torso feels too far forward. You may feel apelike. You may also feel grounded, more solid than usual. You very likely feel relief in your lower back. To straighten the upper back, practice the following directions to balance your shoulders and head.

Shoulder Roll

Continuing to drop down under your breasts, slowly lift your right shoulder up two inches. Slowly move your elbow and shoulder back. The elbow moves back about 8 inches. Draw the elbow toward the spine, and feel the muscles around your shoulder blade contract. Draw the elbow down, and release the upper shoulder, letting it drop away from your ear. Allow your arm to hang. Drop your chest. Repeat with your left shoulder. When you do a shoulder roll, you are moving the weight of the arm from the front of the torso to the back. By practicing frequently, you will stretch the muscles across the front of the chest and strengthen the muscles of the upper back. The shoulder girdle will slowly come back into balanced alignment. It is this alignment-not the lifting of your chest-that creates a broad and open chest.

Goose Neck

Very gently, without hardening the muscles of your neck, move your head forward, lengthening your neck and reaching forward with your chin. This movement helps to remobilize the cervical spine. Then let your neck and head glide backward. The back of your neck lengthens, the base of the spine rises, and your face is vertical. Repeat this movement ever so gently three times. For the great majority of us our heads need to move back, over the spine, but this can happen only if the pelvis is centered to receive the weight of the upper spine. Balance cannot be forced in any way because it is dependent on relaxation.

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