You know those “Oh, my aching back” days? I was a couple hours into preparing a big Indian meal for guests last week, and all of that leaning over and lifting, chopping and stirring caused my back to scream at me. My solution? Gravity. I turned down heat under the pots, walked out of the kitchen, and gave myself time to lie down directly on the floor. On my back.
Gravity can work wonders. It just allows all the kinks to fall out if I give myself the chance to do nothing but lie on my back. Sometimes I have to start with my knees standing up, soles to the floor. Often I do the “horse roll” my mom taught me, hugging my knees while rocking side to side on my back, as tired horses do with their feet in the air, after shedding their riders. Eventually I end up fully extended on my back on the floor. Lying on the bed doesn’t do the trick – it’s too soft.
My friend Marta often sleeps on the ground when she’s out rock-climbing, and she swears by it. That’s a little hard-core for me to spent a whole night without a lot of padding. Cliff sometimes takes 10 minute power naps on this back during the workday, sometimes on concrete. Malia finds it healing, especially when she has a headache, to lie on the grass in direct contact with the earth, the ‘aina. And plenty of research backs that up the positive effect of coming close to the earth itself.
For me, I usually only need 3-7 minutes of lying on the floor to find out that, yes, gravity’s got my back!