an homage to the back body

The mind is the switchboard for the nervous system of the body.  -LL


Maybe I’m complete with this one work of the posterior view of the torso anatomy. More than likely it’s the first of several. You may recall it all started with researching Nadis. Nadis translates to flow and somewhat connects to the nerves, veins and arteries – and make up what is called the subtle body. There are said to be 72,000 of them. What does that all mean? Hence, one reason for the initial start of the anatomy series.  I went from the parts (the individual organs) in earlier drawings and paintings,  to the whole, in this body of work. At this moment, I might be back to the parts that make up the various systems.  What a door I have opened.  I’ve studied the body for over 20 years. Why only now am I curious with the subtle connections in this very determined and particular way?

I’ve already said I’m not familiar with the back of the body like I am with the front. Why did I not start my study with the visually rhythmic backbone? After-all the vertebrae is the structure that houses, supports and protects  the brain and spinal cord. The whole central nervous system has me so engrossed these days. Once upon a time, I started with the heart, moved to the brain, and it’s inevitable that I find myself going down the spine. Actually – it’s more like – up the spine.

The spine supports the rib cage which protects the heart and lungs. It sets the muscles of the gastrointestinal organs including the stomach, intestine, liver, spleen, pancreas (from this posterior view it’s the first time I’ve really understood how the pancreas fits into the space), kidneys and urinary system. And it holds onto the pelvis which houses the excretory and reproductive organs.

Metaphorically, how do we experience the back of the body? It carries with it emotional, physical, and financial associations. Here are a few that come quickly to mind: support, stability, strength – lack / abundance, out of sight out of mind – carrying issues but not dealing with them, also the back body represents the past – relaxed or tense. And remember Atlas, who carried the world on his shoulders. My friend Maria says the shoulder blades connect to joy.

My yoga instructor Meg says … the legs are the governor of the back. This clarifies for me to stand with a firm foundation. I ask a few friends, who have studied the body through yoga, how they respond to their back body.

Patricia comments first:
The back body for me is a Mystery, that after ten years of [Yoga] Practice, is just now starting to reveal itself to me. Because my back feels so different to me than what it actually looks like, it is the one part of me that I love ( and actually require) having other people’s feedback on. My back body is a spiral, and it has its own loop*. 

Deborah follows with her insight:
Our back body is our “connection” to the Universal, our Self, each other…I see it as connection. if you think about the spinal cord…there’s “connection” to our entire body. So, out of that connection to the Universal…community…comes “support”…and if I think about the spine…it gives us “support”! To tie these together I think about the loops, which all initiate from the back body so we “soften”…especially kidney loop* and opening to grace…when we soften and “lean into it.” There’s “support,” there’s “connection,” and “grace”.

*Loop is an energetic reference in their yoga practice.

How do I engage with the back body?   Obviously it’s highly complex, and visually it’s stimulating and wonderful. Strength and flexibility (rooted in firm foundation) are key. And that’s just the beginning.

In all directness, this work, this drawing and study, serves me to understand that my body is my own.  It’s that simple and that complex.

Despite all the care I’ve set up with the color, I like the de-saturated image. It gives me some odd sense of celebration. And it captures the depth of its mystery.

Do you have a preference? Colorful top image? Or the latter black and white?
How do you experience your back body?

2 thoughts on “an homage to the back body

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