I am in the Sherry Brourman Yoga Therapy mentorship program, in which we have been reading the book The Thinking Body by Mabel E. Todd. It is fascinating, if you are into how and why the body moves and have quite a large vocabulary. You see, it was written in 1937, so I need a dictionary for both the anatomy terms and strange words that are no longer in use today.
While reading, I’m continually shocked at the insight that a woman had into the human body over 70 years ago (not for the fact that it was a woman, but a woman 70 years ago). If only all people in the medical field since 1937 had to read and absorb the concepts of this book, the world might be a different place. But, I digress.
The coolest thing I’ve learned from Mabel is about the development of the spine. We are born with a straight and flexible spine. Babies pelvic and lumbar (low back) muscles start to develop even before they are born as they kick and squirm about in the womb.
The ultimate goal of our bodies (in infancy) is to be able to walk. But, a straight spine is unable to carry the weight of the rib cage (thoracic spine) or the head, so the spine must develop curves to off-set these heavy loads. The first curve that develops is the thoracic. It curves away from the load it is carrying (the ribs), and becomes concave.
This is where the cool part kicks in: In order to develop/stabilize the opposing convex curves in the low back and neck, a baby must develop muscles in those areas. So to us the crying and kicking during the first months of life are heartbreaking, but they are absolutely necessary for the baby to ever be able to crawl or walk.
As I read this I thought of two different friends with two very different baby experiences. One had a baby that cried a lot, but started walking at 10 months old. Another had a very mellow baby that hardly cried, which didn’t start walking until almost 13 months old. My hypothesis is more crying=faster physical development.
So, dear Tyran, Jamie, and Shelley: as the babies are wailing, instead of fretting, just consider how their diaphragm and other spinal/pelvic muscles are getting stronger, stabilizing their little bodies for all the growing, crawling and eventual walking they have to do!
Isn’t the human body cool?