The spine is also known as the vertebral column. In Sanskrit it is called Meru Danda. It is made up of a row of bones called bertebrae. It is about twenty-eight inches long in a man of average height and reaches from the hips to the head. The bodies of the vertebrae are piled one upon another forming a solid, strong pillar for the support of the head and trunk. The neck spine contains seven bones. The chest spine contains twelve bones. The waist contains five bones. The hips contain five bones. The tail contains four bones. There is a tunnel or rube in the center of the column along which passes the spinal cord which takes its origin from the brain. From between each pair of spine bones small bundles of nerves pass out on either side to reach the different parts of the body which they control.
The spine can be bent forwards or backwards or to either side. It can be turned also from its middle position to one side or the other. The different parts of the spine are capable of different amounts of movement. The chest spine moves less than the waist spine in bending beackward. The amount of motion permitted is the greatest in the region of the neck. Care of the spine is very necessary. It is a very important structure as it shelters main groups of nerves. You must keep it healthy, strong and supple by bending and stretching it in all directions- forwards and backwards, to one side and the other and by twisting it round as far as it will go once every day. Whenever a movement is limited, the circulation of blood to that part of the body is slower and smaller. Consequently the joints and muscles are not properly nourished. They are not also properly cleansed of their waste products. If the spine is supple, then alone will you be able to hold it straight.
The thorax or chest cavity is an elongated bony cage. The chest contains the most important organs – the heart and the lungs. There are two lungs, the right lung and the left lung. The heart is placed between the two lungs. The lungs and the heart are important not only for health but for life itself. It behaves therefore that you should have as good a chest as possible.
The chest has walls and a floor. The walls are formed by a part of the spine, usually 12 of its bones, to which are attached 12 ribs on each side. The first seven ribs are joined to the breast-bone, sternum, by bands of cartilage. The next three are attached to the band of the seventh. The ends of the last two float more freely in the muscles. They are called floating ribs. The floor of the chest cavity is formed by the diaphragm or dome-shaped midriff.
The abdomen extends from the tip of the breast bone or sternum right down to the hips. The pelvis also is a portion of the abdominal cavity. Its top is the dome-shaped diaphragm. Its walls are formed partly of bones and partly of muscles. Inside the abdomen are located many vital organs. The stomach lies close under the left side of the diaphragm. On the right side is the liver. Below these two lie the intestines in a long and twisted course. Low down in the front is the bladder. Behind are two kidneys. Good abdominal movements mean good digestion and circulation and more effective excretion.
Legs And Arms
The arm has a single bone known as the Humerus. The forearm is made up to two bones, viz., Radius and Ulna. The Radius is on the outer side and Ulna is on the inner side of the forearm. The thigh has one bone, Femur. The leg is made up of two bones like the forearm, viz,, Tibia on the inner side and Fibula on the outer side. The legs are in some ways similar to the arms. The hip bones and the shoulder blades both have a socket or hollow in which moves the rounded head of the single bones of the upper part of the limbs. The sockets or hollows on the hip bone are very deep. Into then fit the rounded heads of the thigh bones. The socket of the shoulder-blade is very shallow. The feet with five toes and the hands and a thumb are similar in their arrangement. Legs bear the weight of the body. Their movements are neither so fine nor so varied as those of the arms. The shoulder-blades move in many directions but the hip bones are fixed on to the spine. Your whole carriage is built on your feet.
The muscles are fastened to the bones by means of ligaments and tendons. You must correct the faults which your habitual positions cause in your muscles and make the short longer and the long shorter. If you do not use a muscle it will become smaller. If you use it very much it will grow larger. You can develop all the muscles by suitable exercises. “Loosening exercises” such as shaking, vibration, swinging, make the muscles loose and supple. These exercises eliminate from the joints and muscular tissues the waste products that induce fatigue.
A muscle becomes shorter when it receives a nerve –message. When a muscle which is fastened on the two bones becomes shorter, it pulls the bones towards each other. Then the bones move. When the nerve stops sending the message the shortened muscle relaxes and the bones are pushed back to their original position. Another group of muscles do this part of the work.