Beat the Slouch
No sitting around, guys... this is how to walk your yoga! If you are lucky enough to be outside today, that summer feeling of open armed grass-lounging is a welcome release from the back to school-back to work grind of September. But if you really want to keep hold of that summer holiday feeling, despite being back at 'school,' look no further than your posture.
Most of us in our life will experience moderate to significant back pain or injury. This makes spine health a bit of an epidemic. The backlash against sitting has shed some much needed light on the ills of a sedentary culture, but to feel full power, energised, mentally relaxed and avoid back pain, beating the slouch has to be number one on your bucket list.
The spine has evolved into a perfect S shape curve from base of the skull to the tailbone to shock absorb, stabilise, protect the nervous system, and provide flexibility. Imagine bad posture as repetitive strain injury and that awesome interconnected skeletal system begins to seriously break down.
Here are 3 tips on releasing your spine and strengthening your posture:
1. NOSE DIVING vs SMILING IN YOUR CHIN
The neck (cervical spine) is made of 7 vertebrae that naturally curve in (lordosis) and are built to provide lots of mobility. Since the head is the extremely heavy HQ of the entire body and mind, the neck stabilising muscles (scalenes, SCM) have to work incredibly hard to keep your eyes straight as you move throughout your day. Since our heady intellectual culture requires we think fast and act alert, we mostly inhabit the body as a vehicle to transport the brain around - thus instinctively jutting the chin and head forward. On top of that since the eyes are at the front rather than side of our head we 'lean in' to all activities: computer, text, reading, conversation. This can lead to a forward stoop of the neck, causing headaches and chronic neck and back tension any where from the neck to the middle spine. Releasing chest and shoulder tension is also really important here.
SOLUTION 1: Stand your back on the edge of an open door, and press the back of your skull into the door. This is most likely where your 'neutral spine' is - notice how far back the head comes in order to line up with the spine. Now visualise the curve of your chin crease against your neck smiling up to your ears so you are not jutting your chin forward or nose up but lengthening through the top of the neck.