By Catherine Carrigan,Catherine@totalfitness.net
One of the basic things I like to teach all my new exercise clients is how to stand in such a way that they not only improve their posture, they get out of pain and become more biomechanically efficient.
Your Feet: Your feet control the position of your hips. Say you stand with one foot facing out, the other foot facing straight ahead. You will throw the position of your hips out of balance.
If you are lifting weights, stand in ready position with your hip bones over your feet, your feet straight ahead.
Your Hips: The position of your hips controls your knees. If one hip is rotated outwards, so will be the knee on that side of your body.
Your Knees: Your knees need to be soft, not locked. If you are unsure of the difference, lock your knees momentarily, then relax them. Both kneecaps need to be facing straight ahead.
Your Legs: Your legs extend your spine. The position of your thigh may distort your pelvic floor. You will want to move the inner groin back to the center of your thigh in order to position your femur bone correctly in the socket. Many people habitually stand with their quadriceps thrust slightly forwards.
Your Pelvic Floor: With your inner groins pulled to the center of your thigh, lift the spine from the base of your pelvis. As you do so, notice how your belly flattens out (voila! You look like you just lost five pounds!) and by engaging your pelvic floor you either completely alleviate your lower back pain or significantly reduce it.
You can find the correct position of your pelvis by putting your middle finger on your front hip bones and your thumbs on your back hip bones. If your hips were a bowl, instead of pouring forwards, get your front hip bones and back hip bones parallel to the floor.
Your Shoulder Blades: This tends to be a no-man’s land area of awareness. Pull your shoulder blades towards your waist. As you do so, notice how your chest expands and your breathing deepens, your shoulders relax and your neck pain is either completely alleviated or vastly reduced.
Your Chest: Lift your xyphoid process, which is the very tip of your sternum. Just doing that will change the angle of your upper back. You will go from shlumping to standing up straight. Your breathing will improve and you will feel much more comfortable.
Your Spine: Align your four diaphragms:
1. Your pelvic floor
2. Your actual diaphragm in your solar plexus area, from which you breathe
3. Your thoracic outlet, around your collarbone
4. Your tentorium, the diaphragm of your brain.
When you have brought all four diaphragms into alignment, with the crown of your head directly in line over your pelvic floor, you will notice you have plenty of energy. That’s because your energy channels are now in total alignment.
Most of your life, you are either standing, sitting or sleeping. If you can learn how to stand, sit or sleep with really good posture, you will experience:
1. Lots more energy
2. Less pain
3. Fewer injuries in sports or other daily activities
4. You will look better
5. You will feel more confident.
Over the years, my clients ask me how they ended up with their habitual posture.
1. You can develop bad posture as a result of the way you are thinking and feeling. For example, if you are feeling depressed, notice how you hang your head, collapse your chest and curl your shoulders forward.
2. Your job. One client I had sat at her desk for eight hours a day in a twisted position. She had her computer to her side and turned her upper body towards it, little realizing the true source of her neck and shoulder pain.
3. Never really learning how to stand up straight. One of the benefits of working one-on-one with a highly trained exercise professional is to learn the little ways you are unconsciously hurting yourself by the way you sit, stand or sleep. If you have been experiencing back pain, neck pain, knee pain, shoulder pain or any other habitual pain, make an appointment with me by emailing Catherine@totalfitness.net to learn how tiny adjustments can make a huge difference in the way you feel.