Five ways we can improve our posture

How we hold ourselves is proved to be a major factor in how comfortable we are in both body & mind. Poor postural habits can result in pain and discomfort physically & also effect our mood & attitude; literally how we face the world! Now the weather is getting colder there’s a temptation to hunch our shoulders up against the cold and to round forward in our torso. We need to be more aware of our posture in the colder months too as we have a tendency to become more sedentary and to spend more time sitting (or slouched) on sofas rather than getting outside. So remember to get some time in nature every day and pay attention to your posture. It’s not just about standing up straight!!

Starting at the bottom with our feet. Try standing with your feet near to parallel so your kneecaps point over your middle toes. This may not be quite parallel and may differ between your feet so be ware of your own individual bone structure. Stand with your feet hip width (about a fist width between feet)

Rock back and forth taking the weight into heels and then the balls of feet. Find a place where you have equal weight between the left and right foot, between the little and big toe and between the heel and the ball of your foot. Find a triangle of support from just in front of your heel to behind your outer toes. Try to keep these three points in contact with the floor.

Moving up through knees…don’t lock them straight. Use a mirror to ensure that knees have a softness so you’re not locking the joint. A locked joint won’t provide suspension or encourage muscles to support your body weight. Locked knees may also over stretch supporting ligaments in the knee joint resulting in weakness in the future.

Pelvis…now this is the part where a mirror is really useful! Have a look at your bottom!!! Do you have a tendency to stick your bottom out or tuck it under? Most of us tilt our pelvis too far forward (bottom sticks out) or back (it tucks under). This results in some muscles being short, some underused or over long. There should be a natural curve in the lower back but not too much. Have a play (like with the feet) at tilting your pelvis forward and back and finding a place in the middle.

Then recheck feet and knees as they may have slipped back into old habits!! For example Locked knees are often apparent when the pelvis drops forward! Be aware of this tendency throughout your yoga practice too..checking not to lock knees in your standing postures

Moving on upward to the rib cage…see if you can find an imaginary thread between your bottom front ribs and your pubic bone. Don’t flare your bottom ribs forward but instead connect them to the front of the pelvis with an imaginary line. Keep your collarbone long and ‘smiley’!! So shoulders are relaxed back and down. If you wear a handbag on your shoulder swop to the other shoulder or use a cross body bag or rucksack. Plus especially if you do have a larger handbag empty it occasionally, streamline the contents and don’t carry a heavy weight around on one shoulder all day.

Finally we get to the top…your head. If you use a phone, tablet, ipad, computer or drive you probably allow your chin to slide forward, which leads to tension in the neck, jaw and shoulders. As most of us do most of the above activities combined with sitting too much, forward head posture is a symptom of the modern day. So tuck your chin in. …as though you’re trying to hold a Satsuma under your chin…so your chin drops down and back…lengthening the back of your neck and relieving pressure on your shoulder muscles. You may feel you’re looking up under your eyelashes at the world… this just means the WRONG head position had become your norm so really focus on checking in with your chin at regular points through the day…especially when you are using technology or driving.

Notice how you feel taller, slimmer, more energized and more focused as your body is more aligned it will work more effectively from your digestion to your mind. Enjoy & remember that you get good at what you practice so practice good yoga & good posture not poor postural habits.

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