One of my biggest goals when working with my students is to help them find balance.
Ease comes with balance.
I watch my clients move, I recognize patterns and habits and then I encourage them to move and strengthen the opposite way to help facilitate balance.
Here’s a step by step approach to help you cultivate an awareness around your habits, assess your habits and find more balance outside of the studio in your everyday life.
Awareness is the first step. Notice your habits.
#1 Notice Your General Posture
Have you always been tall and tend to “shrink” or slouch to meet people at eye level?
Were you told to stand up straight but really you puff your chest out all the time?
What things do you know to be true about your body and posture?
#2 Assess Yourself
What are your natural postural patterns?
Stand with your arms by your sides and run through this quick checklist in your mind. If you aren’t sure, use a mirror or ask a kind friend to help you. As you assess, don’t make changes, simply be and notice.
Wanna dig deep? Print this email and take notes or jot 'em down in a journal.
Do you tend to roll toward the outside edges of your feet? Or do you roll toward the inside edges of your feet? Are you more weighted into the balls of the feet or into the heels? Are your feet more internally rotated(pidgeon-toed) or externally rotated (like a ballerina)? *Note that your right foot may have a different pattern than the left. If you don’t notice anything, or things seem in the middle of the two extremes, you can consider your pattern neutral until otherwise noted by a pro.
Do your kneecaps tend to point toward each other or away from each other?
Spine, Pelvis and ribs:
Is the curve in your lumbar spine (low back) more flat or do you have more of a sway-back? Does your pelvis tend to remain forward of your ribcage, or does your ribcage tend to be forward of your pelvis?
Do your shoulders round forward, or do your shoulderblades feel pinched together in the back? Does one shoulder feel higher than the other?
Do you tilt your chin up or down regularly? Is your head forward of your ribcage? Do you feel like your head is turned more to the right or to the left?
*These assessments can be different according to whether you’re sitting, standing or lying down. Start to notice differences in various positions.
#3 Create An Awareness Around Your Daily Duties
What “occupational hazards” do you encounter on a regular basis. What position or positions do you spend most of your time in during the day?
For instance: if you’re a new mom, picking up your child and breastfeeding requires a ton of endurance for the upper body and a lot of time is spent looking downward with the shoulders forward.
What does your job require physically? And how does it mold your posture?
#4 Move Your Body In The Opposite Direction Than Your Normal Habits
Once you’ve got a sense of your habits, start to move your body in the opposite direction.
If you’re always hunched over your computer or sewing machine, try working on extension exercises.
If you’re always sitting and your hips are bent at 90 degrees, try moving your hips into extension a la swimming and side kick.
Take half a second while you’re busy working and notice what your body is doing. Are you hunched forward? Are your shoulders tense? Relax, sit tall and continue on.
#5 Create A Self-Care Routine
Create a simple routine for yourself:
The smartest of athletes warm up, play smart and cool down because they know that their body is their instrument. And since most of us aren’t playing major league baseball on the regular, it doesn’t have to take very long or be complicated.
If you know you’re going to be sitting at a desk for a few hours, stretch your neck and shoulders before you begin. Once you start to feel sluggish, stand up and do a sidebending stretch.
Move before you work and at least once during your work session.
It’s at the end of the day that I find my self care routine to be the most effective. It’s a wonderful time to lay down a mat, unwind, stretch, align, and strengthen, even if you only have 10 minutes. Set the mood and make it fun. Light a candle and put on some of your favorite tunes.
***If you have specific questions in regard to your body, email me!
Here’s to changing habits and feeling good. Have an awesome Thanksgiving!