Principles of Natural Posture for Health and Pain Relief
Oct 1, 2015
Chronic sitting is a risk factor for poor health, pain, and early death. But HOW you sit may have a significant impact on the risks of sitting
By sitting with feet planted on the floor, with your pelvis and spine properly stacked and aligned, you can take the stress and tension out of sitting and make sitting into a beneficial physical activity
Three simple exercises that help you engage your core and correct your posture are described
1. Pretend you're holding a shawl behind you and you're about to wrap the shawl around your shoulders, but just before the shawl comes into contact with your back, move your back into the shawl. In other words, your breastbone or your sternum slides backwards towards your back. As you do that, you will feel an action through your abdomen. These are your core muscles, primarily your transversus abdominis (TVA) muscle coming into action. This is your real core. The TVA is the deepest abdominal muscle, which acts like an internal corset.
Next, wiggle the back of your armpits up towards the ceiling, and feel your spine lengthening. Also notice the position of your chin. By bringing you chin down, the back of your neck lengthens and the cervical spine that goes through in the middle of your neck opens up. When you lift your chin up, you shorten your cervical spine.
Engage this muscle all day long. You can do it in a car. You can do it when you're working at your computer. You can do it while having a conversation... As many times a day as you can, be mindful of your body as an aligned being. Not only are your bones aligned but you are aligning yourself with your true nature as a part of this earth. Let that be an awareness that is continuous and without interruption.
2. A simplified version of that exercise is to simply imagine your sternum moving back towards your spine. As you do so, you will feel your core engage, stabilizing, and elongating your spine. When I do it, my chin also tends to fall into place automatically. When your spine is elongated in this way, it helps prevent and may even help reverse kyphosis, lordosis, and other distortions of your spine that occur as a result of a collapsed posture.
3. A similar exercise is to bring your arms overhead but in front of your head, clasping your hands together. Avoid bringing your arms back behind your ears as that will cause your back to arch. Remember to rotate your pubic bone downward into "happy dog" pose. When your pubic bone is aiming down, your pelvis is naturally rotated forward. From there, put your arms out in front and lengthen your spine so you feel your ribcage lifting up out of your pelvis. Remember, the lengthening you seek is of the spine in your back, not along your front.