How To Get A Better Posture
There is no separating posture from looking and feeling better. And if you truly desire a leaner and more pulled-up shape, then you should stop slouching.
Good posture is nothing more than learning to use the body properly so that its moving parts — arms, neck, back, legs — are in alignment. But it is so fundamental to the functioning of the body that it also means you are breathing properly, too.
If your shoulders are hunched or stooped or you take less oxygen into the body, your internal organs do not have sufficient room. Consequently, you take less oxygen into the body, using it less efficiently — not to mention the effect on digestion and circulation.
But by undertaking the Roll Down you can achieve a more appropriate posture. The Roll Down is a deceptively simple exercise, devised to make you think about how your body connects together and then correct any postural problems. You start by putting your body into a good posture. Stand in front of a mirror and check from the top.
Head and neck: The neck is an integral part of the spine, so you should always keep it long and in alignment. In practical terms, this means you should not allow your chin to jut out or tilt upwards. Keep it down so that you are looking straight ahead. This position will help to release tension in the neck, if you tend to store it there.
Shoulders: Like the neck, the shoulders are a common seat of tension. This means they become hunched up and one is often higher than the other, especially with women as a result of carrying shoulder bag. Check in the mirror that your shoulders are dropped and relaxed and if you are unsure that they are in the right position or if they feel stiff or tense, do some shoulders and head circles to help you become aware of them.
Arms: You should move your arms from the centre of your back and not by lifting your shoulders. To learn how to move them, take your left arm behind your back so that the back of the hand rests on your right shoulder blade. Now slowly lift your right arm up and out from the side, feeling the movement in the back and keeping the shoulder well down. Try the same movement, lifting your arm in front of you, and with your arms reversed. Check in the mirror if you are lifting your shoulders and if they move, drop them back.
Back: Backs are a common problem. Many women have S-shaped backs, which makes both their bottoms and stomachs stick out. As you strengthen your stomach muscles, your back will take less strain. So, hold your stomach in and lengthen and straighten the line of your spine. Try to feel air between each vertebrae. If you do this correctly, you should grow slightly in the mirror.
Stomach: Hold your stomach muscles lightly and firmly to take the strain off your back. During exercise, do not put too much of a strain on them, though if they bulge out during an exercise, you are pushing them too hard too soon. It is better to build up gradually by going back to a less tasking exercise.
Legs and buttocks: Stretch out the muscles in the legs and buttocks when you are walking or exercising and try to feel them lengthening. This will improve their shape and tone.
Once you have checked all the way through your posture, the Roll Down will help you feel your body in alignment. Always start with one before you exercise. It’s also a good way to start the day.
• Stand with your feet about 18 inches apart and slightly turned out, with shoulders dropped and relaxed, your head in line with your spine and stomach muscles held in lightly to stop your back arching. Your body should feel lifted with space between the ribs.
• Drop your head down on to your chest and, very slowly, let the curve continue into your shoulder and back.
• Bend your knees slightly if you wish, continue the curve into the waist, letting your arms drop in front of you.
• As you bend right over, extend your arms down and rest your hands on the floor in front of you. But if you can’t reach, allow your hands to dangle— do not strain to reach the floor if this is uncomfortable. Stay there for a few seconds, and let the weight of your head stretch out your spine.
Now, very slowly, roll the body back up. Feel your buttocks muscles working to anchor the base of your spine and keep your stomach held in. As your knees straighten again, your legs lengthen and your back places itself vertebra to vertebra into a tall, elongated position. Your head comes up last, in line with your spine. Do this exercise several times so that you can really feel the placement of your body.