There sure is a lot of talk about balance today. Our body naturally seeks balance or stasis and we also consciously seek to balance our time, activities, our diet and our relationships etc. As each of us walks our unique path of health and well being it is equally important to develop a good sense of balance as in an even distribution of weight. This will help us be more aware of our body in space, it will help us move more gracefully and it can prevent us from taking on exaggerated or distorted postural patterns. Later in life it can even help us avoid falls too. Yes of course massage can encourage a better sense of balance and body awareness but in between sessions, try this. Stand on one foot at a time, bare feet please and stand on a firm, even surface to begin with. Stand close to a wall or have a chair back handy just in case. Take an easy breath and lift one foot just off the ground. Engage your gluteal (butt) muscles on the standing side and keep yourself level through the knees, hips and shoulders; stand erect and as still as possible for up to 30 seconds, breathing softly throughout. Repeat on the other leg. Some people have told me they do this while brushing their teeth with an electric toothbrush, which is great because you have the mirror right there to check your posture. In time you will be able to move your arms around or balance on a bosu (a soft half round dome). Both yoga and tai chi encourage better balance, as does ballroom dancing. Maybe next you’ll try a bike, skis or a surfboard….
Want to lose 10 pounds? Stand up straight. Want to look years younger? Stand up straight. Want to feel more confident? Stand up straight. Want to have less back pain? Stand up straight. Are you noticing a theme here?
Poor posture in some part of our body hounds most of us and it sets us up for pain and injury, yet it can be the most difficult thing to correct because we can’t just do it once or twice and then forget it.
Being mindful of our posture when standing is a constant process even if we strengthen our core and do yoga on a regular basis.
Here is a basic exercise that you can check in the mirror:
An imaginary straight line drawn between your eyes should travel down through the middle of your face and body and end up evenly between your feet. From the side, the line should go through your shoulder, hip, knee and ankle joints, not in front or behind them.
Begin standing with feet parallel, eyes closed if you can and practice shifting your weight slightly from right foot to left and back until you can feel when it is evenly on both feet. Also play with front to back weight distribution. Check in the mirror and make corrections. Notice how that posture feels, eyes closed.
Move up to your knees and notice where that imaginary line falls. Make adjustments in the mirror then close your eyes and feel it in your body.
Do the same with the other joints mentioned. Then evenly balance your head on your neck so that it is not poking forward nor arched back. Now spend some time, eyes closed and breathing deeply in the finished, balanced posture.
***Look for other articles on sitting and sleep posture!***