Do you suffer from low back pain, headaches or neck pain? If so there is a very good chance you sit (poorly) a lot.
“Sitting is the new smoking” is a phrase first used by Dr. Levine over two decades ago. The chair could be killing you. In an attempt to beat this chronic condition sweeping the modern world, we have invented ball chairs, stand up desks and a host of devices to assist our posture. Unfortunately these inventions are not stemming the tide of what chiropractors call an epidemic.
Inventing something to replace our awareness is a dangerous path to follow. There are still poor postural standing techniques ways to slump on the most sophisticated equipment. Nothing, I repeat nothing, works better than your awareness and your efforts to hold or move your body in good alignment. Turning everyday actions into good habits will be a saving grace for many of the pains you currently suffer or will suffer as you age.
Anterior head syndrome (head leans forward) is now said to be the cause for the growing of horns in the skull to alleviate the burden of extra head weight pulling on the cervical spine. This epidemic is called tech-neck by chiropractors. In older people it is called "grannies' hump". One of the main causes of excessive forward head tilt is the relentless use of i-Devices and computers.
As a personal trainer and yoga teacher I encourage my clients to move their spine in 6 different directions every 30 minutes during the day - see photos below. The process takes about 30 seconds. Clients have told me this has changed their lives. Your spine was designed to move! It was not designed to be stagnant for hours in forward flexion. Forward flexion is only one of the six directions.
The other important habit to teach yourself is alignment while sitting. There are 6 ground up cues I offer clients to help with awareness that will improve your posture, relieve low back and neck stress and give you a greater chance to age gracefully without having to pay the price of spinal pain, headaches and even breathing difficulties. See picture below.
6 Directions of the spine
Moving the spine every 30 minutes can reduce the incidence of back and neck pain. The six directions are spinal flexion, spinal extension, lateral flexion (left and right), twist (left and right). See a video on my website.
6 checkpoints for good posture on your chair
Ground up cues:
Feet behind knees.
Knees below hips (imagine a ball rolling away from the body down your thighs)
Sitz bones at edge of chair
Belly open and relaxed for effective breathing
Shoulders roll back and down stacked above hips
Back of neck lengthens toward ceiling - head stacks over shoulders
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Why Do Yoga at Home?
Since Covid-19 several of my clients have discovered that doing live-stream yoga is: