Do you stand like a fashion model? Or at least, in your head, do you think you’re standing like a model in that really cool, slouchy stance? Eek, the alignment police are high alert! This is a super-common posture issue that often turns into a body with lots of aches and pains. No worries though – often times, a simple awareness exercise can fix this not-so-good habit.
Take a look at your own body in a mirror – look at yourself from the side. Now don’t cheat, stand like you’re having a conversation with a friend, not like someone is evaluating your posture. Things to look for:
- hips forward of heels
- shoulders behind waistband
- top of ribcage behind bottom of ribcage
- a large sway in your low back
This position might feel like you’re stretching your hip flexors – where the front of your leg attaches to your torso – which also might feel like a good thing…. In reality it’s shifting too much work into your hamstrings and low back, which causes tension and general crankiness in those areas. I can also guarantee that if you have a deep sway in your low back, your neck will eventually reciprocate with its own crankiness.
I say this to multiple people every day of my life: the curve of your low back talks to the curve of your neck. They’re connected, and if one hurts, the other is on its way to the same party.
3- STEP AWARENESS EXERCISE
Notice that I didn’t say this is a “corrective” exercise – there’s a lot more involved in corrective work, but I find that many of my clients are able to adjust their posture on their own, just using this awareness technique.
1. Start in Fashion model stance, with your hips jutting forward. Lift all 10 of your toes. This might be harder than you’d think, if most of your weight is normally shifted forward.
2.Move to Blown Away stance: shift your weight into your heels so much that you’re about to fall over. You’ll look like a mighty wind is pushing your torso backward. Notice how my hands have swung forward in the photo.
3. Shift to Upright stance: keeping your weight in your heels, pretend that a string at the top your head is lifting you up so that your ribcage gently floats over your heels.
Double check this position by lifting the balls of your feet off the floor. If you’re in Upright Stance, you should be able to stand on your heels only, without the rest of your foot on the floor.
If you’ve had the Forward Pelvis habit for a while, upright might feel like you’re leaning forward. Use a mirror to check yourself from time to time, until you’ve got the hang of standing upright.
About the Author
Christine Binnendyk is the creator of the Ageless Pilates and Barre Fitness workout programs, taught exclusively at Nike’s World Headquarters in Beaverton, Ore.. Nike employees take her Pain Free Body, Pain Free Athlete and Pain Free at the Office workshops at the Nike Sports Centers. Public workshops are available through Portland Community College, Club Sport Oregon and the Warrior Room. Find her best-selling book “Ageless Pilates” on Amazon.