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Ann Childs' guide to posture

Posture reflects the internal expression and feelings of a person. Most of us are immediately aware of how another person is feeling as soon as we see them. However, this is a 2-way process. Not only can our feelings affect our posture, likewise our posture can affect our feelings. So; the good news is that our internalised feelings can be influenced directly by how we stand and move. When our body structure is aligned correctly, our muscles work more efficiently needing less effort then we have more energy.

We all tend to think we are standing straight, but to check this out, it can be helpful to use a wall or floor as a sort of feedback mirror and plumb line. You may need someone to read this whilst you are trying it out.

With all these instructions it is important to stay relaxed, let go of tension and continue to breathe normally. This enables the body to learn how to move in a relaxed efficient way whilst maintaining optimum exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide.
(Everyone tends to try too hard, excessively tightening muscles and holding their breath).
So keep reminding yourself to -LET GO and KEEP BREATHING

To find your optimum posture for energy conservation Lie with your back on the floor:

Step one
Feel how much contact there is with your low back on the floor - probably quite a hollow.

Now gently pull in the abdominal muscles and flatten the low back against the floor. There should be less of a hollow and more floor contact.

If this is difficult to feel; gently bend your knees - this helps to flatten and relax the low back.

Continue to breathe with your low back in this position.

Step two
Feel the contact of your neck on the floor. Now gently pull the chin down (like having a double chin) and feel your upper neck lengthen as it starts to flatten on the floor.

When we are tired or concentrating the chin pokes forward putting much strain on the upper neck, potentially causing pain, tension and dizzyness.

Continue to breathe with your flattened low back and long neck in this position.

Step three
Feel the contact of your shoulder blades on the floor (At this stage maybe only the inner edges).

Now place your elbows into your waist, hands pointing to ceiling. Allow the hands to fall to side, keeping elbows into waist.

Notice how the shoulder blades have flattened against the floor and the front of the shoulders has opened out. Maybe the shoulders have started to drop down towards the floor.

Without moving the shoulders allow the arms to drop to the side.

Step four
Keeping the shoulder blades flat against the floor, allow the shoulder blades to slowly slide downwards and inwards (towards the opposite hip). This opens the front of the shoulders out even further.

Imagine the shoulders are just slowly sinking down into the body, like water logged wood in a pool.

Notice how the shoulder blades stay flat against the floor.

Step five
Maintaining the shoulder blades flat against the floor, shoulder pressed down and neck long, slide the arms slowly and gently away from your side, and return.

Notice how you are now using different muscles yet the shoulder itself has little movement. This may feel strange at first, yet this is how we were designed to move for greatest efficiency.

Step six
Repeat (5) but instead of moving arms to the side, slowly lift the arms forward to shoulder height and return.

Notice how the shoulder blades stay flat against the floor and the shoulder remains sinking and neck long.

Repeat all the above, but standing with your back leaning against the wall, heels a few cms away from wall. (Pic)Need Use the wall for support and feedback as to how a 'straight, long and open' spine feels.
You may find it easier to slightly bend your knees. Take care not to let the knees roll inwards.

Once you have mastered this, step away from the wall and maintain the position in free space. Again it may feel odd but this upright standing is just how our body is designed to function. Need pic

Now be aware of your feet on the floor and check that your weight is distributed evenly between left and right feet and between front and back of both feet.

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