The calendar may say it is SPRING, but the sideways sleet & snow in the Sandia foothills the first Sunday of May tells me otherwise. It is ironic that shortly after moving to New Mexico ten years ago, I heard the same oft quoted adage from my native Michigan, “If you don’t like the weather, just wait 5 minutes!” I also found that while Michiganders tell Polish jokes and New Mexicans, Española jokes, the punchlines are the same…but that’s another story.
Regardless of the date or what’s going on outside, thanks to the increase in daylight, we are coming out of our winter hibernation into a time of increased physical activity and with that the groans of aches & pains. With a bit of preemptive action, postural awareness and the massage therapist’s mantra – body mechanics – we can spend more time enjoying outdoor activities rather than the ice-pack in front of the boob tube.
Just as massage therapy is about restoring space and balance to constricted muscle,
so too is posture about balance and space. Correct space – positioning – in your joints
that allow the skeletal system to do its job
of balancing the weight of our bodies.
Very simply – skull over shoulders over pelvis over knees over ankles. While this seems obvious, many contributing factors – work environment, disease, habit and over tiredness – often conspire to work against optimal posture. The reality is that we all inhabit our bodies in our own unique way, but with awareness can reform old habits that no longer serve our health and ease in movement.
Ernie’s Tip #1: Find your Geographical Center and Breathe.
I often remind singing students to “find your Buddha Belly,” but we all, especially us Westerners, have improved posture and breathing when we have awareness of our geographical center, or very simply, the space beneath your belly button and between your hips. More specifically, in the Chinese tradition, the Tan Tien (Dantian) and Japanese, the Hara.
Lie on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Put an average sized paperback book under your head and a heavy dictionary or encyclopedia on your abdomen – you remember books…Relax!!!
Initiate your breath from your lower back so as your back expands towards the floor your abdomen raises the book towards the ceiling. Breathing expands the imaginary inner tube that circles your abdomen. After a few deep breaths on the floor, resume your practice from a standing position without losing the expansion of your inner tube.