Why Do You Need Re-Aligned?
You've heard it from your parents your whole life: "Stand up straight!" Maybe you've seen photos of yourself and thought, "Do I really slouch like that?" Or perhaps your back starts aching after hours of computer time. So you pull your shoulders back, hoping to be more upright. Soon your back is tired of trying to hold you up and you're back to the slouch. Why it can feel so impossible to sustain good posture?
The culprit lies in our modern lifestyles. Most of us have been stuffed into chairs before grade school - putting our bodies at an unnatural 90° angle just when we're beginning to develop, altering the way we inhabit our bodies lifelong. If you notice the structure of the human spine you'll see that it is rather curvy. These curves keep us young, acting as springs to absorb the shock of our daily movements. In an attempt to find a comfortable position while seated for long periods of time, we end up leaning against the back of the chair, rounding forward with our shoulders and sitting directly on our tailbones. (Check out the image on the far left.) When we're stuck in this position most of the day, our spine is pulled out of its natural curves causing us to experience pain, stiffness and even a foul mood! So how do we remedy this alignment epidemic?
Based on the latest research in physics and biomechanics, we will develop a movement program that is custom to your body. This is not just about standing up straight, it's about balancing the tension dynamically so that you can remain upright and move with freedom. Over the course of our sessions together, we will explore a few different techniques, including corrective exercises, to coax out your natural alignment.
The breath is our body's built-in alignment mechanism, yet most of us have little-to-no awareness of how we are (or are not) breathing throughout the day. Using a focused breathing technique, we will exaggerate the inhale and exhale to regain sensory awareness of the primary muscles that aid in breathing. The focused breathing can illuminate any unconsciously held tension in the abdomen. Once this habitual tension is released, the breath can flow freely and then we can start exploring deep core strength.
One of the deep muscles we will awaken is the Transverse Abdominis (pictured on the right). This is our built-in corset which, with natural engagement, can help support the spine and tone the whole ab group from the inside out. We're looking beyond the six-pack for robust, functional core strength that you can apply to your daily tasks.
Unlearning Habits of Tension
Have you ever experienced a twinge in your back after reaching to pick up a sock off of the floor? Certainly the sock didn't cause that strain - it was likely the accumulation of moving habitually (without awareness) over time that caused damage in the tissues. Many of our daily movements, especially in a world of technology, are dysfunctional and inefficient, causing us to feel tightness and limited mobility in our bodies. The good news? Preventative self-care is possible! As we work together, we will explore your specific "habits of use" and how they may be contributing to limitations in your body. This is a subtle and life-altering process of cultivating mindfulness as you learn to inhabit your body differently moment to moment.
While it's hard work, the process of unlearning habits is one of empowerment. Often, simply reminding ourselves to let go of the muscles we hold is enough to change our sensations of tension. But we will also develop a program of corrective exercises to rebalance any areas of your body that have adapted dysfunctionally. These simple exercises will help you develop proprioception (awareness of your body in space), release tension in your connective tissues (known as fascia), and build strength in the muscles that stabilize your body in alignment.
While you will gain quite a lot of whole-body strength doing this work, it is not a work-out regimen to burn calories or "get fit". My goal is to get your body functional so that your regular daily movements can be efficient, free of pain, and sustainable. Learning to inhabit your body well each day is a skill you hone to be able to move your parts with ease into your riper years. Together, we will break old habits and build a robust physical presence that will introduce you to a whole new you.
A Movement Lifestyle
The final piece of the alignment puzzle is your daily movement. This includes your menial tasks (washing dishes, working at your computer, folding laundry) and larger ones (moving heavy boxes, carrying groceries/children, and daily walking).
Throughout our sessions, we will evaluate your daily physical needs and environment and find a more functional and efficient way to move through the tasks that are required of you. We will look at your office and living space, giving you practical tips on sitting and ideas to customize your environment (workstation, kitchen) to make it more dynamic. I'll offer tools for bending without straining your back so that cleaning your house might just become a fun exercise in alignment! (I said, might.) I'll equip you with the tools to sustain the vitality of your body so that your health care is back in your hands!