FORWARD SLUMPED POSTURE (FSP)
Desk workers will tend to slump or round the back, causing tension in the back of the neck, a contraction in the pectoral muscles, biceps and abdominal muscles. Over time, this posture becomes a habit. The hip flexors shorten and tighten, eventually creating a posture that looks ageing and can create neck pain, headaches, jaw pain, hip pain, mid back pain and shallow breathing. Interestingly, sitting in this position also effects our mood! Literally making us feel fatigued, lethargic, withdrawn and introverted.
Looking at the photo, you can see that there’s a closing down of the torso, contracting the abdominal muscles, the pelvis becomes tucked under and the closing down of the front body is restricting the organs of digestion, respiration and reproduction.
THE GOOD NEWS is that these patterns can be reversed, posture improved, our range of movement and flexibility increased, our muscle tension released.
TIP: To allow the front of the body to open-up and release from this contracted state, you may like to try these suggestions:
Lie on the floor each evening for twenty minutes, knees bent, feet slightly wider than hip width apart, knees touching. If you feel your leg muscles are still switched on, then pop a firm cushion behind the knees to help the lower back muscles relax. This is called the Constructive Rest Position.
No big cushions or pillows behind the head, you want the neck to be in a line with your spine. Some of you will need a small folded towel under the back of the head, others won’t need any neck prop. This pillow in the photo below is not helping my model's neck!
Arms out a little way from your sides, palms facing upwards if possible.
Try this each evening for 20 minutes for a fortnight. If you feel any pain or discomfort, then please cease immediately. There should be no unwanted effects such as numbness or discomfort in the muscles at the front of the chest (pectoral muscles), tingling in the arms or hands or issues with pain or strain in the rib cage or torso, for example.
STAGE TWO: Once that feels ok, you may like to go deeper by placing a folded blanket or towel under the torso (not the neck and lower back), to create a gentle arch in that part of the spine, thereby opening-up the front of the body further. To start to open up the front of the throat/neck, let the head lie on the floor, so it tips back slightly. See photo.The folded blanket is approximately around bra strap level to top of shoulder blades.
Please practice patience by not moving to this more open-bodied posture too soon. Take it slowly. If you’ve been sitting in a forward slumped posture for a few hours a day for a long time, it’s going to take some time to gently, safely let the pectoral muscles and abdominal muscles time to soften, relax and lengthen.
If you’d like to speed up the process, try GENTLE SOMATIC YOGA
· Learn how Gentle Somatic Yoga can assist with pain-relief and releasing FSP
· Discover how your habitually tight muscles contribute to recurring injury and poor posture
· Let go of chronic muscle tension
· Try an alternative to stretching – pandiculations
Gentle Somatic Yoga is a beautifully slow, subtle style of yoga that makes for a very enjoyable yoga class, suitable for all. It can also be incorporated into your existing exercise routine, giving you the skills to relieve aches and pains caused by your muscle tension patterns.
Monday – Friday 9:30-10:30 in Sandgate
Occasional Sundays 9:45-11:45 in Brighton