True fact! The way we sit or stand can be linked to our personality type! Fascinatingly, the way we stand or sit works the other way too and can affect our personality! Or at least our mood, feelings, behaviour and energy levels. Who knew?! That’s powerful stuff!
A lot of my clients book in for a Bowen Treatment or Gentle Somatic Yoga class because they’re suffering from anxiety and fatigue. Fatigue can be caused by the way we sit, both mood-wise and because if we sit slumped forward, we’re compressing our organs of respiration. Kinda makes sense then that sitting up straighter gives our lungs and diaphragm more space to work. Ditto for anxiety which is linked to shallow breathing.
ASK SOMEONE TO TAKE A SIDE-ON PHOTO OF YOU, making sure you’re standing how you normally stand, not how you think you should stand! Then take a look – which posture most looks like yours? Do you recognise yourself in any of the postures in the first illustration?
Perhaps your posture is perfect! A profile snapshot of perfect posture would look like knees, hips, shoulders and ear lobes in a line with the front of your ankle bones.
THE FIRST MANNEQUIN with the hips thrust forward, arms back, demonstrates a posture usually adopted by extroverts/type A personalities. This is an open chested, ready for action, expanded posture, with the arms a little away from the sides. The back of the body is contracted, tense. Think of Police officers and military personnel and the way they’re trained to stand. This posture can lead to lower back pain and disc issues.
THE SECOND MANNEQUIN with arms forward, hips back and the slumped forward posture is usually a sign of introversion, arms tend to be held closer to the body, the whole body taking up less space. The front of the body is contracted, drawing the pelvis into a tucked under position, creating a flat lower back or drawing the hips in front of the ankles.
Can you see how spending lots of time in front of the tv, knitting, sewing, using a smartphone or laptop could create this forward slumped posture? This can lead to chronic neck pain, headaches, jaw pain, hip pain, mid back pain and shallow breathing.
Unfortunately car and plane seats or working at a desk/a driving job tend to create postures C & D, making us feel lethargic, withdrawn and closed off. It also compresses the organs of digestion, respiration and reproduction.
Both the mannequin's postures will experience more back and neck pain than those with ideal posture.
TRY THIS LITTLE EXPERIMENT!
A HIGH-POWER POSE
Sit bolt upright, chest out, tipping your tail up behind you to exaggerate your lower back curve, ready for action for a full two minutes and then notice how you feel.
Then stand like an army officer, chest puffed out, again exaggerating the lower back curve for a couple of minutes, noticing where tension gets created and how it affects your feelings and mood. It tends to make us feel brave, bold, energised and ready for anything! But that'd get tiring if we had that energy switched on all day.
A LOW-POWER POSE
Then try sitting in a slumped posture for two minutes, then stand slumped and take note of how that makes you feel physically and energetically. This posture causes the head and neck to protrude forward, making the body slumped, creating shallow breathing. It also sets up patterns that lead to hip and knee pain. And it makes us feel withdrawn, tired, with not much interest in what's going on around us.
NOTICE WHAT YOU NOTICE
Taking this a step further, when you’re at your place of work, be it a desk, driving or a job that involves standing, bending or twisting, start to notice how you may be building up patterns of muscle tension.
For example, 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 are also short and tight and eventually create a posture that looks really quite ageing and is likely to create a whole host of knock-on effects.
THE GOOD NEWS is that these patterns can be reversed, posture improved, range of movement and flexibility increased, muscle tension released.
Gentle Somatic Yoga helps us unwind from poor posture, gently and enjoyably! Let go of lower back tension, open up the front body, stand more upright, feel more relaxed in your own body.
Learn how at Viroga Yoga Studio on Sunday 27th October 2019 from 9:45-11:45.
To book your place, head to SUSIEORR.COM and use the BOOKING BUTTON on the Home Page. Early bird price of $25 available until the 20th October, thereafter it’s $30.
Can't make that date? Join us on December 1st, same venue, same time.
I look forward to teaching you this gentle, slow and subtle method of Somatic Yoga to release long-held muscle tension.