Good posture eliminates many health issues
We spend numerous hours each day parked in front of a computer or television, lugging groceries and children from place to place, or bent over supervising homework or cooking a meal. It is no wonder that 90% of us suffer from posture-related pain. Back pain, headaches, depression, and decreased lung capacity are results of poor posture. Iyengar Yoga founder and well renowned teacher B.K.S Iyengar has used asanas, or poses, to overcome many personal health issues. In his book Light on Life he comments that “slouching is like a narcotic to the body. Collapsing our chest caves in the very Self.” By keeping our chin up in the literal sense we can transform our state of mind.
There are a few simple techniques that you can do almost anywhere to open your chest and shoulders. When you are waiting for the bathtub to fill with water try the wall press. The sink press is great to do while working in the kitchen or waiting for water to boil. If you are on a long conference call the door press is great pick-up.
Wall press. Stand arm distance away from a wall. Extend your left arm to the wall keeping it at shoulder level. Adjust your distance to the wall as needed. Spread your fingers and firmly press into the wall. While pressing into the wall roll your left shoulder up and back. Think of the shoulder as a bicycle chain that moves up and around. Press the inside of the shoulder blade towards the spine. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat on the right side. Perform a total of 3 sets.
Door press. Stand in the middle of a doorway. Hold the edges of the door frame with the palms of your hands. Allow your body to fall forward and straighten your arms. As you lean forward lift your chest and roll the shoulders up and back. You can keep your feet flat or rise on the balls of your feet. The weight of your body should allow a nice stretch in the shoulders and upper back. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat two more times.
Sink press. Stand with your back facing a sink (kitchen, bathroom, anywhere) about 1 foot away from the edge. Extend your arms behind you and grasp hold of the edge of the sink. Slowly allow your body to fall forward and straighten your arms. Keep your feet firmly on the ground and stretch your chest upward. Again, think of that bicycle chain moving your shoulders up and back. This stretch allows your shoulder blades to move in closer than the door press. Hold for 1 minute and repeat two times.
Setting aside a few minutes each day will result in better posture and better health. Give yourself a reminder by placing a post it at your desk or on the bathroom mirror. With daily practice standing up straight will no longer be a painful struggle, but rather a natural part of good posture.
Dawn Wynne is a best-selling children’s author, award-winning teacher, and certified L.E.A.N. coach. Combing her love for the environment, passion for nutrition, and teaching talents she works with children and families to help them make healthy lifestyle choices. For more tips, recipes, and information visit her blog and website.