Last week I told you about taking a walk with my oldest. I noticed his posture is beginning to slip a little; his shoulders are beginning to round in, and he’s getting a touch of forward head posture. As a result, I gave you an exercise to pull back (and lower) the shoulders while bringing in winged-out shoulder blades.
Another weekend walk, another lesson for the boy.
We were taking a family walk again this weekend, and I noted the same issue with #1’s posture. This got me to thinking about other ways to help him straighten up.
Some of it was about pride, and pride in your looks (he’ll be a teenager soon). Someday I’ll dive deeply into the mental adjustments necessary to correct poor posture. For today, understand that the mental exercises are as important as the physical exercises. Since this is the place for “Yoga for Posture,” let’s scratch the surface with one that combines the two.
Mountain pose is both one of the simplest, and simultaneously one of the hardest yoga postures. It doesn’t require intense effort like the warrior poses, or dancer, or standing head to knee. You’re not going to lock every muscle in your body for 30 to 60 seconds of intense effort.
Instead, all you’re going to do is to stand still.
Okay, maybe there’s a little more too it. You’re going to stand up straight (and still), relax into your balance and go inward. It is the going inward, while maintaining the pose that is the hardest part. Let’s do it.
Begin by standing with your feet shoulder width apart:
- Lift one leg an inch off the floor, relax your ankle and let your foot dangle
- Place the foot directly down. This is to find your foot’s natural placement
- Repeat for the other foot.
- Line up your ankles, knees and hips vertically
- Press your toes gently into the floor and distribute your weight evenly across the “four corners” of the foot; big toe, little toe, inner heel and outer heel
- Tighten your buttocks, gently tipping your hips up (lifting your pubic bone)
- Pull your shoulders back, and down
- Rotate your palms forward, drawing in your shoulder blades
- Lift your chin until you feel all the muscles in the front of your neck shut off
- Lean slightly back until you feel the muscles of your lower back relax
- Slow your breathing and feel
Yes, feel. Feel your breath, feel your balance, feel your spine, feel your muscles.
What you are feeling is the shape of proper posture. After you have trained all your muscles:
- Strengthened those that were weak,
- Stretched those that were tight,
- Massaged and relaxed those that were knotted up, and
- Trained endurance in those that easily fatigued
You have to train your body and mind to work together.
Mountain posture is a great place to start.