Recent Yoga for Posture posts included Mountain Pose and a sitting modification for Mountain Pose. These two exercises are among the most powerful methods I have found for improving your posture.
But, you know what? They can be even more useful, if you add a little visualization to them.
After you have mastered the basic Mountain (or sitting Mountain) Pose, after it comes naturally to you, picture your spine and your head like a bobble head figure.
A bobble head, Andrew? Seriously?
Yes, a bobble head. Seriously.
Sitting Mountain Pose
Remember the sitting modification to Mountain:
- sit on a chair, backwards (yes, backwards, your chest should face the back support)
- prop your feet comfortably on the leg support bars
- rest your weight directly on your Sitz bones (that’s the Ischial Tuberosity for you fancy talking anatomy types)
- take your natural (neutral) spine curve
- lean slightly back until your lumbar muscles relax
- raise your chin until the muscles in the front of your neck shut off
- put your hands on your knees and pull your shoulders back and down
- Slow your breathing and feel
When you do this, you have time to simply feel your balance, the alignment of your spine, the way your head rests on your neck.
You also have time to visualize your spine as the base of a bobble head doll, and your head as the bobble. And what’s the thing about bobble heads? The heads bobble, constantly. The slightest movement and that head goes jiggling all over the place.
Guess what? Your posture is very much like that. While you’re doing this exercise, relax your neck muscles for a moment and feel what your head does.
And, what does it do?
It falls. Immediately.
Your objective is to keep the bobble on the top of the doll from moving, and to do so with the smallest amount of effort.
Lean back, and your neck muscles will relax. Lean a little more and your head will jerk back.
Lean forward and you will feel the load on the muscles in the back of your neck, and your shoulders, immediately.
Lean slightly to the side, same thing with the side neck muscles and trapezius muscles.
So find that perfect balancing point in the middle. Focus on it. Learn to keep your head there with as little effort as possible.
That is the perfect posture for your neck.