Okay, hit the floor!

by DavalosMcCormack on February 6, 2008

Freeze! I’m talking to you. Freeze, right now, in the exact position you find yourself! What is your body doing? Are you like me, in a sort of hunched over, neck craning toward the computer screen, nose almost touching hunchback stance? Do you start out nice and poised and suddenly find yourself in this sort of question mark pose? Me too, and I’ve noticed that my neck, shoulders and back feel just a little stiff now and then. So I decided to try and find out what I could do about it.

I began by conducting an unofficial and rather random study of people’s posture. It’s been limited to my office mates and people I have seen sitting in front of make-up mirrors at the gym – I told you it was random! If you have ever had the occasion to check out the posture of women at the make-up mirror you will be amazed at the different techniques and body positions they get into, not to mention facial expressions used to apply make-up, examine blemishes, and pluck stray hairs out of the eyebrow and chin. They crane their necks forward until their noses almost reach the mirror.. and yikes.. look at what’s happening to their stomach! It’s just plopped out there and their spine is curled forward so as to support the length of their neck as it reaches toward the screen in hopes of getting a better look.

So the first thing you have to do is stop! All this hunching is causing you big time problems. Chronic back pain, and bad posture can take a toll on your gazelle like grace and finesse. Luckily I have a few freaky little moves you can do to fight that question mark stance and bring back that confident creature lurking within.

First there’s the Camel Pose the Camel pose is a easy backbend done on your knees. (Consider yourself disclaimed/warned and do not do these moves if you have issues with your back or other physical ailments without your doctor’s okay)

  1. Start on the floor, kneeling hips distance apart. For more support, you can use extra padding like a towel or cushion for your knees. Your sitting bones should be up (not seated on your calves), your spine straight, and shoulders rolled back and down.
  2. Place your hands on your hips, palms on your lower back, fingers pointing down towards your sits bones. Breathe here.
  3. Inhale and grow taller at the crown of your head, lengthening your spine. As you exhale, gently and carefully lean back, leading with your chest and dropping your shoulders. Lower your hands down to your ankles.
  4. Keeping your arms straight, use your palms to support you as you push your chest further up. Relax your neck, jaw, and throat.
  5. Breathe deeply here for a few moments, feeling the stretch on your shoulders and the springy arch in your back.
  6. When you’re ready to move out of the pose, push gently back up to kneeling by bringing your hands back to your hips. Rest a moment before standing up.

Here’s one you can do just sitting at your desk, it’s called the “shoulder squeeze”. If you want to see how it’s done check out the video from Dr. Sorbo of the Palmer College of Chiropractic Medicine. Dr. Sorbo demonstrates the “shoulder squeeze” and other spine strengthening exercises on his videos at Expert Village

First, put your arms out like Popeye; 90% at the forearms and 90% at the elbow as if you are holding a dumbell. Now, gently draw your shoulders blades back and hold for five to 10 seconds ( You can think about how you look like you are under arrest during this waiting period)

Dr. Sorbo says that this should be done 3 to 5 times per set and 2 or 3 times a day. He does it while sitting on a ball but you don’t have to. This little exercise really does loosen the tense muscles in your back and opens your chest.

Even if you don’t end up doing the exercises Dr. Sorbo demonstrates, he’s sort of fun to watch. I wonder if that’s his real office and sometimes he talks to the cameraman.

There your are, just a couple of exercises that will help you take your nose out of your computer, make you sit up straight and take away that pain in your neck. You will be the envy of the office as you glide away from the computer with complete assurance, purpose and confidence. Or at the very least people won’t think you look like Quasimodo.

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