The thing that’s amazing about aging in 2016 is that people are starting to get that most of us have quite a lot of control over how we age.
That guy at work who sneezed and threw his back out? That didn’t “just happen.”
I can say that with confidence because his back had to already be unstable and vulnerable for something like a sneeze to make it go out. But how do we know when our bodies are just one bad cold away from disaster?
Do you wake up in the morning and feel like your whole body is stiff? That’s something that you should pay attention to. No, it is not necessarily a sign that your back is going to go out tomorrow but if you can tune into instead of tune out that stiffness as you go throughout your day you’ll be doing yourself a favor. You’ll be making yourself aware.
Without awareness of your movement patterns or physical sensations, you can do all supposed-to-be-good-for-you stretching and strengthening exercises you want but if you aren’t truly clear on what you’re doing or why, you may never be getting at the root of the issue.
If we look at the architecture of a house, the foundation (what the house is built on) is actually the most important part. Similarly, when looking at postural awareness, our feet are our foundation.
Here’s an exercise to get you started in building your awareness from the ground up.
Awareness of Position
- 1. Stand up without looking at your feet
- 2. Now look at your feet and see if they are symmetrical – Are your feet facing the same direction? If not, you just found a pattern that is contributing to some of your body stiffness.
Symmetry = Balance
We’re looking for as much symmetry as possible without forcing ourselves into a position (I’ll have to get back to you later with another post about why even though symmetry is our ideal, forcing ourselves into positions isn’t useful either.)
Awareness of Your Weight (this has nothing to do with lbs)
Because building awareness starts with questions, now we ask, “How is my weight distributed on my feet?”
- 1. Tip your weight slightly (slightly!) into your toes (heels should not come off the ground)
- 2. Tip your weight slightly back in your heels (toes should not come off the ground)
- 3. Tip your weight to the right side edge of both feet
- 4. Tip your weight to the left side edge of the both feet
Now explore all those places just enough until you can decide what feels “in the center” to you.
This “in the center” idea goes back to our goal of symmetry or equilibrium. The more you’re in conversation asking questions about center and symmetry the more balanced your body will be and the more awareness you will have.
I love talking about body awareness because it’s SO important and fundamental to making any significant change in our bodies and is a topic I plan to come back to. In the meantime, give these exercises a shot while you’re waiting on line at the drugstore, clothing check out line, or waiting to cross the street and get back to me with what you notice!
For those of you with questions or who just have no idea where their body is, feel free to reach out to me directly at 917-613-1552.
Have a great day and by the way…you look great.