Did you notice feeling more tired, anxious, or irritable as the weather changed into winter this year? It happens to the best of us, especially as the days get darker and that blistering cold wind blows your body around. But did you know that how you feel isn’t only related to the weather, it’s related to your posture?!
It can be hard to notice this kind of posture on yourself. However, if you take a look at others, you can see it in their body language. With shoulders up, arms crossed in front of them, and looking down does this body language seem more or less closed off to you? “Cold” posture can stick around even once we’re indoors and warmer again because our muscles have memory. (Hence the term “muscle memory”)
That’s why it’s so important to remind our bodies to open up. So this month we’re bringing you some February love in the form of a few heart-openers to help get your body and your spirit more open to giving and receiving some warmth!
Top 3 Heart-Openers
1. Roll out your pecs: That tug you feel behind your shoulders or your neck? We’re all practicing some less than stellar posture throughout our day. With the amount that we use our phones or computers it’s basically inevitable. Add cold weather and well…you’re holding some tension. But most people don’t realize that a lot of this tension comes from tightness in the chest.
- Grab a ball (a pinky ball is my fave), place it on your chest just below your shoulder.
- Go to an empty wall (a door will do) and put the weight of your body against the ball and lean on the wall like you’re holding it up. Try to not have your feet too close to the wall or you won’t get a lot of pressure.
- Roll back and forth from your shoulder to your breast bone. If you hit a tight spot you can stay on it while you breathe to let it release.
- Do one side of your chest (right or left) at a time and then switch!
2. Side-lying arm circles: This is a great exercise to get some movement in the body and make your whole shoulder girdle feel more open.
- Lie on your side (you can place your head on a pillow if your neck wants some support.
- Stack your shoulders and hips, knees bent 90 degrees with both arms out in front of you also stacked to start.
- Follow your top hand with your eyes, head and body (aka allow your parts to move)
- Draw a circle with your top arm that reaches over your head, then opens your body to the ceiling as it comes to the opposite position of where the other arm is (making a T) up and over your hip (bringing your body back to neutral) and finally back to its starting position.
3. Pec Stretch (in the door): Our all time favorite stretch! Especially good for those of you who don’t have time to stretch, but occasionally find yourself walking into rooms through doors. (Yes that was sassy/sarcastic).
- Standing in front of a doorframe, make your arms into a cactus or “stick ‘em up” position (palms facing away from you.)
- Maintaining this position, place your hands on the doorframe.
- Step one foot forward and gently and slowly step forward feeling a stretch in your chest.
- Pro tip: Try to do this without “going for the gold,” and over-stretching.
- Instead, breathe in the stretch and then step back out of it. Also, try not to reach your head forward from the rest of your body.
Think you might need a visual aid tutorial to help you? We’ll be sending out weekly videos in the newsletter (so make sure you’re signed up: Here! ) and posting @dynamicbodypilates on Instagram #DBPtutorials