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Posture 101

What is posture?

It is your dynamic relationship to the environment around you. It is often thought of as a static position, however, as we human beings are in constant motion, so is our posture. Think about how you are sitting or standing right now - Are you shifted into one hip? Are your legs crossed? Are you leaning forward or back? Where is your gaze resting?

You cannot do any exercise to change the shape of your bones but we do have the capacity to alter our posture and to lessen discomfort by moving efficiently and maintain optimal alignment through Pilates.

Benefits of good posture

  1. When your body maintains proper form and optimal alignment, the joints align and you are less likely to feel discomfort.

  2. Improved posture can reduce pressure on and compression of your organs.

  3. Good posture promotes efficient movement patterns as well as balance and stability.

  4. Efficient movement, a product of good posture, is essential for avoiding injury during exercise.

Pilates exercises that benefit our posture

  1. Scapular protraction and retraction (strengthen the muscles around the shoulder blades)

  2. Chest expansion while kneeling (opens our chest muscles)

  3. Controlled Breathing (to reduce compression on our diaphragm and breathe efficiently)

  4. Prone exercises such as 'Breast Stroke' and 'Swimming' (to counteract the flexion we do in our daily lives)

  5. Downward-facing Dog (to stretch the shoulders and lengthen the spine)

Incorporate postural awareness into your daily life

Next time you're standing in line waiting at a check-out or brushing your teeth, stand tall and lengthen from the crown of your head and feel the opening across your collar bones. Be aware of any lifting of the shoulders towards your ears and try to 'lengthen from your ears to your shoulders' and notice if you are standing with equal weight on your feet. This awareness and habit forming behaviour will help you retrain how you stand. You could also consider sitting on a stability ball while working at a desk or use a standing desk. Your abdominal muscles with be turned on - engaged, to avoid slouching.

Above, is a sequence using T's, V's and W's on the long roller in a prone position. It works our scapular stability, mobility, and a beneficial sequence for our posture.

Happy summer and happy MOVING!


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