“Chin up, chest out, shoulders back, stomach in” I can still picture the drill instructor bearing down at me during #RAF basic training and screaming into my ‘shell like’
Little did we both know in that moment that this drill instructor was actually going through the finer points of Tadasana, mountain pose in yoga. Perhaps he did and was actually a keen yogi, although I certainly wasn’t picking up a ‘no harming’ vibe from him..
Good posture is so important but bad posture in the west is commonplace, leading to lower back issues later on in our lives.
In yoga, we are very aware of the position of the body whilst moving from posture to posture, the position of the feet, alignment of the knees, hips, engagement of the core muscles and stabilising the shoulders and the length of the spine.
Let’s take standing for example and observe the finer points of good standing:
Working up from the feet, toes spread, pressing into for corners of the feet to create lift in the ankles.
Engage the thigh muscles to lift up the kneecaps slightly, and slightly engage the abdominal muscles which will pull up the pubic bone, tilting the pelvis backwards making us stand a little taller.
The front of the rib cage is lifted by bringing the shoulder blades together and down (“chest out, shoulders back”).
To complete the picture lift the highest point of the back of the head up towards the ceiling without losing the grounding of the feet, this action elongates the spine.
The ideal alignment is reached when all the major joints of the body, ankles, knees, hips and shoulders align, one above the other creating a vertical line that also passes through the ears. This established a posture with the least resistance to the forces of gravity, making effortless standing a possibility.
Let’s face it, if we have to stand around for long periods, and we did, for hours at a time on a parade square, why not make it a effortless as possible?
But becoming aware of posture and the signs of good posture is one of the many great ‘take -aways’ from any yoga class.
Next time you find yourself standing around, check your posture and have a think about reducing the effort and aligning the body. You don’t need to go to a yoga class, or perhaps you do?