These VerticAlign blog posts contain information about different exercises and stretches that can assist with posture and alignment. These exercises aim to help reduce back pain, neck pain, hip pain and knee pain. Each movement can be used to help build core strength, overcome an anterior pelvic tilt (arched back), posterior pelvic tilt (flat back) or kyphosis (hunchback) posture. Each exercise has a detailed description to help the reader understand exactly how to do it properly. Exact form is ideal for doing each of these movements. It’s important for the client to know exactly what to do, and how to do it. It’s also important to know what ORDER to do these movements in. Clients can use these descriptions to do workouts at home. Exercising at home is a powerful way to help overcome pain and feel better. Daily movement to improve posture will make you look slimmer, taller and leaner.
Raising kids takes a village. I’m so blessed to have a few key partners in my mom village. We take care of each other and help whenever we can!
Well, one of my key mom friends was in pain this past weekend, and I didn’t find out until it was too late to help.
When she told me the story, I almost died. I had joked about this last week in my post! It’s a very common experience and it happened. She literally threw out her back when she picked up her laundry basket.
So this is dedicated to my “village”. To the moms and dads who are too darn busy to get real workouts in. To any person who needs to learn how to engage their core before they pick up that laundry basket, or 68 pound child, or rock heavy backpack on the trek to school.
This exercise takes practice, as it involves engaging the “deep core” musculature. These are the pelvic floor muscles at the base of your spine. They help stabilize your pelvis and strengthen your inner corset. With practice, they can learn to fire easier and help you when lifting and picking up things.
In the picture above you see the pelvic floor muscles connect at the tailbone and the pubic bone, and that they help to control a bunch of organs in between. They are powerful, and simple to work and activate.
Other bonuses? They assist with incontinence issues, as well as sexual health.
You can do this exercise BEFORE you even get out of bed in the morning. Five repetitions will take less than 5 minutes.
If you are struggling to understand where your pelvic floor muscles are, imagine going to the restroom, and suddenly someone walking into the bathroom while you are “mid stream”. The muscles you use to stop yourself, are part of your pelvic floor. Yes, these are often also called the “bathroom” muscles. (Don’t tell my 10 year old daughter, potty jokes are HUGE these days!)
Give it a view here:
Ok, so the big question I have for you is: Can you feel yourself activate your pelvic floor? Is it something you’re “clued” into, or are you struggling to know what I’m talking about? It’s fascinating to learn how people feel about this particular exercise. I give it as a warm up for EVERY client.
This exercise is step one to building a strong inner corset so you don’t go throwing out your back while lifting a feather pillow. Step two coming to you next week…
I don’t know about you guys, but when I used to work a corporate job I used to come home from a long day at the computer, and I didn’t have a single bit of energy remaining. Sitting and working all day long was exhausting, even though I didn’t actually move my body.
I would have grandiose ideas of coming home to meditate and exercise, but I was just too tired. If I closed my eyes in lotus pose, I would probably fall over and pass out.
This daily fatigue came to mind a few weeks back when I spent a week out of town working at my laptop all day long (instead of teaching throughout my day). In just 5 days of computer work (sitting in a library with a work station I couldn’t control), my back and neck hurt far too much. I had huge plans to visit the local baseball stadium, or go to a concert, and yet I came home every evening tired and satisfied to just eat dinner and chillax.
It’s taken two weeks to recover from this one week of a corporate lifestyle. This week reminded me what it is like to be in the shoes of the millions of people who do what I did; sit and work at the computer for hours on end.
This habit just left me too tired to add self care into my already busy, over scheduled, over technologized day.
So, today I want to share a simple breathing exercise that will offer you a lot of bang for your buck. This exercise kills two birds with one stone. It can get you two outs with one pitch. You get the picture.
Before I link the video, here are a few benefits from doing this easy, 30 second exercise:
Improves blood circulation, through focused breathing, which in turn helps with energy
Increases diaphragm and intercostal muscular awareness through controlled inhalation and exhalation
Improves awareness of the back muscles thereby decreasing tightness in the neck muscles
Increases meditative mental focus through counting and breathe awareness
Improves TVA (abdominal) contraction which leads to a stronger core
Here is how it’s done:
Start sitting or standing in good posture. If you are sitting, this means sitting up tall on your sitz bones at the base of your pelvis.
Place a pillow, a sweatshirt, a blanket or anything soft under each armpit. Use your elbows to push into the pillow and keep those elbows bent at a 90 degree angle.
Pull your TVA muscle into your spine. Click here for details on how to do this.
Focus on breathing into the pillows under each armpit. The goal is to make the pillows move apart on your inhalations, and move together on your exhalations.
Push your elbows gently into your pillows, and push them down gently towards the ground and feel your armpit muscle engage. This action helps to pull the tension out of the neck muscles.
Breathe IN 3 times through your nose, and breathe out 3 times through your mouth. When you breath out you can make a HA sound. This emphasizes the abdominal contraction. Take your time with each breath, but keep the movement rhythmic.
Here is the video. Watch the whole thing as it shows the exercise in 3 angles.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I aim to keep my tips short and sweet. I know you’re busy (I am too and feel you pain). Therefore, these exercises are meant to be snippets you can add into your day without taking too much time away from your to ever growing to-do list.
Grab some pillows and give it a try. Email me back and let me know how it feels. Or if someone around you comments positively on your percussive, rhythmic breathing. Be sure to comment below!
I know it’s a busy week! The summer weather has you wanting to escape your office early and hang out in the sun. So I’m giving you an extra special treat today that is “letter perfect”.
A simple 30 second exercise you can do anywhere, anytime. Check it out:
This one wakes up your back and shoulders. It takes less than a minute to do it 10 times. Doing this simple exercise can bring your head back into proper alignment and activate the important scapular muscles.
Comment below and let me know how it feels for your back and neck! It should be a quick muscle activator and give you some immediate release from any tension you might be experiencing. Does it help you?