Finding your ideal anatomical posture can be difficult. We never really know what we look like unless we're looking in the mirror.
Have you ever been in a yoga class, thought you were in a pose exactly the way your teacher was cueing it, and when he or she came around and adjusted you, it felt like you were going to fall over?
I know. I've been there, too.
It's called hanging out in our imbalances. To most of us, being in ideal anatomical alignment is actually a lot of work.
Let's face it, we've spent our lifetimes bringing ourselves out of alignment, by sitting at a computer for hours, huddling forward on our iPhones or video games, or even rounding forward on a bicycle.
Our bodies have gotten a beating and our muscles have begun to pull on our bones in a way that is, let's say, not so pretty.
So here you go. A little drill in standing up straight. And I bet if you work it, you’ll actually feel like you’re giving yourself a workout!
Stand with your legs hips’ distance apart.
Find the four corners of your feet: ball mound of the big toe, ball mound of the little toe, the inner heel and outer heel equally descending into the ground.
Once you feel grounded in your feet, lift your toes to engage your arches and create a muscular energy in the soles of your feet.
Now, hug your shins into the midline and notice how your inner thighs turn on and the muscular energy moves towards your midline.
Once your shins are hugging in, energetically rotate your inner thighs back and apart in order to hollow your groins and widen your sacrum. (If this is difficult for you to find, put a yoga block between your upper thighs, and push the block backwards.)
Notice how you may feel less tension in your psoas and crease of your hips. With your inner things back and apart, drop your tailbone down towards the floor and curl it in, every so slightly towards your pubic bone so your pelvis moves more towards a neutral position. You may feel your low belly muscles wake up and your frontal hip bones lift up.
Now that you are firmly rooted, you will have a sense of support from which you can expand through your upper body and open your chest.
Lift the sides of your body up. Imagine someone is lifting your armpits or upper arm bones up. Then, take the top of your arm bones back.
Can you picture your shoulder blades? Press the bottom tips of your shoulder blades up and into your chest.
Can you feel the mini back-bend sneaking up on you without anyone else noticing? This shoulder blade “mantra” are words of alignment to live by and the keys to open up your heart.
With your upper body expanding, you may feel like you are popping out your ribs. So use your third chakra energy to pull that power right back into you. Yes, pull your ribs back with your abdominals!
If your shoulders came off your back, use your shoulder blade mantra again.
(I know what you’re thinking but no one said this was going to be easy!)
Just standing up requires work. And now when you go into your yoga class or any activity you do, you’ll have a place to start in every pose.
Once you’ve got your upper body in check, you may feel like you’ve lost your legs and pelvis.
Not to worry! Just start all over again.
Continue to scan your body up and down, down and up. And just like that, whether you're standing in a yoga class, in the grocery store or even on an airplane, you're giving yourself a mini workout and the key to your most excellent posture.