Good alignment (also known as good posture) is so important to graceful aging, that I’m continuing the advice from my last post. Posture contributes to youthful movement in three ways.
1) Good alignment reduces the wear and tear on joints, tissues, and organs so the body lasts longer.
2) Core muscles are used to maintain good posture. Active core muscles promote suppleness and put feebleness on hold.
3) Good posture looks better! A slump is the signature posture of being beaten by time (and, ironically, teenagers).
An easy way to work on your posture is to practice sitting in alignment. There are many ways to get into “correct” alignment, but here is one of my tried and true methods.
1. Sit with both feet on the floor to support the entire weight of your legs; feet and knees in line with your hips.
2. Put your hands under your behind to find your “sit bones.” (Be careful not to squish your fingers.)
3. Rock back and forth and notice how your sit bones point forward when you lean back on your tail and how they point to the back when you roll your hips forward.
4. Experiment to find the spot where your sit bones point straight down into the Earth.
5. Remove your hands.
6. When your sit bones are straight, your pelvis is level and your spine is aligned without any further effort from you.
7. Gently press your feet into the ground. If your pelvis is level, you will feel a slight lift through your spine.
8. Relax your arms and your neck.
You may feel more effort from the insides of your legs and your lower abdominals to keep this posture. That’s good! But it should also be easier on your shoulders and neck.
If you practice just once every day, your body will develop the strength to stay in alignment for longer and longer—and you will reap the benefits of a more aligned body.