Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Cure for Stubborn, Inflexible Muscles

How do you feel about the stiff muscles in your body? Are they stubborn and uncooperative? Do they get in the way of your full enjoyment of life?

Maybe the trouble isn’t in your muscles. The underlying ligaments, cartilage and discs don’t receive direct blood supply, so they depend on gentle motion to bring in nutrition and take away waste products.

Sway your spine and notice where the movement is easy and what places find it difficult or impossible to participate. Any place that can’t move is malnourished.

Give a stiff place one minute to be the center of your attention, let it determine how to sway, let it be the leader of your body. Discover how little time it takes to be rejuvenated, how willing it is to be part of you when it gets what it needs.

If you spend hours a day at a computer, or in the car, or engaged in repetitive stillness of any sort, your stiffness may simply be a plea for an internal drink of water, a taste of nutrients, a call to take out the toxins accumulated in the muscles.

Undulate—sway, wiggle, squirm—in any way that makes those inflexible places more flexible. Because the movements are small, you can do it anywhere: at your desk, in your car, even waiting in line at the grocery store. You can learn 52 undulation exercises that will unlock your spine in Relieve Stiffness and Feel Young Again with Undulation and the 4-CD audio version, Undulation Exercises. Try some out here:

Monday, October 13, 2008

Old Faithful, Undulation of the Week

Don't discount the value of simple movements to nourish the spine's cartilage, ligaments, and discs. This simple undulation also eases tension in the back and improves posture.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Prevent Poor Posture

“I walk like an old person in the morning,” one of my clients told me. I wondered if she hobbled, shuffled, took short steps, or was just stiff, so I asked her what she meant.

“I have horrible posture.” Oh.

The elderly often stoop under a heavy cloak of past injury and poor habit. On the other end of the spectrum, toddlers spring up from the ground without the burden of malformed muscle and connective tissue.

Parents have more information to pass on about the birds and the bees than they do about good posture. So most people run around with the mistaken notion that pulling shoulders back is the correct way to stand tall, but doing so actually adds tension to the upper back and is one of the most common habits that eventually leads to a stoop.

Good posture is so simple and it builds core muscles, heals injury, and perpetuates more ease.

Rather than concentrating on the upper body to stand tall, focus your attention on the feet and legs. Make sure your hips are not forward of your ankles—most people need to shift their hips back and move the torso slightly forward. Try it and notice how this alignment requires your inner abdominals to work.

From here, relax your arms at your sides. If you feel you could be taller, lift your chest, push your feet into the ground and reach through the crown of your head. Your shoulders naturally fall back and down without strain when you lift your heart.

While this “ground-up” method is not familiar, most people are often surprised at how easy it is to have good posture. The “shoulders-back” method is a heavy burden that doesn’t need to be born by anyone—young or old. You can take a few years off your frame by practicing ground-up posture every day.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Spinal Flow, Undulation of the Week

Learn to pay attention inward and tune into subtle body sensations with the Spinal Flow undulation. Start with your heart beat. Put your hands on your chest and feel the beat. Bend your spine, open and close your fists, and move your legs in cadence with the beat. Then partner with other systems: your digestion, breath, and spinal flow. Slow down to match your internal rhythm.