Are you really straight? I mean your body alignment!
I once had a teacher named Yoshihiro Akita. He was practicing Japanese and western physiotherapy and was also an expert in massage and kai therapy. He told me one day that I was not straight. I was like ‘what do you mean?
Then he started explaining to me about body alignment and its effects on our body. I was convinced. The way I used to stand, sit, walk and sleep was inviting me several problems in the coming future. I am incredibly fortunate to have met him in my life. He changed my world of thoughts and my body.
What is body alignment?
Every animal has its body alignment, it’s the way we perform our tasks in a specific body posture. For example, the way we walk may be hurting our back and the back problem can be solved by correcting our postures and the way we walk. Have you noticed that you might not be standing or sitting correctly and slowly your body starts to ache?
And once you change the position it relieves the pain immediately. Hitting long hours in front of a computer starts stressing out your shoulders and leaves you feeling numb. Here are some of the tips I learned from my teacher that helped me get the proper body alignment.
It might be a cool thing to walk fashionably and add a little bit of swag to our walking. But the mistakes we make while walking can invite back pain, leg pain or even sciatica. With each step we take, we send vibrations to our spine. More vibration leads to stress in the leg muscles and the muscles that are close to the spine. This does not allow our muscles to relax and puts a lot of tension on them. In a worst case scenario, it can cause mild scoliosis too.
Types of walking
In ancient China women with small legs walking elegantly was considered to be attractive. The women there practiced walking like a penguin turning their feet inside in certain angle. This gave a unique charm to their body rhythm while they walked. But the problem is if we walk that way our pelvic girdle starts to tighten and sends more vibration to the spine. That’s when the spine loses its natural curve and invites back pain and sciatica.
Imagine how a pigeon walks. It angles its feet outside and saunters. So if you notice its body, it bends here and there while it walks. Most of us walk in this manner knowingly or unknowingly. Yes!! It can add a little bit of swag to your walk but, style is not as important as your health. This style also destroys the body alignment and can be responsible for sciatica, scoliosis, back pains, and shoulder aches.
The correct method of walking:
So, what is the best way to walk? How can we improve our body alignment while walking? Turning our feet from 5 to 10 degrees outside is the correct method. Doesn’t that sound a little crazy? Here is why it’s not as crazy as it sounds. Try taking long steps.
Can you walk taking long steps either turning your feet outside or inside? It’s close to impossible or if you do try it, then it looks funny. Try taking simple long steps. Taking long steps helps to improve the body alignment, gives less vibration to the spine and also stretches your legs. Practice this simple tip for a few weeks and you will see the improvement.
Here is a tip for the women who love flaunting their high-heels. We know using high-heels makes you look stunning but wearing high heels have many side effects. It’s because as you wear them it shifts your center of gravity. Which means, it makes your chest lean forward, your buttocks backward and bends your knees forward. This not only destroys your body alignment but also creates extra tension to the body parts. This can cause several knee diseases, back pain, sciatica and can even affect your neck. Wearing heels frequently can also deform your toes and make them look ugly. So if you can avoid using high heels too much.
Ok, we have seen some people sitting with their stomach crunching inside bending their spine like a hunchback or sitting on the floor leaning entirely on one side with their hands. Whatever it is that they are doing is wrong! In both cases, they are destroying the natural curve of the spine and tightening the muscles around it. This can lead to shoulder problems, back problems, and neck problems. In some rare cases, it also causes headaches. How? You might ask. The muscles around the neck tighten up and a lot of tension builds up in the spine causing a headache out of nowhere.
So, how do we sit properly? Our primary goal here is to not disturb our natural spinal curve. Slightly bring your lower back towards your belly and relax your shoulders. Do not lean your chin too forward. This way we can sit without getting muscle pain for a long time. While you sit on your computer relax your shoulders and hands and make sure your neck is parallel to the screen. This prevents shoulder, neck, and backaches.
Things are more crucial when it comes to standing. Some jobs demand us to stand for long periods. The most common mistake people make while standing is that they put their entire body weight only on one leg. This way the center of gravity is destroyed and your spine bends like crazy. Most people tend to support their weight only on one leg every time. This is even worse. It can cause your whole body to ache. The proper way to stand is to distribute your body weight equally on both of the legs.
Have you ever noticed that stiff neck and a little pain when you wake up on a sunny beautiful morning? Sometimes you can’t even bend it properly and then your whole day is ruined. This is the consequence of your sleeping posture last night. How can a sleeping posture affect your body and mind in such a way? Here, we have some proper sleeping postures that will help you get some better sleep.
Also Read: 5 Best Sleeping Positions For Sound Health
Before you go to bed get some good thoughts about the day and stay positive. We usually sleep in many different positions but sleeping with your face up is the best way to sleep. In this way your body alignment is straight and almost every part of your body is balanced with the center of gravity. This causes very less tension on the muscles and bones and if you experiment it for a few days you will realize that you get satisfied with even lesser sleep time.
This is because we sleep to rest our body and mind. If there is already less tension in your body then you get the proper rest. And using no pillow is recommended but if you have to then use a thinner, softer one. Using hard pillows and tall pillows angle your neck bones and stress neck muscles. Which may give you some pain.
Sleeping sideways is also okay but using the correct height of the pillow is necessary and if you think you change sides between periods of sleep it’s great. Observe how cats sleep. They frequently change sides so their muscles don’t sore. Sleeping face down is something that I don’t recommend because your neck bends both ways, your chest is suppressed and you won’t be able to breathe correctly, which may make you yawn the following day.