HOW TO SIT WELL!

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I have written time and time again about how we have not yet evolved to cope with the demands of modern living. There simply hasn’t been sufficient time and evolutionary pressure for us to manage the radical changes we have made to our diet, movement patterns, stress responses and living environments in the last few hundred years.

It is sad that in the Western world we are made to sit at desks from the moment our schooling years begin. The scientific research supporting just how important movement is for children’s development alone is astounding. I believe it is the lack of movement that causes humans to age far too quickly and lose their gross and fine motor skills. Movement not only gives us confidence, but is also a form of creativity and expression – all of which are being stifled by the fear-based human need to create order and control.

WHY SITTING IS BAD FOR US

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READING YOUR BODY’S POSTURE

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I recently wrote an Instagram post about how being super physically flexible isn’t necessarily always a good thing. In it, I wanted to express how there is an absolute connection and continuity between your physical, mental, emotional, social, spiritual and environmental worlds.

Bringing awareness to our posture or physicality can tell us a lot about our approach to life – the way we respond to stress or threats, what kind of company we keep, how our upbringing was, why we experience certain illnesses, what habits we have, and so on. Thus, decoding and making positive changes to our posture will help optimize our quality of life and ability to thrive.

CUES YOU CAN GLEAN FROM YOUR BODY:

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FIND YOUR VOICE: NECK AND THROAT RELEASE

Most of us know that the way we move and the positions we acquire throughout our days have a direct impact on our overall health. For example, sitting for a duration of time on a regular basis will tighten your feet, legs and spine, slow down your digestion, increase your desire for sugar and create hypertension. But what about the emotional triggers, or the stored unresolved emotions that impact negatively upon posture? Feeling low after someone has put you down or remembering a sad time results in lowered eyes, drooped shoulders, closed chest (protecting the heart), decreased production of serotonin and oxytocin; feeling under pressure to meet a deadline or feeling scared causes the chin to jut forward,  the jaw to tense,  shoulders to rise, breath to shorten, adrenaline to race… all bringing you into a state of stress and heightened awareness.

Whether we are feeling these negative emotions right now, whether our body hasn’t released them from the past, or whether they are anticipating a future event, it is important that we become aware of our postural holding patterns and help unravel them. Doing this will not only bring structural benefits, but will also help release old emotional patterns that may be holding you back.

Below I have outlined some physical and emotional imbalances that are connected with tension in the neck and throat and below that I have outlined a few stretches that will help restore balance to the body and mind.

Physical ailments that are intrinsically connected to tension in the neck and throat:

  • chronic sore throat and other throat issues
  • thyroid imbalances
  • TMJ / jaw tension / teeth grinding
  • tension headaches
  • anxiety
  • carpal tunnel / tennis elbow

Emotional imbalances that are intrinsically connected to tension in the neck and throat:

  • our ability to speak our mind / truth and be heard
  • our ability to make decisions easily
  • our ability to feel confident in ourselves
  • our ability to restore our will power

STRETCH 1

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AIM: To release the tissues from the side of the neck to the top of the shoulder

CUES: Sit tall. Drop shoulders away from ears. Draw belly in. Press hand into the floor. Keep equal weight on both bum bones

REPS: Breathe and release into the stretch for no more than 30 seconds then repeat to the other side. Repeat tighter side

STRETCH 2

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AIM: To release the middle of the neck and tissues that run from the shoulder blade to the base of the skull

CUES: Sit tall. Gently squeeze shoulder blades towards each other. Draw belly in. Press hand into the floor. Gently lift head up and over to look at the opposite hip. Keep equal weight on both bum bones

REPS: Breathe and release into the stretch for no more than 30 seconds then repeat to the other side. Repeat tighter side

STRETCH 3

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AIM: To open the chest, front of neck, shoulders and arms. To compress/restrict the fluid flow between the shoulder blades so that when the position is released, the spine and skull is flushed with fresh fluid that replenishes the cells and carries away debris.

CUES: Sit tall. Squeeze shoulder blades together (and palms if possible!), reach arms away from your body. Circle the head.

REPS: Circle the head 3 times in one direction then repeat to the other side. Release and repeat twice more.

STRETCH 4

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AIM: To release and unwind the nerves that run down the arm from the neck

CUES: Sit tall. Gently squeeze shoulder blades towards each other. Draw belly in. Flex the wrist of the lengthened arm and gently turn the arm in and out.

REPS: Breathe and release into the stretch for no more than 30 seconds then repeat to the other side. Repeat tighter side

Repeat as above but with both arms outstretched – this is quite intense so only attempt it if you can safely breathe and release into it