We can exercise, which I highly recommend, but it’s hard for one hour a day of exercise to unravel eight hours in a chair. Even if your day isn’t spent in a chair, however you spend most of your time will start to be reflected in your body. In addition to making specific time to move every day, considering your body in space throughout the day can help you feel better in your own skin. Check in at different moments. If your back hurts when you are doing something is there a simple change you can make to relieve the pain? If you neck hurts can you make a subtle adjustment? Exercise yes. But make movement and noticing your body during simple movement the exercise of life.
Try to notice your body in the following scenarios:
When you brush your teeth, do your shoulders crunch up to your ears?
While washing dishes does your pelvis bump up against the sink?
When you bend over to scrunch your hair, do you tuck your tailbone?
When you go to bed at night, are you fully relaxed or are you holding tension?
The next time you stand in line, what muscles do you feel working? Any? A ton? What happens if you relax them? What happens if you play with shifting your weight into different parts of your feet?
We often create tension in the body when there is no need—the shoulder shrug while brushing your teeth scenario. There are lots of times I catch my shoulders up to my ears for no reason. I don’t have any pain from that, but when I relax them, I always feel better. And overtime I might create pain where I don’t need to.
In the picture of me washing dishes, it may be hard to see, but in the top image there is a gap between the sink and my pelvis. On the bottom, my pelvis is right up against the sink. Notice how tight my butt is. (I don’t mean just check out how great my behind is. We are just looking muscularly here with no judgement of the quality of my arse, because, actually, it doesn’t look better.) It seems like a relaxed position because the sink is supporting my weight, but my butt is very engaged just for me to exist in space. Also notice how rounded my mid-back is in the bottom picture. Shoving my pelvis forward changes my entire spine…and not for the better.
I’m not prone to back pain, but I started to be aware of my back when I was drying my hair in the morning. And then I noticed the position of my spine—tailbone tucked under. That’s not an innately bad position, but we tend to spend a lot of time with the back rounded. I unwound my spine to neutral (sticking the tailbone out) and felt relief. Perhaps if I was always neutral the opposite would feel better. Experiment in your body. Notice what you feel and try to adjust for more comfort. If you can’t find comfort in basic, daily activities, everything you do will feel more challenging.
Every single move we do is an opportunity to learn about our body and experiment with where we are in space.
When we exercise we should also be noticing? Does something hurt? Are we connected with our abs? Here are some fun and challenging core exercises. If you try them, move cautiously. Stop and check in. If you feel pain in the back, stop, adjust. See if you can engage your abs more to bring the work out of your back. Notice what you feel in life, in movement, and in your exercise routine.
What moments do you notice poor posture, a shoulder shrug, or a pelvis press forward, or something else you try to adjust? I’d love to hear.