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Thread: Posture tips

  1. #1

    Posture tips

    I found these a few weeks ago and find them useful. I come back to them throughout the day.

    Ryan Lee, MS, CSCS

    Good posture is simply the ability to maintain the normal spinal curves. Further to this, dynamic postural stability is the concept of maintaining a desired alignment (such as the spinal angle) against external forces and loads

    Normal Spinal Curves exist to increase the flexibility of movement, enhance shock-absorbing capacity, and ensure adequate stiffness and stability at each joint.



    Neck/Cervical spine = subtle inward curve

    Mid-back/Thoracic spine = subtle outward curve


    Low back/Lumbar spine= subtle inward curve


    Sacrum(Coccyx) = subtle outward angle

    The first step towards improving your posture is to first become aware of it. Poor posture doesn't happen overnight, it is a function of poor habits in all activities day in and day out.

    To help increase your postural awareness try these simple exercises throughout your day, everyday:

    1 Neck Check - Place your two fingers at the base of your skull. Run the fingers along your cervical spine. Do you feel any divots? If yes, place your fingers back in the divot. Imagine a string tied to the back of your head. This string is being GENTLY lifted to the ceiling, gradually lengthening your neck along the way (your chin will nod in slightly). Stop lengthening as soon as you feel the divot disappear. Hold this position for as long as possible.



    2 Shoulder Check - Many of us carry the stresses of our day in our shoulder area. Where are your shoulders sitting right now? Are they up around your ears? RELAX. Drop the shoulders down, away from your ears. Hold this position for as long as you can as you go about your way. Recheck often.


    3 Breastbone Check - To bring your shoulders in line with your ears try this simple posture cue. Instead of shrugging your shoulders back in the classic military pose, simply lift your breastbone slightly & gently to the sky or ceiling. This will open up your chest, drop your shoulders back and gently improve your alignment. Hold for as long as you can. Recheck often.


    4 Abdominal Tuck - To help begin increasing your core stability protect your lumbar spine, consciously engage your core muscles (transverse abs and anterior pelvic floor in particular). This can be done by gradually and gently drawing your lower abdomen in toward your spine/pelvis. Place your fingers on the front points of your hips. Inhale wide into your ribcage & back (think of flaring both).



    These simple posture cues, if practiced daily, will not only help improve your posture to positively impact your golf swing but for all your activities be they work, home or play. However, practicing these cues are not enough. In order to have great dynamic postural stability you need to train the muscles that act as the support wires for the spine.
    W

  2. #2

    Re: Some posture tips

    Plus '6-PACK ABS' !

    Thanks Will. I will have to give it a try!

    Gassho, J

  3. #3

    Re: Some posture tips

    Plus '6-PACK ABS' !
    Nope. For those your going to have to work a bit harder and lay off the cheese cake and M n M's

    Gassho

  4. #4

    Re: Some posture tips

    Hi Will,

    I think the tips are good but come at it slightly from the wrong angle, or may be I'm reading them wrong. It gives the impression that you have to force yourself into these positions, i.e. find them and hold them using muscle tension.

    From what I'm aware, and what I try to do is to relax into them , as in alexander technique. Relaxing the muscles that are inappropriatly tense and allowing the body to re-align. May be a subtle difference, I don't know?

    In gassho, and the hope of a good posture one day, Kev

  5. #5

    Re: Some posture tips

    From what I'm aware, and what I try to do is to relax into them , as in alexander technique. Relaxing the muscles that are inappropriatly tense and allowing the body to re-align. May be a subtle difference, I don't know?
    It's pretty much the same. Your just aligning your spine in the appropriate position not tensing.

    W

  6. #6
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    Re: Some posture tips

    Hi everybody,

    Thank you for the tips...But, my very limited experience and a bit of Alexander Technique over the few last years tell me that:
    a)There is no appropriate posture ( always changing, always moving), so nothing can be fixed or frozen.
    b) What we think is right is not right. Correcting, manipulating, fabricating is not our way. In my very clumsy understanding it is allowing a very spontaneous and lively process. Verticality is not achieved by will, you then shorten the spine, but by relinquishing views about what is right.
    c) You will never get a good posture. And the good posture of a handicaped person, a hunchback or Buddha knows what is far from any idealistic or materialistic picture. No body building or carving a perfect fleshy Buddha will do. What will do is not doing. And I cannot speak about that.
    d) Find a good Alexander Teacher and give it a try. You may then experience what I am trying to put into words.

    Gassho

    Taigu

  7. #7

    Re: deleted

    Man. You guys are all about the looks aren't you.


    I found it helpful. I've been working with posture for over 6 years.

    There is no appropriate posture ( always changing, always moving), so nothing can be fixed or frozen.
    From post: Further to this, dynamic postural stability is the concept of maintaining a desired alignment (such as the spinal angle) against external forces and loads
    Yes. Of course. However, if you have the habit of slouching all day this is neither good for your body or your mind.

    Verticality is not achieved by will, you then shorten the spine, but by relinquishing views about what is right.
    Ok. If one arches their back without being aware of it(because of habit), then that can cause lower back problems.

    Shorten spine? This is putting the spine in a natural position. It becomes a habit.

    And the good posture of a handicaped person, a hunchback or Buddha knows what is far from any idealistic or materialistic picture.
    Yes. but my post wasn't for people with disabilities. That's what their doctor is for.

    No body building or carving a perfect fleshy Buddha will do. What will do is not doing. And I cannot speak about that.
    Taigu. There's nothing wrong with being healthy, just as there's nothing wrong with being ill. I guess I should have left pictures out of the post.

    Gassho

  8. #8

    Re: deleted

    Why deleted Will? Seemed a fair subject to post on. The pictures are useful.

    In gassho, Kev

  9. #9

    Re: deleted

    Sorry Kev.

    W

  10. #10

  11. #11

  12. #12
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: Posture tips

    What causes a painful neck and shoulders? Specifically, the muscles around my neck/jaw hurt (Sterno-mastoid).

  13. #13

    Re: Posture tips

    Hi Chet. I really couldn't say. It could be related to a bunch of things depending on where it's tense. I found that the correct posture has help quite a bit with that (I have tension usually around the temples, jaw, and shoulder). Another factor might be habit. For example: I had a habit of constantly flexing and moving my jaw, and pressing my teeth together, which causes tension in the head and neck. Then there is stressing the eyes etc.

    I would probably work with relaxing the shoulders, realigning the posture, and working with being relaxed and noticing any possible habits throughout the day. If it's not related to any of that, then you should probably get it checked out.

    W

  14. #14
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    Re: Posture tips

    Hi Will,

    Thank you for taking the time to answer my few suggestions. Struggling with pain and discomfort in zazen has been my daily bread for thirty years. Finding the possibility of releasing and allowing through inhibiting bad habits has been a saving grace. Just a thought arising from a very humble experience. This is the work of AlexanderTechnique. I don t think everybody needs it, some people never have physical problems in sitting. But for a crooked and really dysfonctionnal guy like me, it was a complete revolution.
    I met countless teachers correcting me with firm hands and sticks and shouts and...Military Zen, body building applied to posture, wecome to the Zen Marines corps...I met the most incredible rigidity, people being so upright that they look down at everything. Through a bit of this work, I learned about my own body-mind rigidity, I learn to notice it sometimes and wish for its release. The process carries on, there is no end to it, no book that can explain what it is, and meeting with somebody like Jundo is a clear expression of the same process. As a Zen teacher, I have no students, and I am nobody to tell anybody what to do. Just point to a direction. I hope you find your way. And please, remember, crooked, physically disabled or handicapped people need more than doctors. How do they sit? Good koan for me and you.

    Take care

    Gassho


    Taigu

  15. #15

    Re: Posture tips

    Hi Taigu,

    We all have our reason for saying what we say

    I can't really doubt the Alexandar technique, I only know a bit about it. But I would agree that we do need to be more aware of the body habits and not force it into any unnatural postion. The post wasn't meant to be that way. It is meant to be helpful. Perhaps you missed the parts where it said:


    -To help increase your postural awareness

    -This string is being GENTLY lifted to the ceiling

    -Many of us carry the stresses of our day in our shoulder area. Where are your shoulders sitting right now? Are they up around your ears? RELAX.

    - Instead of shrugging your shoulders back in the classic military pose, simply lift your breastbone slightly & gently

    - This can be done by gradually and gently drawing your lower abdomen in toward your spine/pelvis
    Did you only look at the pictures?

    And please, remember, crooked, physically disabled or handicapped people need more than doctors. How do they sit? Good koan for me and you.
    Yes Taigu, but I am not qualified in anyway to give any advice on that subject. That is a case by case scenario. I am aware of different positions that people with disabilities can use; however, like I said my post was not for that. Shall we disregard any posture material what so ever? Including the Lotus, Half lotus, and Burmese because not everyone can do them?

    Gassho

    Will

  16. #16

    Re: Posture tips

    ... please relax, calm, find natural balance ... in the posture of both body and mind (not two).

    Do not argue about peace and balance.

    Gassho, Jundo

  17. #17

    Re: Posture tips

    Who's arguing Jundo?

    Do not argue about peace and balance.
    I agree.

    Gassho

  18. #18

    Re: Posture tips

    I would in future keep any such post to myself; however, I found it useful and thought perhaps someone else would as well.

    As far as misunderstandings go, that is between the two people having the discussion. I understand you are the Chief and doing your job, but it doesn't mean that people are not capable of speaking with each other without conflict. Where is the understanding if you cut it short?

    Gassho and thank you for your reminder

    Will

  19. #19

    Re: Posture tips

    Hi Guys,

    Discussion is more than welcome ... just keep it civil and polite, avoid the jabs and snide remarks. However, within that context, and while bowing to each other (not two), make the same points you want to make.

    Also, we should never forget ever the basic silliness of trying to talk about silence with words. Better to just stay silent sometimes.

    Gassho, Jundo

  20. #20

    Re: Posture tips

    just keep it civil and polite, avoid the jabs and snide remarks
    Can you give me an example of this?

    Also, we should never forget ever the basic silliness of trying to talk about silence with words. Better to just stay silent sometimes.
    Yes. but the post wasn't about silence. It was about balance and health, which can lead to silence of course. If one person has a view that this is this way, and it is not, then why wouldn't someone correct them or explain that it is not?

    Gassho

    W

  21. #21

    Re: Posture tips

    I can see what can be taken a snide remark from the post yesterday. I will in the future refrain from such remarks if in the future people refrain from commenting on personal appearance and lifestyle in a childish manner.

    Gassho

  22. #22
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    Re: Posture tips

    Hi will.

    Longdog pointed out a subtle difference. So did I. Namely: allowing is not doing. Even if you add adverbs like "gently", it is still a form of doing. I don t think we should drop our sitting procedures but I certainly think we could let go of our attachment to beliefs and fixation, including the "being right" sickness which is also my number one problem. Any angry speech in my experience arises from the " I am right-they are wrong" territory. I agree with Jundo and if my words have been unfair or a bit bitter to anybody I apologise. I just wanted to point out an alternative way.
    Be all well and enjoy whatever works for you! :

    gassho

    Taigu

  23. #23
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: Posture tips

    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu
    Hi will.

    Longdog pointed out a subtle difference. So did I. Namely: allowing is not doing. Even if you add adverbs like "gently", it is still a form of doing. I don t think we should drop our sitting procedures but I certainly think we could let go of our attachment to beliefs and fixation, including the "being right" sickness which is also my number one problem. Any angry speech in my experience arises from the " I am right-they are wrong" territory. I agree with Jundo and if my words have been unfair or a bit bitter to anybody I apologise. I just wanted to point out an alternative way.
    Be all well and enjoy whatever works for you! :

    gassho

    Taigu
    And yet, you must address someone when they are wrong about basic aspects of the practice, don't you?

  24. #24

    Re: Posture tips

    Easy Chet.

    Gassho

  25. #25

    Re: Posture tips

    Even if you add adverbs like "gently", it is still a form of doing.I don t think we should drop our sitting procedures but I certainly think we could let go of our attachment to beliefs and fixation, including the "being right" sickness which is also my number one problem.
    Hi Taigu,

    I do agree. However, like playing the piano we first learn the notes and then forget them. It becomes a habit. That's basically what my post was. Just finding your natural balanced posture and making it a habit. No right, no wrong. I found it helpful.

    Although there is nothing to attain, we still take our vitamins. Just not to extremes.

    I think I explained it enough already.

    Gassho

  26. #26
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: Posture tips

    Quote Originally Posted by will
    Easy Chet.

    Gassho
    Does that mean you shouldn't? You should maybe do it softly, but it should still be done, no?

    Chet

  27. #27

    Re: Posture tips

    Does that mean you shouldn't? You should maybe do it softly, but it should still be done, no?
    sorry? I don't understand.

    I was talking about the post to Taigu

    G,W

  28. #28

    Re: Posture tips

    It means take it easy. No need to argue

    Gassho

  29. #29
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    Re: Posture tips

    Hi disastermouse,

    Like you name a lot! I believe in the virtue of addressing people through just being and living rather than pointing out their mistakes. In other words, we could get on with our own stuff. Great teachers like Kobun roshi, Suzuki roshi lived their life as a way to teach, and this was most inspiring to others. Ryokan in a very famous story shed a few tears on the sandals of his naughty relative rather than telling him off and...it worked, the guy completely changed. You may also kindly give a direction. Anyway, the student doesn t follow you but what you follow. I spend my time shedding away tons of beliefs about this and that and to the look of things, the process is endless. This is the best way to help. As one monk who happens to be a GP told me one day: when one of my client is dying and I cannot sleep because of the very thought of his suffering and death, the only thing I can do in the night is to sit.

    About being upright: It can be done but nobody doing it. There is a way to sit upright without doing it. The right thing does itself. But I don't want to go into a Alexander Technique view versus a more traditionnal view. I would recommand you to explore what works for you.

    gassho

    Taigu

  30. #30
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: Posture tips

    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu
    Hi disastermouse,

    Like you name a lot! I believe in the virtue of addressing people through just being and living rather than pointing out their mistakes. In other words, we could get on with our own stuff. Great teachers like Kobun roshi, Suzuki roshi lived their life as a way to teach, and this was most inspiring to others. Ryokan in a very famous story shed a few tears on the sandals of his naughty relative rather than telling him off and...it worked, the guy completely changed. You may also kindly give a direction. Anyway, the student doesn t follow you but what you follow. I spend my time shedding away tons of beliefs about this and that and to the look of things, the process is endless. This is the best way to help. As one monk who happens to be a GP told me one day: when one of my client is dying and I cannot sleep because of the very thought of his suffering and death, the only thing I can do in the night is to sit.

    About being upright: It can be done but nobody doing it. There is a way to sit upright without doing it. The right thing does itself. But I don't want to go into a Alexander Technique view versus a more traditionnal view. I would recommand you to explore what works for you.

    gassho

    Taigu
    If no one corrects wrong views, wrong views will permeate the practice. I'm not talking so much about morality as I'm talking about propagating an incorrect way and calling it 'Zen'.

  31. #31

    Re: Posture tips

    Quote Originally Posted by will
    I would in future keep any such post to myself; however, I found it useful and thought perhaps someone else would as well.
    Will , I think they are useful, 175 views means that it's something that others are interested in even if they don't post. It is relevant to our practise, hard for mind and body to drop away if you're in pain. Posture and discomfort while sitting is a big problem for lots of us, especially in the early days.

    I know Mike Cross has said alot of truely awful things but I do feel that some of what he says about Alexander technique is useful to sitting and posture. I'd be happy to hear more about it if it helped me sit.

    It is a discussion forum for the sanga after all, we just need to avoid being 'spikey'.

    Anyway it certainly beats that case of dengue fever you were spreading around before :wink: Now fully recovered :lol:

    In gassho, Kev

  32. #32

    Re: Posture tips

    It is a discussion forum for the sanga after all, we just need to avoid being 'spikey'.
    Hi Kev. Absolutely.

    I know Mike Cross has said alot of truely awful things but I do feel that some of what he says about Alexander technique is useful to sitting and posture. I'd be happy to hear more about it if it helped me sit.
    The Alexander technique seems to be the same ( I watch a couple of video and read some material) the only difference (I think) is that we are not aware of a lot of the tension we hold in the body. Zazen is good for recognizing that as well if done with a relax, but natural posture. I think it pretty much comes to the same point eventually.

    Unfortunately for Alexander technique a teacher is the preferred method. I believe they have some books about it. I agree that it would be a great thing for someone who is just beginning Zazen and maybe some other people.

    I've been dealing with noticing where I hold tension in my body for a while now, so the article about correct posture just brought it up a step. As soon as I found myself in correct posture, it was a rejuvinating experience. It felt right, natural and more clear.


    Gassho

  33. #33
    Treeleaf Unsui rculver's Avatar
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    Re: Posture tips

    Thanks Will et al,

    I have really horrible posture. I'm working on it. Your posts have been helpful.

    Ron

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