Hello beautiful friends,
“The body is as young as the spine is flexible.” ~ Ancient Yogic saying.
I hope this finds you well and in great spirits. Loving the heat here. My 'summer babe' is smiling. Continuing the Posture story, today I'd love to talk about the essence of this posture that I aspire to for all of us and then share with you some examples of how you can apply this to your daily life and the exercise that you do. "Karana" is the name I've chosen to describe the posture that I teach and the essence of this posture is right here contained in the name. Karana Posture I was blown away when I discovered the meaning of this Sanskrit word - Karana. It couldn't be more apt in so many ways – obviously containing my name and describing the work that I've spent a lifetime honing.
Karana is to "dance" and "to move in bodily postures that produce an efficient flow of energy".
This dance-like quality, the idea of free, efficient movement has been at the heart of my work around posture for years. Energy - efficiency. Ease and grace. Flow. Lightness of Being. Posture isn't just about alignment. The purpose of developing good posture is that it produces the best quality of movement and a greater sense of aliveness in the body. It will enhance every aspect of your movement in your daily life, walking, yoga, swimming and all your sports. All the six principles underlying Karana Posture contribute to creating a flow -like state and efficiency of movement which enhances the quality of life within you.
Better quality of movement = fewer injuries and greater mobility.
You probably all understand the concept of efficient movement – a job well done with the least effort and strain on the body. So why is this dance-like state so important and what does it look like? Dance and Flow Fluidity and movement is our Nature. The body contains vast amounts of fluid – up to 16 litres of blood and connective tissue gel – and the inner workings of our body are never still. The breath flows endlessly and the nervous system pulses constantly. For example, when you're holding your mug of tea and your biceps muscle is active (along with many others), the entire muscle is not contracting all at once. Neurons fire on and off and muscle fibres take turns to contract and relax over and over again to support this action. Movement is ubiquitous in life and our posture should reflect that. This means that we learn to sit, stand and move with a fluid relationship between our body, gravity and the earth, in a state of dynamic equilibrium.
"We're so used to the notion that posture is a rigid state and so used to holding ourselves against gravity or collapsing into it, that to embody fluid posture we need to regularly remind ourselves to soften and adopt a more bouyant approach." An excerpt from my book - Karana Posture.
Some of the ways that we bring rigidity into our bodies are when we stand on one leg, lock our knees, thrust our pelvis forward and rest into our groins or slump our chest in standing or sitting. Let's Flow
Here's some tips on how to embrace your fluid nature and embody the dance: 1/ FEET: Stand with your feet apart to give your body a good base of support. You require less muscular activity when you do! And unless you're practicing balance poses remember to stand with your feet apart when exercising. The ideal distance apart is the length of one of your feet from your heel to the ball of the big toe. 2/ KNEES: Unlock your knees in standing to create a dynamic state in your lower limbs. See the blog ""The Bees Knees Of Posture Tips." This practice applies to every activity you do except when you're not weight -bearing. Keep your knees soft and responsive as you move. 3/ PELVIS: Let your pelvis oscillate. Imagine your pelvis is like a puppet on strings, supported by the abdominals and the spine. Whether standing or sitting, allow your pelvis to move subtly in space either side of the upright position. Combine this practice with softening your knees. You might also find it helps to think of lowering your tailbone a little in standing to facilitate this oscillating motion because many people have excess tension through the spine and buttocks and less activation of the abdominals and thighs. So rock your pelvis forward and backwards to interrupt the habitual tension of the lower back and buttocks. 4/ BREATH: Let the movement of the breath inspire movement within you especially your spine. Tune into your breath regularly throughout your day and allow your spine to move subtly with the inhale and exhale. Feel your shoulders relax as you exhale and your chin soften down. And let the breath be your primary focus when you're exercising. 5/ STRETCH Finally, I extend to you a challenge. We all have our inner 'nemesis', that movement or pose that we avoid, where we come up against our 'edge' and it's uncomfortable. Me, for example, my nemesis is my hamstrings. I love backbends and will choose them every time over a forward fold. So find an 'edge' that you avoid and DO THAT*! It could be a strengthening pose or a stretch. Opening your edges will foster greater ease and flow in your body. *(with comfortable discomfort as your guide or see me for a professional assessment as to why this area should be so weak or ungiving.) Karana Posture is designed to ensure that you're always in a state of flow, flux or subtle movement.
Embodying Karana Posture will make your exercise easier, help you to feel the benefits more and eventually enable you to do a lot less exercise and still maintain your mobility and vitality effortlessly. That's what I'm working on.... doing as little as possible AND staying supple, strong and vital as I age. Want to join me? I'd love to hear your comments and questions. Remember to dance your way through your day. With love and JOY,