As 21st century working adults, we spend 8+ hours a day seated at a desk, and then commute to work seated in a car, and then get home, and plop ourselves in the couch. Maybe some days you go to the gym, personal trainer, or yoga, and while you do work on improving your flexibility and strength, much of the work is done undoing the detrimental physical effects of being sedentary. Your shoulder may hurt because you tweaked it. But it all started when your shoulders adopted a forward rounding position because that’s where they hang day in and day out. Our posture follows us around like a shadow. The position you are in right now is the one that you tend to hang in always.
Our yoga can be more than the poses and breathing that happen on the mat. If we all committed ourselves to standing a bit taller and taking more breaks during our day to get away from spending 8 hours in the same position, it would be much easier to further ourselves in our movement practices instead of spending our time fixing our broken bodies; the broken bodies that we have created.
I always joke that we should quit our day jobs so we have more time to do yoga and mobility, but there is some truth to it. While we can’t afford to quit our jobs, we can take steps towards putting our body into a better position ALL DAY instead of just on the mat or in the gym.
Respect your spine (it only houses your brain, NBD)
Take notice of your feet placement as you are walking or standing. Are your feet not in parallel? Then put them there!
Your body was created to last you for 100 years, and right out of the gate, we do our best to break it down. We wear ridiculous footwear, we spend 8+ hours a day sitting (from first grade on!!), and instead of moving our bodies, we stuff them seated into a car to transport us places.
Yes, technology has opened many fantastical doors that would not be available to us otherwise; I would not be able to travel to my different jobs without one, but at the same time, I am outside daily getting exercise.
If we all committed ourselves to making the time to not only use our bodies as they were created, but to respect them for the awe-inspiring miracles of design that they are, our potential would be mind-blowing.
It starts with posture. Respect your spine and all that is attached to it and put your body in the best possible position all day long. Set your self up for biomechanical success by not stuffing integral body parts, such as your feet, into devices of torture, that bypass the evolutionary mechanics that have worked for the people that have come before us. Your body is so amazing that it will adapt to the poor positions you put it in. Your feet will grow bunions because you walk duck footed. You Achilles’ and calf muscles will shorten because your feet are always on an incline (or on a ski jump if you’re in heels). And your spine will begin to degrade because you are constantly hanging off of your meat rather than using your musculature to support it.
Your yoga moves beyond the barriers of the mat into a practice that is every minute of every day. You are constantly aware of your posture and the relationship of your all of your parts to the whole. This awareness then shifts seamlessly on and off of the mat. Your movement practice and postural awareness do not need to be limited to a specific time or place. It can and should be constant!
Age is a function of movement. Go barefoot. Explore nature. Be human. =)