How to Sit in Your Car

How to Sit in Your Car

Car designers seem to devise seats to support the lowest common denominator of posture, believing that people need soft seats that cradle the derriere, and backrests that ignore the capacity of your spine to support itself.

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Mastectomy, Spatial Perception and Movement

Mastectomy, Spatial Perception and Movement

After explaining these phenomena to my client, I suggested she notice any sense of diminished movement on the affected side. To become more aware of the space around her body she could imagine a sphere—something like a snow globe—and standing within it, notice differences her sense of the qualities of the space on each side.

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Sitting with Pelvis Support

Sitting with Pelvis Support

When you’re feeling self-confident and assertive, there’s an automatic uplift to your chest, spine and neck—your posture automatically organizes itself for the better. But no one feels terrific all the time, right? By teaching yourself the physical sensations that correspond to a good mood, you can use your body-mind connectivity to good advantage. Body awareness helps you cultivate positive outlooks in humdrum situations…

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Posture, Elbows and Consciousness

Posture, Elbows and Consciousness

As a Rolfing® practitioner, I've observed that tension in the elbows affects the whole body. Habitual flexion there, however slight, pulls the upper arm forward in its socket, starting a chain reaction that pulls the shoulder blades forward, and the collarbones and chest down, and the neck forward. Elbow tension often corresponds with flexion in the spine just behind the diaphragm, and that interferes with fullness of breath. The postural end result feels, and certainly looks, nothing like the upper crust ladies of Downton…

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Posture, Perception and Presence

Posture, Perception and Presence

Since I’m not prolific—one every 10 years is all I can manage—it was easy to forget how stressful writing a book can be. I’m organizing the new book in a non-linear way, so I keep reviewing and revising–I want to hold it all in my mind and not repeat myself.  This takes time and patience. Despite my efforts to stay present with the process, I experience surges of fear that I’ll never see the last page…

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Rounded Shoulders and Elbow Tension

Rounded Shoulders and Elbow Tension

I often observe a particular pattern of tension in nurses, mothers, and caregivers in general. It’s a pattern of being ready to help at a moment’s notice. If you have this habit, you’re likely to complain about neck and shoulder discomfort. The source, however, may be lower down in your arms…

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Foot Support for Artistic Expression

Foot Support for Artistic Expression

Finding the sensation of healthy support from his feet made a lovely difference in Eric’s life. In the accompanying video this musician/songwriter shows how his musical expression changes depending on how he lives in his feet.

Your body can move around in the world without your being fully present in it. You may have good body awareness in general but lack presence in specific parts or areas of your body. In the video, Eric speaks about “finding his cuboid.” He’s referring to finding awareness in a specific region of the foot that activates better organization of the entire lower extremity. For more about foot organization, see Know Your Feet, my online workshop.

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Becoming Bone Conscious

Becoming Bone Conscious

I’ve been browsing through a wonderful new book about myofascial efficiency in movement. Born to Walk, by my friend, James Earls, delves into the minutia of joint mechanics and into how they are supported by the soft tissue layers. The book is exhaustively researched and elegantly illustrated. Earls considers the helical motions of the feet and pelvis, legs and spine, and for my money, gets it about as right as right can be. Body workers and somatic educators will do well to study this fine volume…

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Tongue-to-Shoulder Tension Relieved!

Tongue-to-Shoulder Tension Relieved!

I was lying in a backbend, supported by a chair. It had been beastly hot in Los Angeles, and Karin, my yoga teacher, had given our class a number of supported asanas to cool us down. But I was resisting: I had let my yoga practice lapse for a number of months and hadn’t been in that upside down position for a while. My throat felt taut. Trying to find the source of my discomfort, I zeroed in on my tongue. Sure enough, loosening it helped me settle into the posture. But Hyoglossal_musclewhy did my shoulders release so dramatically, just from softening my tongue? The image that came to mind was anatomical…

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A Shoulder Story

A Shoulder Story

Can you see knot at the nexus of my left shoulder and neck? It’s never been especially troublesome, but it has been a long time companion.  Off and on I’m moved to investigate the tension, and my “shoulder journal”  has grown to near novella length. What follows is a recent entry. If I compare the feeling of my left arm with my right, the left one seems shrunken, shorter…

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Spine Decompression Exercise

Spine Decompression Exercise

For some time I’ve wanted to share an alternate version of an exercise in Lesson 7 of Heal Your Posture, my DVD workshop. The exercise on the DVD is similar to the yoga “cat stretch” but with added special imagery. The image is that each vertebra has its own vector, its own potential direction of movement.  For the flexion part of the exercise (the cat), the spinal vectors aim each vertebra into the space behind the body.  Envisioning each vertebra to have its own trajectory and attempting to move them one by one helps decompress the spine…

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Shoulder Pain and Sitar Playing

Shoulder Pain and Sitar Playing

Below is a video I made for one of my Skype coaching clients.  She’s a petite woman who is learning to play the sitar, a difficult and awkward instrument to tune as well as to play. I've been helping her with her sitting position, and with pain in her left shoulder that had become  severe enough for her to seek medical help. The exercise I shared in this video has helped her exchange upper shoulder tension for secure support that links her shoulders to her mid-back.  The video also includes a brief review of abdominal support and pelvic inclination. Many musicians—most anyone who plays a stringed instrument—could benefit from this exploration.  Not to mention non-musicians who simply have a habit of loading stress into the upper shoulder area…

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A Tactile Solution to Shoulder Tension

A Tactile Solution to Shoulder Tension

When you grasp a steering wheel (or anything else) tightly, you’ll feel tension generated from your hands up into your elbows, shoulders, neck and jaw.  There are direct myofascial and neural connective trains between the hands and the head. Such muscle chain engagement delimits your steering movements, dulls your perception of the road, and contributes to your aching shoulders. Notice this woman’s eye and jaw tension as well as her too tightly gripping hands…

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