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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Body Literacy: The Sound of Your Heart

Body Literacy: The Sound of Your Heart

Not long ago Katy Fox, an artist and yoga instructor in San Francisco, contacted me because she had found The New Rules of Posture useful in her work. She also wanted to share her own vision with me. Katy has a huge vision–nothing less than the re-embodiment of our culture.Sensibly, she’s starting small. The week following our conversation she launched her first embodied public space: Soundscape of the Human Heart. She was pretty jazzed about this when we spoke…

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Healing Posture in the Real World

Healing Posture in the Real World

Walking through a natural setting, among trees and rocks, accompanied by wind sounds and bird cries, your body feels and moves differently than it does when you walk through an environment of glass, steel and straight lines, like an airport.  Your emotional state, the rhythm of your gait, your sense of yourself — it’s as if your bodymind airportmirrors the terrain — the varying textures and spaces of nature, or the hard, flat surfaces of the man-made world.  Your perceptions shape your posture and steer your movements…

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Heal Your Posture at Tax Time

Heal Your Posture at Tax Time

I love my accountant.  The walls of his office display a 40-year collection of IRS cartoons, and he does everything he can to keep our yearly meeting light.  But there’s nothing like an hour’s contemplation of tax code intricacies to make your head spin and put kinks in your center line.  Money, when you have to part with it, compresses the body.  Which is how I walked out of the office…

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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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Low Back Pain and Substance Abuse

Low Back Pain and Substance Abuse

A year ago I posted a piece about the relationship between joint pain and digestive abuse–an after-effect of  holiday cheer.  You’d think I’d learn, but guess what?  This year I’m fessing up again, with a different twist. Beginning in December I experienced pain in my right hip, with radiating pain down my right leg and into my knee and low back stiffness. This was demoralizing because I’d been low back pain-free for three years, ever since becoming sincere about tending to my deep core strength. The pain was weirdly intermittent. A good Pilates class seemed to chase it away, but in a few  days, back it came…

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Helical Spine Stretch

Helical Spine Stretch

The attached video is a holiday gift to my subscribers—a de-stressor practice.  But it actually has a further purpose. When we walk, our spines are designed to move in two counter-rotating helical patterns.  This movement is the basis of our contralateral walking gait; it’s why our arms and legs swing oppositely when we walk…

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Posture As A Practice

Posture As A Practice

If you read between the lines, you probably sense that under the banner of “The New Rules of Posture,” I’m actually sharing a somatic practice–a physical path to self-knowledge.  Here’s what I wrote in The New Rules: to improve your posture you need to 1) “create new sense memories for what feels balanced and stable…” and 2) view “your posture as an ongoing perceptual process by which you orient yourself to gravity and to your relationship with the people, objects and events in your world.” Not something you do once and forget about.  It’s a practice

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More About Fascia

More About Fascia

Here’s an amazingly well-produced television story about the latest research on fascia.  Robert Schleip is in it and Rolfing is well represented.  The graphics are incredible–you really get a sense of the fascia living inside you and a sense of awe for its role in your life.  The video is in German, but the subtitles are clear…

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Holiday Posture and the Habit of Stress

Holiday Posture and the Habit of Stress

Here are two great suggestions for your holiday shopping:  first, The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg.  This clear and interesting read applies the insights of neuroscience to the mundane matter of changing our habits.  Our brains are plastic—bodies too!—so why not use that plasticity to our advantage? Duhigg says a habit is composed of a cue, a routine, and a reward. It only takes a little self-examination and some perseverance to unpack these parts and make a change. The other suggestion, of course, is my DVD, Heal Your Posture, and my New Rules book, which tell and show you how to change your brain’s postural mapping of your body…

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