Pilates and posture, part two

watchdogIn addition to maintaining the three natural curves of the spine, head placement is important for ideal posture. Because we as a population spend most of our time leaning over a desk, driving or propped up on pillows in bed watching TV, a common postural flaw in this country is forward head posture.

Ideally, the head is centered over the body with the ear lobe aligned with the midpoint of the shoulder (and the shoulders should not be rounded forward, but more on that tomorrow!) But most of us look down when we walk, read a book, write, use the computer, cook, etc., so our heavy heads pull us out of ideal alignment. Soon, the forward head posture feels normal and if we align our heads over our shoulders, we feel like we will fall backwards!

Here’s a good exercise to try: assume the “all 4″s” position and feel how gravity wants to pull your head closer to the ground. Don’t let that happen! Think of pulling the backs of your ears up towards the ceiling to bring your head in line with your spine. Do NOT think of jamming the chin into the chest as this usually creates tension and poor alignment.

Remember, your head weighs about 12 to 15 pounds, and every inch it sits forward of ideal alignment on top of the shoulder means another ten pounds of weight is added to your head from your body’s perspective. This can lead to muscle strains in the upper back, a rounding of the upper spine and cause neck and shoulder tension as well.

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April 21, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Pilates on Fifth Postings, Pilates Posts, The Pilates Center of New York Postings, UltimatePilatesWorkouts.com Postings.

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