Notice the alignment of this girl's head with
her torso as she hip-hinges to pound her millet
A pain in the neck really can be a pain in the neck! Here are some tips on how to address this annoying problem:
1. Stretch it out.
(a) When you lie on your back, stretch the back of your neck out as you lay your head on the pillow. This way the pillow can help lengthen any tense muscles in your neck.
(b) When you drive, use the headrest to stretch the back of your neck out.
2. Know which way is up.
(a) Grasp a good-sized clump of hair at the base of your skull and gently pull back and up allowing your chin to angle downward in a relaxed way. Read more
German table tennis players Timo Boll and
Christian Suss are laser-focused on the ball
Many people in the US think of ping-pong as a somewhat lackadaisical sport, but it's actually a very active game that requires a great deal of fine motor control, hand-eye coordination, and athleticism. It takes explosive power, in addition to strength and flexibility, to get to the ball in time. In fact, one of the benefits of playing table tennis is that it allows you to develop explosive power - and explosive power is helpful for building bones and strengthening muscles.
Professional table-tennis player Timo Boll, below left, illustrates these truths. His form is superb. Not only are his legs externally rotated, but he's doing a perfect hip-hinge, his shoulders are back and low, and his left wrist is in good alignment. Read more
Expansive, powerful posture is characteristic of both portraits
Because I see poetry in healthy posture and find inspiration in the powerful poems of Emily Dickinson, I will connect some disparate dots and weigh in on the fundamental strengths of the poet's posture, as captured in the 1847 daguerreotype of her at about age 16, just above. Also, because some believe the woman in the patterned dress, below left, to be the poet (see interesting article here) at age 28 or 29, I will comment on her very similar posture, as well.
As an aside, because it makes a compelling case that the woman seated above left could be the reclusive poet, please take a look at this silent 30-second video created with advanced Photoshop layering techniques. Read more
Dancing with the inner corset protects me from spinal wear and tear. It helps stability, powers my movements, and gives me a better workout.
I generally avoid the word “core,” because most people understand it to mean “tuck your pelvis and tighten every abdominal muscle you can find.” This is neither natural nor healthy. Tucking the pelvis compresses the L5-S1 disc in the worst possible direction (pushing the disc contents backwards against the spinal nerve roots), throws off the balance of the entire spine, challenges the hip joints, puts the glutes in a position of mechanical disadvantage (setting you up for a flat or saggy butt) and detracts from your appearance. Read more
Can you sing "Dem Dry Bones"? If you don't know the spiritual by name, I bet you can intone at least some of the lyrics:
…the foot bone's connected to the leg bone, the leg bone's connected to the knee bone, the knee bone's connected to the thigh bone...
Beyond the direct structural connection between the "knee bone," or patella, and the "thigh bone," or femur, is another connection that will be of particular interest to athletes and other individuals afflicted with or susceptible to patellar femoral pain syndrome (PFPS), a disorder often referred to as "runner's knee." And this is the connection between the knee and the gluteus medius, the muscles situated above and toward the outer sides of the much larger gluteus maximus muscles. Read more
For fun and mutual learning, we're launching an interactive blog feature where we invite you to share images of posture (healthy, unhealthy, and everything in between) for us to analyze. By us I mean me, Esther, and my Gokhale Method teaching colleagues.
Periodically, we'll select from all the submissions "best-of" images that offer a rich platform from which we can launch an online conversation. After we've added our two cents to your contribution, we'll publish the photo and commentary here, as a blog post. Read more