If you read our newsletter, you will probably know that I moved house recently.
I had to giggle. We had lots of help from friends and family, and they kept telling me to be careful because I was lifting such heavy stuff.
It was sweet, but misguided. I’m pretty strong. I can lift heavy things - my main limitation is that I am fairly short and don’t have long arms, so I can’t carry mattresses and the like because my little noodles don't reach that far around.
I am way stronger than I was ten years ago at 29, and at 29 I was much stronger than I’d been at 19. Perhaps when I’m 49 I will be stronger still. I’m hoping at least to maintain what I have!
Here are some things I do every day that have helped me improve my alignment and therefore get strong - so much of strength is about effectively transmitting mass through our skeletons and that happens best when they are nicely lined up.
Funnily enough, when our skeletons are nicely lined up, we also avoid a host of problems: bones mass deterioration, osteoarthritis, pain. PAIN. Who needs that?
You can practice good alignment in daily life, not just at yoga. In fact, you should!
1. Stand - and walk - with your feet pointing forwards so that you can take proper advantage of the pathway of weight in your feet which travels from the front of your heel, to the baby toe side of your foot, to finally pushing off for your next step from your big toe.
2. Work on lateral hip strength by getting your hips back over your ankles (not forward over your arches or toes), relaxing your quadriceps, and gently turning your thighbones out to the sides. Here's a great video Karen made to show you the difference between tense and relaxed quads. Can you do this? I dare ya!
Another great way to work on lateral hip strength is this standing balance ( do it without locking your knees or tensing your quads. You might not be able to get away with doing this one at the supermarket, but you COULD do it while brushing your teeth!
3. Practice standing in plumb line. What that means is: get your butt back. You want your hip bones (ASIS for anatomy nerds) over your knees and your knees over your ankles, NOT over your mid or forefoot! Try to bring your sternum, at the top of your chest, to 90 degrees with the ground. I'm not quite there in the pic below, but ALMOST!
4. Ramp your chin backwards like you are trying to make a double chin. It'll help you learn to hold your head balanced on top of your spine instead of always jutting your chin forward. And practice external rotation - turn your armbones out to the sides to bring your shoulderbaldes comfortably away from you ears.
Oh, what, you noticed I was just teaching you Mountain Pose? Well picked! It's true. A good mountain pose isn't just the foundation for yoga practice, but also how you move in the rest of your life. And since this month is all about starting how you want to continue, seems sensible to practice a lot of good mountain poses eh?