I’m just gonna go ahead and say it: We in the West have crap posture. You know it’s true. Our stress and how we live our lives is showing – we slouch, we lean, we look down more than up ahead. The bad news is that it’s happening gradually, every day, so slowly that we don’t realize it until we feel it, kinda like the way wrinkles or gray hairs appear. The good news is that regular Thai Yoga sessions are a great way to stop further harm and reverse the effects of what’s already been done.
(Warning: I’m about to geek out on functional movement and anatomy, so I’ll try to keep it as concise as possible since I could go on and on because I LOVE this shit).
I field a lot of questions from clients wondering what things they may have done to cause pain in the neck and upper back. I will ask them about their daily habits – like if they carry a bag and how they carry it, if they sit at a computer or drive a lot, if they read in bed – to get a sense of how they position their bodies throughout the day, trying to locate the source of the pain in much the same way as you’d retrace your steps to find a lost wallet. Most people are surprised to learn how seemingly innocuous habits can cause a domino effect of lasting pain.
If you think about the composition of a machine, you know that it’s made up of individual parts that perform a specific duty, and that all of those parts are put together in order to make the entire thing work. When one of those parts fails, the effects are felt throughout the machine, right? Well, the body is a machine, and when one part is out of whack, the effects are felt along the lines of the entire body.
Now, let me ask you this: Ever lean over to pick something up, or turn your head quickly, and feel your entire neck freeze? Do you then wonder why a simple movement you do hundreds of times a day literally stopped you in your tracks? More likely than not, everything you’d been doing before that, such as carrying a bag on the same shoulder every day or slouching while sitting at a desk, primed your body to seize up when asked to adjust to a seemingly simple movement. If you rarely did anything that strained the body it would be no big deal, but if you’re doing it daily over several years time, then the problems stack up, and that’s when a seemingly innocent yet quick turn of the head sets off a ripple effect of lasting pain that can only be combatted with knowledge and awareness of how we physically position ourselves every day.
“Yeah, okay,” you may be thinking, “so how do I avoid being doomed to a life of stooped shoulders and unrelenting neck pain?”
Let’s start with getting regular Thai Yoga sessions. We don’t know what feels bad in the body until we know what feels good; allowing your body to relax while the energy lines are opened up and the joints are moved helps you distinguish between the two. Once you can put your finger on “this is MUCH better” or “this doesn’t work at all”, that’s when you can make the changes that help keep bad posture from getting worse, and in some cases you can even make it better. Thai Yoga gives you an understanding of how important it is to stretch regularly – that when done every day it can greatly improve your range of motion and flexibility. I always walk my clients through how they’re being negatively affected by their daily movements, and I help them experience what changing the position of their shoulders and neck can do to improve the shape of their spine. And there’s nothing like letting go of tension in order to let someone else stretch you in a way that allows you to experience the freeing sensation of opening the chest and breathing more fully. The effects that Thai Yoga has on the body, brain, and breath cannot be overstated – you will instantly feel better, and you’ll crave more of that good feeling every day.
Bodywork is never a replacement for medical attention, though, so if you feel like seeing a doctor is the first step in your healing process, I would encourage you to follow the course of action that makes you most comfortable. Thai Yoga complements most medical treatments – so long as your doctor knows what you’re doing and doesn’t recommend otherwise – and will help maintain and bolster any positive changes you make to your posture.
Have any questions or want more info on Thai Yoga? Please share in the comments below, or click to book in with me today!
Thanks, as always, for stopping by!