posture advice

Ste H
Ste H's picture
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6 days 18 hours ago
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11/22/2016 - 2:06pm
posture advice

Hi everyone.
I have had the 8 steps book for a while, I struggle to 'feel' everything the way I should but I am hopefully booking in to see a teacher for a 1 to 1 shortly ( unfortunately none are local to me so it's difficult ) 
Until then I wondered if I could get some feedback on my 'very poor' posture.

Here is a video I just recorded - https://youtu.be/CzdbBRBLA5A

You can see I try to -
-bend my knees and bring my pelvic back a bit ( I usually lock my knees out ) 
- anchor the ribs down
-bring the shoulders back
- bring my head / neck back.
- then for a few seconds at the end you can see me relax back into my bad posture

You can probably see how unnatural and forced it looks. I realise I am probably doing things very wrong, but that's why I wanted some feedback.
The hardest thing for me is, I can put my head into a good position as well as my shoulders but only by allowing my ribs to flare a lot ( I have a slight bit of pectus so I am wondering if that plays a role? I have asked in the other forum section how Pectus can effect the gokhale method, but it's only very minor )

If I try and 'anchor' my ribs, I feel like I can do it ( i only do it very slight / subtle in the video ) but it really causes my head and shoulders to go forward, I cannot get the ribs / head / shoulder to work together, putting one in a right position forces the others into very forced and poor position.

Also when I pull my shoulders back, it feels a bit forced and you can probably see that my hands almost hang out infront of me and look silly.

Any help or anything you can notice and point out would be extremely helpful to give me something to work towards until I can go see my nearest Gokhale teacher.
I want to progress but I am not sure how or what it is I am doing wrong.

Thank you so much in advance

Sheelagh's picture
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11/27/2011 - 10:29am

Thanks for the question and the video.  There are a couple of things I'd like to see you do while you are waiting to have an initial consultation with a teacher.  When standing the feet are really the foundation. I'm not sure if you have tried to kidney bean your feet. It is also really important to get your weight mostly on your heels.  If your weight starts to go forward onto your toes it throws everything off.  Try a bit of an athletic ready stance- and then straighten out of it a bit -weight on the heels (with your feet kidney beaned), some softness in the knees and groin.  I think you would benefit from using the inner corset in your standing, shoulder roll one at a time and use your hands to lift and guide your head- this way it will help your neck lengthen.  I didn't see the length happen in your neck that I would like to.  You can either lift at the back of your skull using the boney shelf behind your ears, grasp some hair at the top of you head and lift gently or imagine a weight on top of your head that you are pushing up against.  Give those a try and let us know how you get on.  Don't be afraid to request a course in your area.  If we know there is interest we do make an effort to come out to underserved areas and it is even better if there is someone local drumming up interest and sleuthing out spots that can accomodate a class.  Good Luck!

Clare Chapman's picture
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08/20/2010 - 8:19pm

Hi Stephen,

I admire your diligence in working with the Method, and I would endorse everything that Sheelagh has suggested - thanks for that speedy response, Sheelagh!

Developing a switched on Inner Corset which supports right through the spine up into the neck takes time - and often teacher guidance and demonstration are very helpful here. In the meanwhile, see if you can visualise and work your inner corset from low in the belly upward in the direction of the crown of your head. In the beginning it is usually quite an effort to wake up a sleepy set of deep spinal muscles, but you are aiming for something that will be happy to work on a 'low' setting for most of the time eventually, rather than alternating between extra effort and then slump - as in the end of your video. 

Regarding your shoulder rolls, add a little external rotation through your arm as you do them, i.e., allowing your thumbs and hand to turn slightly out. (Your elbows will come in a little towards your waist.) Hands hanging with knuckles forward will tend to pull the shoulders forward again.

In your video you position your head back by markedly lifting your chin up first. This is a counter-productive move as it super-contracts the back of the neck and trains you in the opposite action from what you want here. Instead, pause, relax the muscles around your neck as much as you can and, keeping the chin down, slowly reverse the back of your head upward and back - as if parking smoothly into a skull cap. You can use your hands to guide you as Sheelagh suggests.

 

 

Ste H
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6 days 18 hours ago
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11/22/2016 - 2:06pm

Thank you both for the reply.

I definitely have trouble knowing if I have the inner corset movement right, I have always had what I would describe as a 'big gut' even when very low body fat, so I have always practiced vacuum type exercises / sucking in the stomach which I can do extremely well to work the TA. However I think I read a post by Esther recently which mentioned that sucking in exercises like this actually contract the rectus abdomin as well, so I presume it would be better to stop doing these now?
Anyway, since my physio pointed out I have pectus excavatum to a mild degree, I realised that could be why I have a big stomach - because my lower ribs flare out a little bit.

Do either of you have any experience with people having a bit of pectus excavatum (dip in the chest) as I am curios as to how it will effect some of these exercises and whether that is actually the reason I cannot achieve the rib anchor properly or not.

I feel like I can actually put my head into a good position ( as you mentioned, in the video I started with the chin in a very bad way, I don't usually do that, so that was just a mistake on my part ) but my neck posture still looks awful even when the head is in a good position, it's like my ribs are too hunched from the rib anchor, so where the neck comes out /starts from the ribs, it is already coming out 'forward' if that makes sense? so it ends up going forward and then back again to bring the head back, curving almost.

Clare, I just realised you emailed me back the other day ( for some reason my phone didn't notify me of that like it usually does! ) So I will have a read through that now as well.

Thanks again to you both, I appreciate all the help you can provide 

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