Jean Couch and the Balance Center (where I did my posture training) were featured in the story “Lost Art of Bending Over: How Other Cultures Spare Their Spines” on February 26, 2018. The segment discusses how common, everyday bending posture in industrialized countries is misaligned and dangerous. We tend to bend from the waist, like the image above, and look like “cashews” (we also sit that way!). Instead of curving into that C shape, healthy cultures bend with their spines elongated, looking straight – more like a “table.” That’s because they bend at their hip joints. The author mentioned that [...]
NPR did a brief story on healthy bending and included a bit from their interview with Jean Couch and Jenn Sherer yesterday! https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2018/02/26/587735283/lost-art-of-bending-over-how-other-cultures-spare-their-spines If you practice bending like this, you'll save your spine and lengthen your hamstrings too!
In my last article I talked about Wolff’s Law, which explains how the pressure exerted on a bone stimulates the bone to grow, so it can resist that force in the future. There are 2 ways to stimulate bone growth. One is using the force of gravity (compressive stress), and the other is the way muscles pull on the bones when they are in various positions (tensile stress). Yoga puts the body in a variety of positions that are not on the gravity line, or plumb line. This means the muscles have to work harder. It’s like the difference between [...]
I know a lot of people that have broken bones in the last few years. Most of them are women; some are friends and some are yoga students. Most of them are over 50. While we may worry about losing height due to osteoporosis, breaking a bone is much more serious, since it can require surgery and lead to other complications. Is there a way that we can reduce our chances of osteoporotic fractures? The Stats In the US there are about 55 million people with osteoporosis. About twice as many women as men have osteoporosis. The most commonly fractured [...]
I'll be teaching classes ("Transform Your Posture through Yoga") in the Healthy Living at Your Library series in March, April and May, 2017. You can find the schedule here: https://sonomalibrary.org/events/programs/healthy-living-at-your-library Learn how to improve your posture sitting & standing, and apply this to yoga poses so you don't hurt your back doing yoga.
When I started working for Jean Couch at the Balance Center, she said I had some of the flattest feet she’d ever seen. I was surprised, because I thought my feet were kind of normal. However, I did have knee pain, which is often related to problems with foot alignment. I had a dance injury that caused me so much pain when hiking that sometimes I thought I was going to have to call the park ranger to carry me out on a stretcher! Every step I took was so painful that I couldn’t even carry on a conversation with [...]
I just read an interesting article in Psychology Today about posture: "Straight Up. Don't Be a Slouch." I agree with parts of it, but not all. Here's the link to the article: https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200611/straight-dont-be-slouch Here are some of my thoughts about it: Holding tension at the belly button can lead to excess tension. Be careful with this. Plus you don’t need your abs to support your rib cage. If your spine is in a column, the ribs will have plenty of support. The chest stretch is good. Most of us need stretches like this for the chest/shoulders. Hamstring stretches are very [...]
I just read an article on Shape Magazine’s website called “Hold Up – Is the Barre Tuck Actually Bad for You?” The article talks about the “barre tuck” done in barre fitness classes. I haven’t been to a barre class, but I’ve been to many dance classes before (when I was a Flamenco dancer) where we were told to tuck the pelvis under. It was considered to improve our posture and our dance technique. What I’ve since learned about posture, after studying with Jean Couch of the Balance Center in Palo Alto, is that it actually does neither. I followed [...]
We used to watch this video clip at the Balance Center in Palo Alto, in the Foundations Series. It's a great example of someone in Balance/Spinefulness. James Cagney is bending from his hip joints and his spine looks so straight.
In my last article, I wrote about some of the different styles of yoga that you can choose from, with an emphasis on those who have back pain or want to prevent it. Now I'll cover some other things to think about to make sure you and your back stay safe and healthy. CHOOSING A CLASS If your doctor or physical therapist warned you against yoga, it may be that they are more familiar with the more vigorous styles of yoga (see the Part 1 article), or that they are seeing patients/clients coming in with injuries from yoga. Just because [...]