5 Ways How Callanetics Can Help You Live a More Vital Live.
Here are five vital principles taught in the Callanetics Exercise Programme, and when applied in daily life, can improve your quality of life greatly:
1. Remember your feet
Our feet are far away from our head and therefore often forgotten. However, good posture starts with the correct alignment of our feet. If our feet are misaligned, the whole body is affected – remember everything is connected to everything else. Knee, hip, back, shoulder and neck problems are often caused by wrong foot position. If the foot rolls inwards, causing fallen arches, a whole series of chain reactions ensues, including injury prone ankles, flat feet, bunions, ‘squinting’ knees, strain in the hip joints, inter-vertebral disc damage, to name but a few of the problems. If the foot rolls too far out from its neutral position, faulty posture develops as well. In a nutshell: it is important to have the weight on the outer heels (not the outer edge, but slightly to the outside from the middle of the heel) and the joint of the big toe has to have good floor contact. That way the heels are upright and straight, the knees will point forward, which in turn aligns the whole leg musculature and prevents the hip joints from being pulled inwards.
2. Good posture for a tension free, upright body
Much pain experienced in daily life is due to bad posture caused by bad habits and lack of consciousness. Sitting or standing with a rounded or over-arched back, rounded shoulders, pushed forward head and chin and a misaligned pelvis contributes to headaches, tight shoulders and back pain. Sitting too long in the same position has been proven to cause a build up of fat around the midriff and in the buttocks and hips. Take yourself through the following basic check-list several times a day, whilst waiting in a queue, talking on the phone, brushing teeth etc:
- Stand with feet hip wide apart, weight on outer heels & joint of big toes.
- Soften the knees (do not bend them, just keep them ready for the next step, not locking them)
- Tighten the pelvic floor and keep the pelvis centred and upright, tail bone lengthening towards the floor.
- Pull the navel in and up towards the sternum, keeping ribs relaxed, lengthening the spine upwards.
- Place shoulders back, down and out – they should be wide and be placed between sternum and spine to ensure freedom of movement in the shoulder joint.
- Lengthen the neck; chin should be at right angles to throat and chest; crown of head and tip of ears pull up towards the sky.
- Relax your jaw, unclench the teeth and let the tongue lie relaxed against the roof of the mouth.
3. Keep breathing
Practising correct breathing can go a long way to reduce pain and stress. Sitting too much causes us to breathe shallowly. The inter-costal muscles don’t work properly limiting oxygen supply. Good breathing cleanses the body, rejuvenates the spirit, improves concentration and mental control and acts as a natural anaesthetic.
Here is a flash exercise you can do anywhere: stop what you are doing; place one or both hands just below the navel. Sit upright on your sitting bones. Relax shoulders and jaw, unclench teeth. Take a deep breath in to a count of 4 and feel the tummy expanding as it fills up with air. Also feel the ribs widening sideways. Hold the breath for a second or two, then very slowly exhale through the mouth to a count of 8, emptying the lungs completely. Do this several times in a row. Repeat periodically throughout the day.
4. Move, move, move
A sedentary life style, bad eating habits, lack of oxygen and pure water make your body sluggish. Whenever you feel tired, try some exercise. There are many exercises that can be adapted for the office, right at your desk. Or go for a brisk walk, even for a few minutes. Take the stairs, never the lift or escalator. Park further away. Sit on a ball in the office and bounce ever so often. Movement and exercise stimulates lymph drainage. A workout in the morning, even 10 minutes, wakes you up and loosens your joints, kick starts circulation and clears your mind; at the end of the day it can do wonders to restore your energy. Even if you don’t feel like it – do it anyway – you will be so glad you did!
5. Become aware
We need to increase energy and decrease stress. Conscious awareness of our day to day movements, personal musco-skeletal education, mind-body focus and introspection go a long way in achieving positive changes in the brain, which has been proven with the help of brain scan images. Value yourself and question and re-address factors influencing your lifestyle.
You can find more details for good posture and correct foot alignment in our Introductory Class DVD, available for download under the Video Download section on this blog soon, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org to purchase a hard copy of the DVD.
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