Chest & shoulder openers: physically, emotionally, mentally

Progressively in the Western world, our postures are becoming more and more rounded forward. Business is booming for allied health professionals such as physiotherapists and osteopaths. As we become more sedentary, leaning over desks, bending down to our children or just habitually hunching, our whole skeleton starts to move out of alignment. Even those who maintain a very physically active lifestyle are often unaware of their posture and don’t necessarily care for it while working out. For example cycling promotes forward hunching and running can be very hard on our joints and ligaments.

Many adults spend forty plus years hunching over or leaning to one side without a single warning of pain or discomfort. Then one day, out of the blue, they reach for their seat belt and throw their back out. It’s literally the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Similarly, when starting Yoga, students can very easily start to stir everything up and bring the spinal mis-treatment to the surface. The idea that Yoga causes pain and injury is most often untrue and can simply be that the practice is trying to move the body back to its correct position, having adjusted to misalignment over a long period of time.

There is a large mental and emotional component associated with our posture. Out body language and how we express ourselves can directly impact the way we carry ourselves, our gait and the way we move overall. It is common as humans that when we feel vulnerable, hurt or depressed we roll our shoulders forward, sink our hearts inward, trying to withdraw from the world and protect ourselves, our hearts from further harm. On the contrary when we are happy and relaxed we tend to open up, drop our shoulders and lift our chins. When we are opened and relaxed we are more aware of what is happening around us and more open to receive opportunities. We become more approachable to others and in turn attract others who mirror us.

Our spine is at the centre of our well being. When we have a nice long spine, this distributes out to the rest of our skeleton and vice versa, circulating energy evenly and empowering us. Similarly when we feel happy and content and comfortable with who we are we are relaxed and this can be demonstrated in our posture.