Good posture is really important, but…is it more important than breathing? We think not! Breathing trumps all for us humans – it’s more important than water and food, even.
We’ll be looking at breathing, movement, and balance April 6 in my class at Balance Arts in NYC. Go here for more information and to register (keep scrolling to the bottom of the page :-).
I have alot of students who come because they know something is wrong with their breathing, and/or something is not right with their posture – but often they haven’t put those two things together.
The two biggest postural challenges to easy breathing are:
1) OVERLY SLACK/RELAXED POSTURE
This is where you don’t have enough muscle tone in your back, you slump, and your belly is pushed out. Since the primary muscle of respiration, your diaphragm, runs the circumference of the bottom of your rib cage, if your ribcage is squashed down into your belly you will have difficulty breathing. The front of your neck will be pulled down into your ribs, and it will be hard for the air to get through.
2) OVERLY RIGID STIFF POSTURE
If you are trying to lift and widen your back and shoulders to make space for breathing, you may find that this “lift” is a bit disconnected from the rest of your body and is actually really really hard to maintain; furthermore, you may be stiffening your shoulder blades which will mean your ribs can’t move at the top end of their structure and that will also impair your breathing. Your jaw will be pulled in as you lift your chest up, and this will close the airway as well.
SO WHAT’S THE RIGHT POSTURE FOR BREATHING?
The way into breathing, in my Mobilignment system, might surprise you. It starts with spatial awareness & head balance, which contribute to healthy but adaptable postural tone. Postural tone, it turns out, is much more complex and adaptable than “position” because it’s job is to manage your support in the gravitational field, which is a “whole body” activity.
Curious? Watch the video to find out more. It’s about the joy of spatial awareness, specifically regarding the presence of the hyoid bone, a small horseshoe shaped bone that is suspended in tissue in front of your trachea and behind your jaw. It’s a microcosm of your posture – too much tone relative to gravitational necessity in this area, and you can’t breath; not enough tone, and you can’t breath either.
You can have a positive influence on breathing and balance through waking up the spatial awareness of this little bone. Some of you may know more about the muscular anatomy surrounding it than I do – but knowing all that anatomy doesn’t provide the joy and ease that spatial awareness can give you :-).
I’m right in the middle of a fascinating webinar on the Alexander Technique and Science, and am beginning to understand the whole issue of “posture” in a new way. We don’t know for sure, but it’s starting to look like posture and movement may be two different, parallel systems that influence each other but are also independent of one another. The science is super complicated, so until I understand it better I won’t go into detail.
What I wonder is how does spatial awareness contribute to stable posture? And how does the Mobilignment material tap into that system, creating a harmonious, fluid relationship between support, stability, and movement?
All my life I’ve been a dancer interested in movement phenomena – and that puts me in the company of many many dance innovators who are out riding the wave of movement, a little bit ahead of science. Sometimes we are totally off in left field, but sometimes…..we are on to something, and what we know can contribute to the larger conversations around human functioning and well being.
I can only pray that this is the case with me. But if not, it’s pretty fun out here in left field. Come join me.
MOBILIGNMENT LIVE IN NYC: FIRST SATURDAY OF EACH MONTH
Next class: Saturday, April 6, 3:00 – 5:00, at Balance Arts, 151 West 30th Street, 3rd floor, $45
ONLINE WORLDWIDE: LAST SUNDAY OF EACH MONTH
Next class: Sunday, April 28, 11 – 12:30 EST, $35
Go here to watch the growing number of videos on Mobilignment™.
I also give private sessions in person and online. Private lessons available in single, 5, and 10 lesson packages. Go here for prices and more information.