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Glidewalking: Sitting’s Long-Lost Counterpart

August, 2019

 


Mother and son in a tribal Orissan village demonstrating excellent walking form. Notice that their heels remain on the floor well into their stride.

Do you have tight psoas muscles? Do you suspect the cause is too much time spent sitting in your daily life? There’s a complementary activity that helps counterbalance the time we spend sitting: walking — or, more specifically, glidewalking. Glidewalking helps balance our sitting in numerous ways — walking is dynamic versus sitting which is static. Yang balances Yin, viewed in the framework of traditional Chinese medicine. One underappreciated way in which walking can balance sitting pertains to the psoas muscle.

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How to Sit on the Floor, Part 3: Sitting with Legs Outstretched

September, 2019

This is the third post in our multi-part series on floor-sitting. Read Part 1 on floor sitting and Part 2 on squatting!

It’s very common for women in Africa to sit with their legs outstretched. I’ve seen rows of women use this position to spin yarn, engage in idle chatter, sort items, and more. I’ve seen babies massaged by women using this position both in Burkina Faso and in the U.S. by a visiting Indian masseuse who does traditional baby massage in Surat, India. In Samiland I saw this position used to bake bread in a lavoo (a Sami structure very similar to a teepee).

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Your Most Striking Posture Feature: Shoulder Position

October, 2019


The arm and shoulder of this African carpenter align with the back of his torso.

One of the most striking features of good posture is the position of the shoulders. The posture of this African carpenter shows how, with the shoulders well back, the arms align more with the back of the body than the front. The side of the chest and ribcage are clearly visible. Positioning the shoulders well brings you many benefits. It aligns your shoulder joint correctly, avoiding impingement, bursitis, arthritis, tendinitis, and general wear and tear. It improves circulation to your arms, as well as your breathing pattern. Optimal shoulder positioning improves athletic performance: throwing, punching, and swinging a racket or bat are all mechanically advantaged when your shoulders remain “home.” And last but... Read more

When Is It Good to Pull Back Your Shoulders?

October, 2019

This is the second post in our series on shoulder positioning. Read Part 1 here!


Typing with shoulders too far forward.

Often, in industrialized cultures, the shoulders are slumped or held forward. There are so many daily tasks in the modern world that make it all too easy for these bad habits to set in: holding our arms out front for hours with poor shoulder placement while we are typing, gaming, driving, and so on. Over the years this is likely to cause various problems:

  • Impingement, bursitis, wear-and-tear

  • Reduced circulation to the arms 

  • Compromised breathing patterns

  • Reduced athletic

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Opening Your Heart Space

February, 2020


This bronze figure shows an open chest and “heart space;” his shoulders are well back and his ribcage is anchored. He is part of a fountain in Piccadilly Circus, London, sculpted by Sir Alfred Gilbert in 1893. Referred to (erroneously) as “Eros,” the figure is in fact Anteros, Eros’ brother, who represents a more mature, less capricious love. Original image courtesy Gareth Williams under CC BY 2.0.

“Heart space” is a term used in yoga to describe the upper part of the chest where the heart is located. Valentine’s Day is an ideal time to give some special attention to this region, and explore its relation to your posture and wellbeing.... Read more

Cultivating a J-Spine with Chair Pose (Utkatasana)

February, 2020

As a student and teacher of yoga and practitioner of the Gokhale Method, I choose yoga poses that make good use of my time. “Chair pose” is well worth the time investment. In fact, it has become one of my favorite strength-building postures. It is useful for cultivating a J-shaped spine. It helps increase gluteal tone. It helps to pattern healthy hip movement. It is strengthening for the legs and spinal stabilizers. And, last but not least, it allows a yoga practitioner to smoothly transition between a standing forward fold and mountain pose — without compression of the intervertebral discs.

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My Favorite Exercises for When You Can’t Get to the Gym, Part 2: Toning the Gluteus Medius

July, 2020

Exercise is wonderful not only for keeping us strong and healthy, but also for relieving stress and anxiety. Now that gyms are shut down again here in California, home exercise is even more important than ever before. In today’s installment, we’ll focus on an exercise I’ve devised over the years designed to isolate and strengthen the oft-overlooked gluteus medius. This muscle is almost always underdeveloped in people who’ve been raised in industrialized cultures. But it is an important player in gait, running, and athletics. It also helps with balance and fall-prevention as we move through the world, no matter our age. And it’s “behind” all the peachy, perky behinds out there in the world! Read more

How (and Why) to Keep Your Neck Tall

August, 2020
Neck pain is extremely widespread. It doesn’t help that most ergonomic furniture is not only unhelpful, but even counterproductive (the Herman Miller Aeron chair won the “cool” race in corporate America, and it’s my least favorite of all). We’re also surrounded by people who model poor (usually slumpy) posture with forward head — and whether we know it or not, it’s in our DNA to mimic what’s around. And last, but not least, our lay and medical experts have adopted a particularly counterproductive set of posture guidelines, including “chin up,” “chest out,” “stand up straight,” do crunches, tuck your pelvis — all of which harm the neck among other parts of the body. How can we learn to prevent neck pain? Read more