Sitting at my computer writing this blog I am very conscious of my posture. Do I have my neutral lumbar curve = check, is my thoracic spine in proper alignment = check, do I have my head and shoulders in alignment = check. I run this tape loop in my head at all times. As my own posture has normalized I have found less need to run this loop during my daily activities but the need is always there when I am in an ergonomic environment that my body was not designed for = cars, couches, desks, computer, sending texts on the phone etc… “We are still cavemen, just wearing suits and driving cars!” – Paul Chek Without conscious awareness of your posture it will be almost impossible for any trainer, coach, practitioner, P.T, O.T to get your system to change.
A suggestion I use with my clients = purchase an alarm clock or anything you can set to go off every 15 minutes during the day, each time this alarm goes off it serves as a reminder for you to check your posture and realign yourself (make sure your coach has taught you how to do this, do not try to align your posture based on your ideas of what good posture is, this will usually serve to deepen the issue), try to hold your posture until the alarm goes off again, before you know it your new posture will be the norm and you will no longer feel like a “robot”.
Our current environment (city living) can encourage visual dysfunction. Reduced color variety, changes in depth of field (loss of distance vision), and the increased exposure to close-up working environments such as computer screens, cell phones, tablets, have all contributed to poor posture secondary to visual inadequacy, while at the same time creating a boom in the business of glasses, contact lenses, and corrective eye surgery.
Moving your body can help improve posture, but this needs to be done with awareness of biomechanically sound posture. If you are not into working on “posture” at Ascend Body, cool, other forms of postural training include Tai-chi, Qi-gong, and Yoga, but these must be taught by a very skilled practitioner and it is my belief they should be taught 1 on 1 or very small class with others that have similar postural faults. If taught in this manner not only will you improve your postural awareness, you will also start to harvest your vitality (energy, qi, prana, life force) and begin to let the body truly heal, reduce stress and inflammation.
Our environment is literally polluted = toxic water supplies worldwide, toxic air, toxic soil, electromagnetic pollution, out gassing from industry, homes, automobiles, this literally overwhelms our hormonal and immune system. In fact electromagnetic stress alone has been shown to disrupt cell communication which can lead to many health issues. Posture reflects the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual states of health, again, just a reminder that it will be highly unlikely to get good results helping your clients address any physical issue unless you are taking the entire stress load on the body into consideration.
www.chekinstitute.com “10 Tips for Healthy Ergonomics” – Paul Chek
We want to see you succeed with your fitness goals, and in order to do so, we hope you’ll avoid the following ten mistakes.
- Skipping breakfast or eating a high-carb breakfast like cereal, a bagel, juice, and coffee.
- Eating lowfat or non-fat foods — they replace the fat with more sugar.
- Starting a diet, as opposed to implementing a new lifestyle change.
- Doing cardio lasting more than 25 minutes at a time, if the goal is weight loss.
- Consuming flavored waters and/ or sports drinks in place of regular water. Consume 1/2 your body weight in ounces of quality water per day
- Starting a workout with abdominal exercises. These are best done at the end of a workout.
- Weighing in every day. Ditch the scale. Instead, Use body fat measurement to measure your success and focus on how your clothes fit differently and how your mood and physical appearance changes.
- Doing exercises with poor form. This can cause injury to musculoskeletal system and possible vertebrae disc damage, too.
- Working out aggressively when your body is tired. This will only add more stress to your already over-taxed system. Instead, use “working-in” and core strengthening exercises.
- Consuming more protein to build more muscle. You only need about 70 to 120 grams max, and that’s for those in regular resistance training. Mix up your protein sources between plant and animal based sources.
Readers, which of these mistakes have you made — and do you plan to avoid repeating them?
Posture is quite an important topic, it is however much more complicated than we are lead to believe. A great starting point to address posture is looking at it mechanically by performing an in depth assessment, then prescribing specific corrective stretches, mobilizations, and exercises to address any imbalance or dysfunction in the body.
Why is this merely a starting point? I believe human beings are much more than muscles, tendons, joints, organs, glands and skeletal structure. When we walk into the doors of ASCEND BODY how many of us truly leave behind our emotional, mental, and or spiritual stressors?
Is it a possibility that these stressors can have a significant impact on the effectiveness of our workout programs? I believe it is a possibility.
Over the next few months I will discuss the CHEK approach to posture. We will look into the importance of postural alignment, different forces at work which create certain postures, and possible unseen forces that influence posture.
These blogs are not to say that the CHEK approach is best or that there are no other ways to address these issues. This will simply be a sharing of what I have learned over the past twelve years studying myself.
CHEK 4 HLC 3
Dalton and I were interviewed by Polina Smith of My Whole Body about the Ascend philosophy and what we’re about.
In everyday life, we perform very natural movement patterns…that is, unless you’re just lying on the couch all day. Our 6 primary movement patterns are exhibited and performed with little conscious effort. They are: Push, Pull, Bend, Squat, Lunge, Twist and Bend. In order to optimize these primal movement patterns and limit exposure to injury, it’s important to ensure you’re performing these movements correctly.
In Paul Chek’s book, “Movement that Matters,” he refers to the proper form for performing these movements. Most importantly, he emphasizes this insightful thought: It’s not simply pracitce that makes perfect; instead, “Perfect practice makes perfect!”
Developing the neuromuscular response to how we move is an engrained process that’s very much a part of us, just as is our DNA and Fingerprints. You may not be aware of faulty or unorganized movement patterns that create harmful neuromuscular response patterns between the muscles and the brain.
As a CHEK Certfied Instructor, reviewing primal movement patterns to ensure they’re performed properly and the correct neuromuscular responses are created is part of the training session. Did you know that the body remembers that last few reps of a particular exercise? If not performed correctly, you could be creating a disruptive response during your exercise regiment. However, if performed correctly, you’ll be able to move throughout the day pain free, limiting your exposure to risk of injury, and feel a sense of vitality through your natural movement patterns.
Now…get out there and move like your body is intended!
You’ve heard the phrase, “No pain, No gain??” That mentality is counterproductive to sustained health and overall fitness.
The body will remember the most painful rep that you perform and download that information into your neuromuscular systems memory bank. Each time you return to perform, for example, a Dead lift or Squat, your body will pull out that dysfunctional pattern and repeat it to avoid the pain caused by pushing yourself too hard in the first place.
This is not to say you shouldn’t train hard. Train hard, but stop your reps when you still have one or two reps with perfect form remaining in your gas tank.
Another great tool is retraining your mindset from a “work-out” philosophy to a “work- in” approach. This will greatly benefit your body, mind and spirit. Ideas for “working in,” include Tai Chi, Chi Gung or any exercise you can perform with strain or drain to the body. Working with your breathe and really getting your energy moving will help you retain and store “chi” or energy, instead of blasting it out with a workout that leaves you tired, drained and potentially broken.
If you want to stay out of pain for the long haul, listen to your body and maximize your full potential!
When we are stretching we are addressing much more than just the length tension relationships of our bodies. We are stretching our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual bodies. Stretching is a powerful healing tool, but to use it as such we must bring awareness and intention to our stretches. This is a basic guide to your corrective stretching program, there are many ways to be mindful during your stretching, choose a few or one from the list below and watch as your body releases and opens up.
1. Stretching should not be a painful experience, if your baby was crying would you pick up your baby and shake him/her around? Most of us would probably pick our baby up and soothe him/her, relax and show love. Go into your stretching with the mindfulness that your tight areas are “crying babies”, you want to soothe them and love them, by doing this you will get a much better release and it will be a good practice in mindfulness and loving yourself.
2. Mindful stretching is a good time to bring awareness to posture and your breathing, never miss an opportunity to be mindful of deep 3D breathing and postural alignment. The more often we are aware the easier it is to change and let go what no longer serves us.
3. Be aware of the images and thoughts that arise during each stretch, the body will guide you as to what may be energetically stored in these tight areas. Journal these images and thoughts, bring what you would like to share and we can explore the deeper meanings together.
4. Your stretching can be used as chakra/zone work, use your EMBH book and correlate each stretch to a given chakra/zone. You can breathe in the correlating chakra/zone color as you do each stretch; imagining each cell breathing deeply with you and releasing what no longer serves you. You can repeat correlating mantras during each stretch or as above you can pay attention to the correlating lessons from each level of chakra/zone. Stretching is a great opportunity to get to know yourself.
5. As you stretch you can also imagine every cell in your body taking a deep breath with you, especially focusing on the areas of tightness or pain. Imagine with each inhale you are bringing in nourishment, oxygen, healing etc, and with each exhale you are simply letting go anything that no longer serves you. Intend those areas to open up and release, imagine them in your mind’s eye gaining more range and letting go of tension.
6. It is also a great idea to stretch in the evening before bed. This will not only set you up for a good night sleep but it will also have profound effect on your length/tension relationships. You will be healing and regenerating throughout the night in alignment without gravity pushing you back into your old patterns. If you have the time in the evening it may serve you well to do longer static holds during your stretching (1:00+), this will be a more relaxing mindful stretching session as compared to the contract/relax method.
Jator Pierre, Holistic Health and Exercise Coach
C.H.E.K Practitioner Level 3, Holistic Lifestyle Coach Level 3
510-673-4029 or email@example.com