According to the American Chiropractic Association, over 31 million Americans suffer from lower back pain. A recent study released by the Bone & Joint Initiative earlier this year finds that, “Back pain accounts for more than 264 million lost work days in one year—that’s two work days for every full-time worker in the country.” If you have time to read the report, be prepared for some shocking facts & figures. (e.g., In 2014, musculoskeletal disorders cost Americans 5.76% of GDP, exceeding Defense spending for that year.) It might be fair to conclude it’s a significant problem for working age Americans.
As we age, our activity can slow down while our metabolism can also slows, resulting in added weight. This pressure causes poor posture that can cascade into other problems like arthritis. In fact, if you listen to this TEDTalk by Amy Cuddy, then you know our body language can shape who we are and how we relate to other people. It is widely believed that body language accounts for over 50% of communication. The results of musculoskeletal misalignment, not only cause physical pain, but our poor posture can also cause psychological stress that complicates pain, exacerbates diseases of the internal organs, and leads to bone loss.
And, if that’s not bad enough, it can and even disrupt our relationships with others. As the pain manifests itself as that “Resting B*&! Face”, misalignment of your shoulders, or just the tilt of your head. Our physical posture sends hundreds of non-verbal communication cues to everyone around us.
It’s time to take a STAND!
A good yoga practice that is designed for working adults should include a properly aligned sequence of standing postures. These standing postures can begin with some very basic poses, such as Crescent Moon, Chair Pose, and even the very basic Forward Fold. These can also range to the more advanced like Revolved Half Moon, Revolved Triangle, and Tree Pose. (We’ve provided links for each pose, as resources for you to explore each of these further.)
All of these begin with the most basic principles of alignment, demonstrated by a Mountain Pose – standing firm, standing with purpose, standing with confidence. There are a number of reasons for integrating these same principles throughout your yoga practice and throughout your daily routine. Standing firm includes knowing what you stand for. As the adage goes, “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.”
Are you grounded in principles and values? We believe that how you are on your yoga mat reflects your life off the mat.
Earlier this week, Google announced they would pass on a $10 Billion deal with the Department of Defense because it conflicts with their corporate values. That’s an amazing amount of money, and I’m sure it took a significant amount of time in the boardroom before they reached that decision. We don’t fully understand their corporate culture, but it takes firm resolve to walk away from something in order to stay aligned with your purpose.
Our hope is that you can end the week standing with confidence.
- Know when and where you can root your feet. Even as your physical posture or location changes, it’s extremely important to remain grounded in your principles – just as the four corners of our feet grip the mat – these principles keep us balanced.
- Engage your thighs, core, & tuck your tailbone under. Our thighs & core are the biggest muscle groups in our bodies. Keeping them engaged & tucking the tailbone under are so important for good posture and good mobility – today isn’t the day for sitting down.
- Roll your shoulders back with palms open. You can be confident in the fact that you are exactly where you need to be today. Welcome this present moment with that confidence. We believe that if you showed up, you have already chosen to succeed – embrace the challenges & prepare yourself for new opportunities.
There are so many distractions and alternatives, it can be a challenge to find a moment to simply stand tall, reflect on the principles of alignment, and remain true to those principles throughout your hectic day. At Sol Hot Yoga Studio, we hope to continue providing the resources you need to build a strong practice, while also serving as guides to help you progress on your personal journey. It can be hard to take a stand alone, and we want you to be strong, confident leaders of your own tribes. Standing together, working with purpose & unity, and leading with confidence are some of the principles that we try to reinforce in our Tribe. If you’re interested in learning more, we encourage you to reach out to us on social media or through our website, by clicking here.