FITNESS FOCUS: Straighten up! Standing “straight up” is not just important in order for us to have good posture. Proper alignment allows the body to function at maximum efficiency. The core muscles are activated when we “stand straight” supporting the body with the powerhouse instead of the muscles of the extremities. This, in turn, allows those muscles to work more efficiently instead of exerting all their energy just to hold us “straight up”. Here is an exercise to help you get in that proper alignment and STAND STRAIGHT!
Posture and Alignment Exercise:
- Begin standing. Stand with your feet and legs hip width apart. Your legs and feet are parallel, and your knees are pointing forward, slight bend in the knees.
- Balance Your Weight. Weight should be distributed evenly through the feet.
- Activate your core muscles. Inhale, and on the exhale, lightly pull your abdominal muscles in toward your spine and up. Keep the shoulders relaxed and hips level as you do this.
- Drop the tailbone. Tailbone should be pointed directly down toward the floor. Imagine that your pelvis is a bucket of water and you don’t want the water to spill out to the front or the back.
- Relax and open your chest. The chest is not caved in and not thrust out, just resting easily. There is a small point at the bottom of your sternum, and that, like the tail bone, should be pointing straight down.
- Shoulders down, broad back. Allow your chest to drop and open as your back expands. As this happens, your shoulders drop away from your ears and your shoulder blades slide down your back. Think about squeezing a pencil between your shoulder blades.
- Ears reach for the sky. The head and neck are now completely supported by the core and easily float above the shoulders. Lift through the crown of your head. Your gaze is straight forward, with the throat open and the chin resting naturally.
- Review the line up. If you were seen from the side your body part line up will look like this:
Repeat this several times throughout the day to check your alignment!
FAITH FOCUS: Straight and Narrow? As we grow in faith, we are often told that walking the “straight and narrow” path is the way to Christ. Actually, the Bible does not refer to the path one must walk as straight, only narrow. The “gate” is what is referred to as ‘strait’. Notice here, the gate is ‘strait’ not ‘straight’…what is the difference? Straight means ‘not crooked’, but strait means ‘narrow, limited, fitting tightly’. So although the path to life may not be straight, wandering all through the many experiences of our lives, it is narrow. Following God’s path requires flexibility to meander through life’s unexpected twists and turns but it is also necessary to be “straight up” in alignment with His Will as we walk, with precision through the narrow or strait gate.
Matthew 7:13-14 (King James Version)
Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.