Combating modern day stress

Benefits of good alignment and posture when using our phones, ipads and computers

The demands and stresses placed on our bodies – and minds – have increased with the age of computers.  Instant, round-the-clock communication via electronic devices is the norm:  checking twitter and Facebook in the morning; texting whilst walking to the train station – and if you are really coordinated, balancing a bag and a coffee with the other hand – firing off emails and messages on the way to work; spending hours in front of a computer; more texting or Facebook browsing on the commute home; watching TV in the evening; web-browsing on an ipad, a final glance at Facebook before bedtime.  Does some or all of this sound familiar?  If not then you are doing well. For those of us that do recognise this pattern, it’s worth observing what happens to the body when we perform these tasks.  Next time you’re waiting for a bus or sitting on the tube, watch how people hunch over their devices. Try and guess which muscles are going to be sore at the end of the day.  What do you think their posture will be like in 10 years time after all that faulty and habitual use?

And the damaging effects on the body are not the only thing that we need to be aware of. Our brains are processing information and multi-tasking at a phenomenal rate – infinitely faster than before smartphones and other gadgets became commonplace.  Our lives have literally speeded up with the result that we are depleting our nervous and endocrine systems.  This could well be partly behind the rise in popularity of yoga and Pilates – a technology backlash! – as we bring our tired bodies and minds to the teacher in the hope that they can help restore some balance, calm and serenity to our lives.

Start being more aware now.  Whilst reading this, is your neck poking forwards?  Are those neck muscles tight? Is your jaw clenched?  Are your shoulders collapsed forwards? Are you holding your breath? Correct this by going down to the feet, feel the floor underneath them.  If you are sitting, feel your sit bones on the seat.  Imagine that your pelvis is a plant pot, anchored so that the spine can lengthen upwards with your head balanced on top.  Now, once you have sorted out the alignment of your bones, start to gently move your head in different directions. Slowly roll the shoulders, see if you can move the ribcage, are you gripping your muscles anywhere?  Gradually move your attention down the body and back to your feet.

Doing this little and often is rewarding, it keeps you in tune with your body and calms the mind taking you back into it and away from the screen.  Take a minute between each activity to connect back to your self.  Incorporating this into your daily life will promote positive changes and is the best practice you can do between your weekly yoga, Pilates and sports activities.