my pet peeve: are you committing it?
I know we all have one or (two 🙂 ). Mine happens every day, in all sorts of places. The coffee queue, as I’m waiting to be served. Travelling on the tube. Out for a bike ride with my boy (aka the pilot of our tandem). Walking down the street minding my own business. Listening to a speaker at a conference or event. Out to dinner with friends. Seriously annoying.
And the worst thing is the people doing it don’t even know or if they do, they just don’t care. So why do I?
Because I am a Pilates Teacher on a mission to improve your posture.
I say no to rounded shoulders. No to chin juts. No to flat backs. No to slouching. No to pot bellies and tailbones in the air.
NO TO MY PET PEEVE, BAD POSTURE.
The first thing I do with any new client is to ask them to stand up as if they were waiting for a bus or lift. This gives me my first impression of their posture. We then work together to bring their body into “standing neutral” in Pilates terms or as you might say perfect posture. Their first reactions are always “Wow, this feels weird”.
It does feel weird, as your body has gotten used to its habitual way of standing, which has developed from years of use, lifestyle and workplace norms. Did you know reading your smartphone or tablet, combined with hours bent over a keyboard or eating off your lap can all add up to poor shoulder posture? Or that end of the catwalk model pose with your weight on one leg, hip thrown out to the side can give you back issues?
Ok, it’s time for you to stop committing my pet peeve and sort your posture out.
- Start at your feet – they should be hip joint width apart. That’s approximately the width of your fist with your thumb knuckle sticking out.
- Knees are soft and slightly bent – this lets them act as shock absorbers as you move.
- Moving on up to your pelvis. Place your hands on your lower tummy in a diamond shape, heels of your hand on your hipbones, finger tips pointing down to your public bone and thumbs to your belly button. Roll your pelvis forwards and backwards until you find the position where your thumbs are directly above your finger tips making a vertical plane with your hands.
- Make sure your ribs are directly on top of your hips and you’re drawing in your chest – no popping your boobs/pecs in our faces. Save that for special occasions.
- Draw your shoulder blades gently together to open up the collarbone area
- Your arms and hands should now hang loosely by the side of your body with your palms facing the seams of your trousers.
- Place your first finger on your chin and pull your chin away from it a fraction.
To hold it all in place, you will need to engage your core (ha ha you’ve never heard me say that before!) – lightly squeeze your lower abs under your hand diamond and nip in your waist like putting on a fresh pair of favourite jeans.
Oh I feel better already. You know my pet peeve and how to avoid committing it in front of me.
That said, I’ve got two questions for you:
1) Do you struggle with your posture? If yes, book into a class with me. Either at Physio in the City (near Bank and Monument tube stations), Cadence Performance (Crystal Palace) or treat your team and book a corporate class via Stretching the City.
2) What’s your pet peeve and how can we avoid committing it? Tell us in the comments and brownie guide promise to stop doing it!
Daniela • March 6, 2014
What is a brownie guide promise? haha…this foreigner has no idea. But I do know that attending your pilates class at Physio in the City has DRAMATICALLY improved by posture. My doc just told me last week that she can see a difference.
But I still have a long way to go. So I pinky promise, brownie guide promise and cross my heart promise that I will be mindful of my posture.
Sarae • March 9, 2014
I love it – I accept your pinky brownie colourful heartfelt promise 😀
And that folks, is why I am so passionate about Pilates: it makes a REAL difference
Robert • March 6, 2014
I love the fact that reading your post got me sitting up properly in my chair 🙂
Sarae • March 9, 2014
Happy to help – should also get you standing a bit taller on your stage and a bit more air in your lungs to get your voice to the back of the room!