I'm going to start this post with a quiz.
Which of the following types of exercises have nothing to do with your core:
- A. Shoulder Openers
- B. Foot Mobilizers
- C. Hamstring Lengtheners
If you're looking at the screen sorta cockeyed, then we're probably of one accord. ALL of the above have to do with the core.
Here's the thing. I KNOW that NOT dealing diligently with the upper body is impacting what's happening below but I'm still not doing all I can to address this.
I have a good amount of hyperkyphosis, or, said another way, I have too much curve in my upper back. When I get my ribs in neutral so that my sternum is vertical, I'm a hunch back. And if I get my shoulder blades in neutral so that there is no bony edge sticking out and they lie flat on my back, then my shoulders are all rounded in like crazy.
It's a whole lotta quasimodo and a whole lot less monkey. Monkey is what I'm going for, though.
In order to get to get upright and keep my eyes level with the horizon (a biological imperative so it seems), I tend to make a few adjustments that are great short-term solutions and really crappy long-term ones: I slide my chin forward and up, shortening the muscles in the back of the neck and/or I lift my entire ribcage up and out and pull my shoulder blades together. displacing my core musculature, stressing my spine and effectively covering up my problem.
So all the work I do on lengthening the back of neck and restoring length to my psoas muscles and rhomboids goes to waste. My core can't properly engage because its leverage system is all out of whack and my spine gets destabilized. Totally awesome, yeah?
It just so happens that I'm dealing with some digestive and pelvic floor issues. I've got lots of support for this (I'm becoming a bad-ass self-advocate for my health), but when it comes to exercise...let's just say I could psoas release and twist and do cobbler's pose and pelvic list and belly release all day. What I'm NOT doing is restoring function to the upper body in as aggressive a pace as my body is needing. All issues are whole body issues and therefore need whole body attention.
I recently posted the following to my fellow Restorative Exercise Specialists™:
"I'm wondering how long it'll take me to truly embrace (concede?) that my hyperhyperhyperkyphosis may be in the way of a few things in my whole body healing. For now, you can find me typing. And rib thrusting."
I'm ready to concede. My upper body needs more love.
One of the fantastic aspects about doing the kind of work I do is that I have access to all sorts of resources for addressing this. Obviously, I KNOW the exercises I need to do and the habits that need changing. I actually do a lot of them throughout my days anyway. But I really want a bit of structure to help me up the ante. And some community. And some fun.
So I'm creating a challenge group. I've recorded a whole bunch of free classes over the last year and four of them focus on the upper body in ways that will get me going in the right direction. Perhaps you already attended one:
- Shouldering On
- Say Goodbye to Wattle Arms
- Rubber Necking
- Bump the Widow's Hump
Originally, I was just planning to cycle through these myself, but I talked with a few students and clients and they wanted to join in. I realized it would be a whole lot more fun for me to be with others who are looking to ditch their computer posture and really start awakening their upper bodies.
Here's what On Top includes (so far, at least - who knows what'll evolve over the week!):
- An introductory video filmed just for this challenge
- Two mini-alignment lessons from Launch Your Resilient Life
- Each day, I'll "assign" two of the above pre-recorded online classes (about 25 minutes each) to move through and you can do them whenever you'd like; we'll cycle through them all several times through the five days
- Links to other videos and blogs that will help you bring freedom into your upper body
- Lots of support answering questions, checking in, etc.
- Connection with others who are addressing the same concerns as you
You'll have access to the content for the five days and can do as much (or as little) as you'd like. It's gonna be quick. It's gonna be a little bit dirty. And it's gonna provide the resources and accountability WE need to start making some changes.
Won't you join? Sign Up Here!