See Tai Chi Lee Spring 2014 newsletter
Try tai chi to improve your posture and help your back
There are a staggering number of people that suffer from back problems at some point in their lives. It could be a hereditary trait in some, it could be injury related in others or it could simply be from incorrect heavy lifting. But the primary cause is due to a prolonged period of improper posture until our bodies rebel by creating muscle contractions or pain which is a signal to stop what we are doing and make some corrections. All it takes for you to appreciate the benefits of constant attention to good posture is to spend the day lying prone because of back spasms and other back aches and pains.
The question now is how to improve your posture and become better aligned. There is something to be said for chiropractors, deep tissue massage, acupuncture and other forms of healing therapies but one of the easiest forms is simple maintenance and self-therapy. Tai chi offers a great therapeutic way to achieve better posture through a raised sense of body awareness. It isoften said in tai chi practice that you should imagine that you are suspended from above by a string gently pulling up on the back of your head. This has the effect of gently separating the vertebrae of the spine while keeping your posture both open and relaxed. There should also be focus on what is referred to as the “life door.” This is the area in the small of the back that is slightly curved inward. It’s important to maintain this slight curvature and even to extend it now and then by gently arching backwards.
If you persevere with tai chi practice it will help you bring more attention to your posture which in turn can help you pay more attention to the things that both help and hurt your back. Perhaps you can avoid being one of the millions that suffer from back ailments by following an ancient exercise that raises your awareness.