yoga seeds #11 – Sitting up straight…

… is actually not sitting up straight at all but, rather, sitting up curvy! Our spine is happiest with its natural curves (towards the front at the lower back -lumbar lordosis-, towards the back at the ribcage -thoracic kyphosis- and towards the front at the neck -cervical lordosis-) and that’s when it’s most efficient in terms of managing loads, absorbing impact or staying still. If we’re starting to sit for longer periods to meditate or do pranayama it’s very common that our unaccustomed back muscles start to complain. First of all, make sure that the spine is in its optimal position. Sit on a folded blanket or a cushion to support the pelvis in staying upright and make it easier to drop the weight of the knees. Ground the sitbones by pressing them down and you will notice the spine waving upwards. Check your lower back with your hand to make sure it’s not curving backwards. Check that you’re not leaning forwards: the head is right above the ribcage and the ribcage right above the pelvis. Make space at the front, back and sides of the trunk. Rest your heart back onto your shoulderblades slightly. Make sure that the chin is not pulling up. Even with an optimized position, we might need to be patient as the muscles gain tone, and fatiguing them will not take us faster to our goal. Just persevere in building the position from the bottom up, finding your natural curves and rooting into the earth so that you can rise up high.

Thanks to all my students at Yoga Hub Berlin, who inspire me with their practice.

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