If you, like me are glued to your smartphone/kindle/book/computer for a large part of the day then you will understand that there are postural repercussions for the position that your body has to assume whilst participating in these activities. Namely, your head will be too far forward placing an awful lot of weighted strain on the top of your spine which in turn curves forwards, drawing with it your rounded shoulders. Hence the term Tech Head Posture!
In this position, the rhomboid muscles that join the shoulder blades together and sit underneath trapezius are stretched out and weakened and conversely the pectoral muscles in the front of your shoulder are tightened and constrained. This is even worse if you are a woman carrying around heavy breasts. And don’t I know it with my J cups!
The temptation is to buy some kind of back restraint which draws the shoulders back and holds you in the correct position for good shoulder and upper back alignment. However, if the body is held for too long in any kind of restricted position further problems will arise and you will not have re-trained your brain to place the body in the optimum position or retrained the muscles since they are just “leaning” against the device. These kinds of back restraints are generally also not very practical in everyday life since they stop the arms from reaching forward so they are okay whilst ever you are sitting still at your desk but not really the rest of the time.
 
What’s needed of course is regular breaks from the long-held head forward, rounded position. This is necessarily preceded by having an awareness of the postural defect in the first place and an understanding of the long-term effects which you will wish to avoid. Even if you have all this in place it’s important that when a reminder goes off to support you to do some of the exercises we will be suggesting in yoga this week that you actually take notice of it! Your ego needs to be sufficiently in check that you don’t convince yourself to continue to sit there for longer than is necessary (because what you are doing is life and death important, as you are)!!!! You must be prepared to address your poor Tech-head posture as a priority as part of your everyday activity or face the consequences next time you catch sight of yourself in a reflection and gasp at how rounded you are! Let alone the aches and pains that will start to become part of your life experience.
If you, like me are glued to your smartphone/kindle/book/computer for a large part of the day then you will understand that there are postural repercussions for the position that your body has to assume whilst participating in these activities. Namely, your head will be too far forward placing an awful lot of weighted strain on the top of your spine which in turn curves forwards, drawing with it your rounded shoulders. Hence the term Tech Head Posture!
 
In this position, the rhomboid muscles that join the shoulder blades together and sit underneath trapezius are stretched out and weakened and conversely the pectoral muscles in the front of your shoulder are tightened and constrained. This is even worse if you are a woman carrying around heavy breasts. And don’t I know it with my J cups!
 
The temptation is to buy some kind of back restraint which draws the shoulders back and holds you in the correct position for good shoulder and upper back alignment. However, if the body is held for too long in any kind of restricted position further problems will arise and you will not have re-trained your brain to place the body in the optimum position or retrained the muscles since they are just “leaning” against the device. These kinds of back restraints are generally also not very practical in everyday life since they stop the arms from reaching forward so they are okay whilst ever you are sitting still at your desk but not really the rest of the time.
 
What’s needed of course is regular breaks from the long-held head forward, rounded position. This is necessarily preceded by having an awareness of the postural defect in the first place and an understanding of the long-term effects which you will wish to avoid. Even if you have all this in place it’s important that when a reminder goes off to support you to do some of the exercises we will be suggesting in yoga this week that you actually take notice of it! Your ego needs to be sufficiently in check that you don’t convince yourself to continue to sit there for longer than is necessary (because what you are doing is life and death important, as you are)!!!! You must be prepared to address your poor Tech-head posture as a priority as part of your everyday activity or face the consequences next time you catch sight of yourself in a reflection and gasp at how rounded you are! Let alone the aches and pains that will start to become part of your life experience.
 
Not only will your neck and shoulders experience pain and discomfort both when you are hunched over your desk and when you are not but there are repercussions further down the body. In the forward head position, there is a great deal of torque not just on the upper back but further down the spine. In this hunched sitting position the tailbone is pushed too far under and the psoas muscle is necessarily tightened which may cause a hyperlordotic curve in the back of the waist in standing. Along with shortening of the front of the body comes issues for breathing as we are unable to expand our lungs properly in this position.
We can see how connected the rounding of the upper back it is to lower back issues. Alongside this, the gluteal muscles begin to weaken and the hamstrings shorten which can eventually lead to the loss of the natural lordosis the spine requires at the low back for normal stride in walking. All these postural malalignments are referred too In Somatic Yoga as the Red Light Reflex. It is a collection of posture defects that is accepted in the West as the normal part of the ageing process. However, in our classes, we work on challenging these taken for granted assumptions.
 
In the Red Light Reflex, not only is the head forward and the shoulder and neck rounded but the gait is shortened as the knees are bent the tailbone firmly tucked under. This shuffling gait is very typical in the UK. I have also postulated that a shuffling mindset accompanies this, in which longing for a Golden Era before as well as dwelling on past mistakes (one’s own as well as others) becomes a well-trodden path for the mind. I have referred to this as Red Light Consciousness (see https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=jrXgBYRhyBA&t=171s)
 
So if it isn’t a natty little back brace that we need to correct the postural defect and prevent this inevitable progress, how can we address these issues on a daily basis? Along with getting up regularly from the stooped position, we need to retrain the brain to let go of the tightened pectoral muscles in order to be able to strengthen the flaccid weakened rhomboids and trapezius. In yoga this week we will be doing that by going further into the contracted position before lengthening out in order to re-pattern the brain to allow the shoulders neck and head to re-align themselves correctly. It’s not just a question of stretching as this will encourage the stretch reflex which ends with the muscles being further contracted, thus worsening the posture! It’s the same when you take off the brace – your back simply recoils into the poor posture.
 
The good news is that you will experience a very rewarding result if you follow the programme we are offering in Yoga this week. All the Somatic Flows can be done in a chair or lying down so you can be extremely comfortable during the process of re-training your brain to correct your posture. They are relaxing to do and build mindfulness as a side effect! Many of them can be done in the very chair that caused the postoral issue in the first place. 
 
So all you really need is love of course and some sort of reminder system, perhaps on your computer or phone themselves to perform these Somatic flows on a regular basis throughout the day and you can really enjoy the process along the way!