Correct, upright posture is essential to maximizing your energy.
The spine is the major conductor of nerve messages. Its health is
critical to the proper functioning of the organs. That’s why I
included exercises that help relax and lengthen the spine and
supporting musculature in the Secret Power of Dynamic Energy Exercise
Course, Volume 1; Invigorate and Rejuvenate.
A straight, elongated spine supported by strong, limber
musculature is critical to boosting your energy levels.
Most people have the opposite: a weak, compressed spine surrounded
by chronically tight, even painful, muscles. In fact, it’s been
reported that 80 percent of us will suffer from lower back pain at
some point in our lives.
One of the easiest and simplest ways to improve your posture is to
visualize that your sternum (breastbone) is on a string that is
hanging straight down from the ceiling.
Look and feel how you are sitting or standing right now. Are you a
little slouched or hunched? Are your shoulders rolled forward? Is
your head inclined forward?
Now imagine that a string is attached to your sternum and an
invisible someone hidden in the ceiling is pulling the string
straight up. What happens? If you do this correctly, your
sternum lifts, your chest sticks out a bit, your shoulders
naturally rotate back, and your back straightens.
You should be vigilant about your posture, whether sitting or
standing. It’s so easy to slump or hunch, especially when you are
I particularly have to watch myself when I am clacking away on the
computre. I have trained myself to periodically check and adjust
On the days when I don’t do this, I find that my shoulders, neck
and back are stiff.
We were watching the Eastern Conference hockey playoffs last
night between the Bruins and the Lightning. (Since my Caps are
out of things, I am rooting for the Bruins.)
Every game in the playoffs is hard-fought and action-packed.
Hockey players are among the best conditioned athletes. However,
toward the end of games, you will see some of them hunched over,
sticks on knees, as they gasp for breath.
You see this in other sports as well. Basektball comes to mind.
Toward the end of the game, as they become more fatigued, many
players will bend forward and put their hands on their knees
during any break in the action.
I did this same thing plenty of times when I played hoops.
Ironically, when you hunch over like this, it’s not really
helping you supply extra air into your lungs.
You’ll do much better if you bend forward from the hips, so your
back is straight, and push up from your arms to elongate your
spine. Then you can breathe more deeply into your lower back.
In fact, this is a great exercise to do if you have lower back
pain or tightness. Breathe into the area of pain or tightness
and feel it slowly, gradually relaxing with each breathing
Back to the posture thing: I never really thought about it until
I had a martial arts instructor who wouldn’t let us hunch over
and touch our knees.
He was traditional in his approach – to say the least – and could
sometimes be hard core. He basically said that we should train as
we would fight.
Would we stop in the middle of a fight and hunch over, panting,
showing our opponent that we were exhausted?
Of course not! We would stand up straight, chest out, and act
like we were just getting started.
And you know what? Not assuming a posture of fatigue, but
holding onto a posture of energy – actually works!
I discovered first hand that your posture can directly influence
your energy levels. From that time ’til today, whenever I am
training hard and getting tired, I stand up straight, walk around
a bit, perhaps swing my arms or do neck circles to loosen up my
traps and shoulders.
I try to avoid putting my hands on my knees and doing the
hunch over, gasping for breath kind of thing.
Try this for yourself. Next time you are getting really winded or
tired when exercising, or engaging in robust physical activity,
stand up straight and slowly, gradually bring your breath under
You can use this “posture approach” in your daily activities.
For example, if you are getting fatigued toward the end of the
day, or you just carried in some bags of groceries (up stairs
no less) and are winded.
Because your posture is good, you will able to breathe more
deeply and replenish the oxygen you need. More subjectively,
you’ll feel stronger. You can recover and continue your day with
renewed energy and focus.
You Can Do It!
“Best Breathing Exercises: Transform Body Mind and Spirit with
Dynamic Energy Exercise!”
Copyright, Karen Van Ness, 2011