Balance 101 – Spring Session

Learn the basics of balance – how our vision, inner ear, and strength of muscles and joints all work together to help us balance. We will focus on techniques and exercises aimed at improving balance for all ages, and create balance habits that can be incorporated into everyday situations. Click the video below to view an exercise we’ll be doing in most every class: toe lifts!

 

Thursdays: March 8th-April 12th – 1:00-2:00pm

Swarthmore Borough Hall – Council Room – 121 Park Ave – Swarthmore, PA

$56 for 6 sessions: Sign up through Wallingford Swarthmore Community Classes website, spaces fill up fast!
REGISTER HERE>>>WSCC – Balance 101 – Spring 2018<<<REGISTER HERE

Instructor: Ann MacMullan Jeans, a native of Swarthmore, is a certified yoga instructor (RYT-200) and teaches yoga, mindfulness, and movement classes. She is dedicated to helping people establish greater awareness through breath and movement in their homes, workplaces, and communities.

Posture

The first of the foundations in our series is posture. We can all recall as kids being asked to stand or sit up straight. Correct posture is essential to health and well-being. Why? Because posture affects breathing, lung capacity, and overall energy levels. Slumping or slouching compresses the lungs and decreases the volume of the breath. This limits oxygen inflow, vital to maintaining peak energy levels and proper functioning of muscles, nerves and all major systems of the body.  Hours in front of a TV or staring at a smart phone can weaken the core muscles of the back and abdomen while tightening those of the hips, chest, shoulders and neck.  We can reverse the influences of our modern lifestyle by paying attention to posture.

First, take stock of how you sit.

posture_seated-e1508615007123.jpg

Proper Seated Posture

  • Feet planted flat on the floor or footrest
  • Avoid crossing the legs
  • Ankles directly below the knees
  • Knees level with the hips
  • Knees, hips and shoulders level
  • Forearms parallel to ground
  • Midsection engaged and pulled in
  • Breath directed into upper chest

 

Next, notice how you stand.

Posture_Standing_x
 Proper Standing Posture
  • Body weight even on both feet Feet hip-distance apart
    Feet and knees pointed straight ahead
  • Hips even, stomach tucked in
  • Back straight without rounding or arching
  • Shoulders even, pulled back and down
  • Chin level with the ground

 

Reversing Bad Posture

Noticing your posture throughout the day is a great place to start. A few simple exercises can help us begin to reverse the effects of our bad posture habits. One of our favorites is the Seated Spinal Stretch. We love doing this throughout the day when we’ve been behind a desk for a while or as a way to transition from one activity to another, like getting out of bed in the morning. This simple but effective spinal stretch can also be performed on the hands and knees where it is referred to in yoga as the Cat-Cow Pose.

Seated Spinal Stretch

  • Place your hands on your knees. Inhale, pulling the shoulders up, back and down, expanding chest – arching the back.
  • Exhale, straighten the arms, tucking stomach towards the spine, and press down into knees – rounding the back.

 

Building Everyday Postural Awareness

  • Take frequent breaks to stand and walk if seated for extended periods
  • Plant feet firmly on the floor anytime while seated
  • Keep shoulders back and chin level whenever using a smart phone
  • Switch a handbag between shoulders throughout the day

Posture is critical to balance: when the bones and joints are in correct alignment, less strain is placed on the back. This makes any activity safer and easier, from walking to the corner store to carrying groceries up the stairs. There are very few daily activities that do not depend on proper posture, solid balance and effective breathing. According to Harvard Health Publications, greater attention to everyday habits can visibly improve posture within weeks!

 

It’s never too late to improve your posture!

Yoga for Every Body

No matter your age, level of mobility or fitness, there is a yoga practice for you.

“Whether you’re a couch potato or a professional athlete, size and fitness levels do not matter because there are modifications for every yoga pose and beginner classes in every style,” says Dr. Natalie Nevins, D.O., on behalf of the American Osteopathic Association. Yoga is generally low-impact and safe when practiced appropriately under the guidance of a well-trained instructor.

strap_legstretch_side1

We truly believe yoga is for everyone, that’s why we offer mat and chair sessions for all levels. Feel free to explore our Wellness Offerings for more details on when and where.

YOGA IS GOOD FOR YOU: Harvard Medical School reports that the evidence is growing that practicing yoga is a relatively low-risk, high-yield approach to improving overall health.  Yoga can reduce the impact of exaggerated stress responses and may be helpful for both anxiety and depression. It’s NEVER TOO LATE to start! The students we work with on a weekly basis report improvements in balance, flexibility, posture, and breathing; and they leave our classes “in their happy place.”

“I have been a grateful student in Ann’s yoga classes for a couple of years. As an older yoga practitioner who has worked with other teachers in the past, I have especially appreciated her non-judgmental and very encouraging approach. Her classes offer increasing challenges for students to stretch their bodies and their repertoire of yoga poses, but always in a compassionate, supportive, and peaceful atmosphere. In addition, her subtle humor and intention to connect personally with her students makes practicing yoga just plain fun. As Ann expands her teaching opportunities, I hope to follow her for as long as I can move my body!” – Judy S.

“Brian’s men’s yoga class is great! I started up going to his Sunday morning class a couple months ago and I couldn’t be happier. Brian’s very knowledgeable and works with you to get you stretching a little bit more each time. He works on fundamentals and builds on that to really get some under-used muscles working.” -Christopher A.