Posture, breath, and balance are fundamental to wellness, yet few of us are actively incorporating them into our everyday lives. For example, how are you sitting or standing right now? Have you noticed taking a breath recently? Are you actively using your core muscles to stay upright and balanced? Bring greater awareness to these synergistic fundamentals and become less stressed, safer from injury and more self-aware in your environment. Indeed, physical, mental and emotional health all start with the Big Three.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
If you can breathe, you can practice yoga! No matter your age, level of mobility or fitness, there is a yoga practice for you. In all of our classes, we explore a variety of postures and the transitions between those poses, adapted to your level. In addition, we learn more about the limbs of yoga beyond the physical postures, such as meditation and breath-work. A consistent yoga practice can:
Improve your posture, flexibility, strength and balance.
Help you manage your stress and anxiety.
Deepen your awareness and acceptance of self.
We are passionate about bringing the principles of yoga to atypical populations outside of the classic yoga studio space; and offer our classes in community, corporate, and private settings where participants can feel supported while safely finding their own practice. Feel free to explore our Class Calendarfor more details on when and where.
Check out the Feedback Page to hear what some of our students of all shapes, sizes, ages and mobility levels say about practicing yoga with Team Sun Wellness. You can also Meet Our Students and hear what yoga means to them.