Yes, perhaps, you are thinking what is my posture? It might be a good idea to assess it. Perhaps, you can look at yourself in a mirror from the side and take a selfie. Reflect back on your picture after you complete reading this blog. Feel free to leave a comment with your revelations.
The belly area is very sensitive to pressure change. How you hold yourself in your default posture could give you a good overview on how you manage pressure and pressure leads to belly pooching. My online course Core 4 Wellness is designed to give you many more practical practices on how this management of pressure could lead to back pain, uncontrollable bladder leaking or/and weak core. Yes, it could be pretty serious and essential to understand your core strategy. If you love to walk, hike, run, practice yoga or/and lift weights, you must understand pressure management and proper core activation.
Let's take a look at a few yoga postures that are very popular if you do practice yoga. All these principles apply if you do not practice yoga. I am a 500hr yoga instructor who does practice yoga. As I have been deepening my knowledge about the deep core and pelvic floor health, I have changed my own practice and the cues I use for my private clients. Let me share a few lessons by using yoga postures:
In the black and white picture on the left, my rib cage is lifted and pelvis is dumped forward. This adds pressure forward into my belly and compression into my back. Combined that with belly breathing and it is a recipe for the belly pooching and poor pressure management.
In the colored picture on the right, I connected my ribs to the pelvis through
deep core muscles. The bonus here is a hip flexor stretch on my right side. Pressure contained. Happy belly and happy pelvic floor.
In the black and white picture on the left - my ribs are lifted and pelvis dumps forward. I am basically falling forward and hanging onto my back to pull me back. Belly pooches out = poor pressure management.
In the colored picture on the right - ribs are aligned with the pelvis working the deep core muscles - no belly pooch, better pressure management and better work to resist gravity instead of falling onto it.
This is a stellar pose that I often use with my clients to teach them core stability, core alignment and core breath. I often start beginner with a regressed version of this pose.
Once again, you can see the picture on top - ribs are not aligned with the pelvis - belly pooch from too much pressure and more back compression. It is not the most efficient way to resist gravity and build strong core. It also adds pressure to the neck and shoulders.
The picture at the bottom - well, I am going to let you draw some conclusions from looking at it. I encourage you to get down on the floor and try both examples. Which one feels more supported and stable?
"BELLY BREATHING" IN YOGA
"Belly breathing" is often practiced in yoga classes. Consistent "belly breathing" will cause a distention of the abdominals known as belly pooching as it creates too much pressure forward. Understanding and practicing a three-dimensional or diaphragmatic breathing will help you manage pressure more efficiently and flatten the belly. There is a lot more information about this breathing in my online Core 4 Wellness Course.
But What If I am in my 70s? Is it too late to make changes in my posture?
This is my client and my Mom and yes she is in her 70s.
This is a slightly different alignment compared to the yoga poses above. The picture on the left, her pelvis is dumped forward, butt is clenched (flat butt) and ribs pulled in. The result is still the same - it pushes pressure forward and pooches the belly out + overuses the the glute muscles aka hips. Not so buono for the pelvic floor - too much pressure!
The best part for her - she gained one extra inch. If you look at the door mark and her head on the left and on the right, what do you see?
Yes, she felt taller 5.1''! She also said: "I feel my core working!! I feel taller!"
I know when I feel taller, I also feel more confident!
Who knew that when I started writing this blog, I thought I would talk about belly pooch and pressure management only but as I am concluding my lessons for this blog, I am connecting the posture to emotional feelings such as confidence. Try it and let me know if you feel the same. Pretty powerful?
Ready to assess your posture? Did you take a picture in the beginning?
Do you want to learn more? Sign up for my deep core challenge video series!
Be Strong! Be Able! Be Well!