Tutorial #1956

Posture Tutorial

10 min - Tutorial


By creating a better relationship with your posterior body, you can build a better relationship with your posture. In this tutorial, Karen Sanzo teaches you ways that you can enhance your posture on a daily basis. She shows you how to recognize your body shape, and helps you find the cues and exercises specific to your body's needs.The two tennis balls and sock aren't necessary for this tutorial, but are useful if you have them.
What You'll Need: Mat, Moon Box, Tennis Ball (2)

About This Video

(Pace N/A)
Dec 05, 2014
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Posture is really more than just standing up. Straight. Posture is about a relationship that you make between your pelvis and your spine and your arms and your neck. So this is a very quick tutorial to talk a little bit about ways that you can help enhance your posture. The first thing I want to go over is I want to take these two tennis balls and put them in this sock. Sometimes when you just talk about posture, you feel like you get real rigid, like you have to sit up straight and pull your shoulders back and everything like that. So let's just start with a little bit of mobilization. I put two tennis balls in this sock.

I'm going to lie myself down on the Mat and I'm just going to put the two tennis balls on either side of my spine. Chances are you've done something very similar to this before. You'll notice that I'm not just letting my head go back, but then I'm going to position myself so that my head can be supported with my hands and as I push my feet I can move the balls up and down my spine. I can curl up a little bit, I can roll side to side. And then my personal favorite is actually side bending so that my head and my hands are actually on the mat.

So that as I side Ben side to side, I kind of opened up my spine. You'll notice that I may be trying to lift up like this, but then I'm going to remind myself to stay down. So mobilizing your spine is actually just as important as strengthening your postural muscles. The first postural muscles I want to talk about briefly are your lower trapezius muscles in your lower trapezius muscle. When your arm is over your head, your bottom part of your shoulder blade actually has to come around to the outside of your rib cage so that this shoulder blade actually comes around and up. It looks like this from the front.

So some times when you're in a class and your arms are up in the air and somebody might say pull your shoulders down. May Not always be the best cue because sometimes it looks like this is we pull the shoulders down and then it ends up becoming a mess in the neck. We don't want to mess in the neck. So again, when your arm comes up, your shoulder blade has to rotate around this inferior angle. This bottom part of your shoulder blade has to come all the way around and up. And then that's what actually freeze your arm because your shoulder blade actually has to be facing in an upward position to kind of support your arms.

Otherwise your arms just kind of hang from your neck. This isn't any good for anybody. So again, two arms come up. Here's one arm, here's the other arm. So then your arms come up and then everybody starts talking about the rib mess. And are they in, are they pulled, are they locked down or anything like that?

So what you want to do is add your breath here. So your ribs expand and then the ribs back in. I know it seems like I'm talking about a lot of things, but we're making a connection here out to come and then in remember posture. It's a relationship. So again, from the side, my ribs expand to the side. I am not arching or tucking my bottom. Everything stays long. One arm comes up, the other arm comes up. I'm not scrunching my neck, I'm not arching my back. And then the arms come down.

Say, what happens if you can't lift your arms all the way up and you already know it's kind of a shoulder blade problem. What you do is this, you lift your shoulder blade first with your upper trapezius. So you do this exercise a little bit. Watch what it's not. You see how that's my neck going into neck extension. So I'm going to take one of my hands. I'm going to put it behind my neck right here so that as I shrug my blade up and down, I can differentiate. If I'm using my neck.

Do you see the difference? So I'd want the blade to shrug up. I'm going to leave my blade up. I actually want it to be shrugged as I raise my arm up and then I lower my arm down and then I just simply on shrug my blade because sometimes it's your blade that needs that understanding. So again, I'm going to do both of them at the same time. A new tiny little shrug of the blade, just a tiny one. And then I'm going to lift my arms up in the air.

I'm going to leave my blades alone. My neck is not shortening the lower my arms down and then release my blades. Never ever, ever am I pulling my arms so far down that I create this tension here. A lot of times some shoulder and neck issues come from that relationship. Fast forward to typing, posturing like this, and then a person just says, oh, I guess I have to sit up straight.

And then they get this challenge here and this challenge there. So we get, we want to keep that relationship from your front to your back body. Where is your front and your back body? Let's have a look in sitting and then we'll put this together in some exercises. So watch here. We first have to find where we are. I call this like your own little personal gps.

So if I'm just sitting on this box or sitting in the chair, oftentimes we have to differentiate. Am I an archer? Which would look something like this. This is a person that thinks they're sitting way up tall, but I hope you see it. Sure, I'm sitting up tall, but my back has a big arch to it. So what I actually have to do is I actually have to vacuum back my rib.

The back of my ribs really live over back of my pelvis. So for some people when they start to sit back, they actually feel like they're rounding forward. And so sometimes you have to go through that little exercise. So if I'm an archer or I pitch forward, I have to sit back a little bit more to recognize the lift in my abdomen and my shoulders come back. So then I'm like this, and then I'm going to slightly lift my right shoulder, lift my arm up, bring my arm down, lower my shoulder down. Just get that mobility first. If you're a Tucker, it looks a little like this.

And then if you add bifocals or computer work and you're a Tucker and you're on your computer or driving your car, but then you have to look up. Wow, this pain is in my neck. [inaudible] the other pain is kind of right below my shoulder blades in the upper part of my low back. So we really have to recognize our own body shape first. So, um, the queuing has to fit the body. So let's figure out which body you are or you have to figure out which body you are. Okay? And we'll do just a handful of exercises here.

So in this quadriped head position, now I have some weights here, but I'm going to do them without weights. You're going to recognize your body in this crowded quadramed position because gravity is already challenging us. So very typical exercise. You know like this business here, we're not even going to go to that. We're just going to start with the shoulder blades. So I call it my hitchhiker exercise and I'm just going to hold my arm up like this and then I'm going to lower and raise it five or eight times or a million times and then I'm going to hold it. So when I get tired, what happens if I'm an archer?

This kind of what happened if I'm a Tucker, then my shoulder blades end up coming way far apart and I lose the dynamic of the exercise. If you get tired on your wrist and you can't hold quadro pad, well let's not do quadro pet. Let's just come right down flat on you. I mean your forehead is down on your hands. And then my hitchhiker thumb, I put my shoulder blade in place and then my hitchhiker thumb just comes out here and I hold and then I lower and raise or I shrug, take my arm all the way up over my head, lower my arm back, relax it. So you really have [inaudible] to understand a little bit of the mechanics of your shoulder blade and understand a little bit more of the position of your spine. So I hope this tutorial helped you figure out some exercises or some movements that you could do to realign your head with your spine and realign your pelvis in the challenges that you might have to create posture, which is really a relationship from the souls of your feet to the tips of your fingers.


1 person likes this.
Hi Karen

Wow I just got tremendous feedback from this video! I have issues with my right shoulder and just following these few cues of elevating the scapular before creating movement was a instant relief with my pain.
Wow thank you so much your videos are amazing. Also wanted to mention you look amazing you have lost great deal of weight. Keep up the great job and please more videos:) vthank you again. Happy holidays to all at PA!!!!

MaryJo I acknowledge
2 people like this.
Thanks Karen. I often talk to my clients about these very issues. I have had seen most of these but not used holding the shoulder shrug. Thanks for the great ideas and clarity!
1 person likes this.
Yes Karen you did it again. Using great and simple cues. I quite often cue at my classes ..." to drop the shoulder away front the ear". Now I will adopted yours. If you don't mind..... love your style . thanks. Can't wait for the next one.;)
1 person likes this.
Holding the shoulder in a shrugged position while arcing the arm makes a lot of sense, thanks for simplifying
Suk W
1 person likes this.
Thanks Karen! Lots of simple tips and ideas to promote good posture to clients.

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