I had the pleasure of speaking to a local Women’s Group today that meet on a monthly basis for tea, conversation and good works. Most of them were between the ages of 60 and 90 and we had a great time sharing together. I told them I am probably the ONLY person who really does want to hear about their aches and pains because it helps me learn what my students need.
I always like to have them raise their hands when I call out the ache or pain. “Neck and Shoulder pain?” “Back pain?” “Knee pain?” How about “Hip Pain?” Almost everyone in the room raised their hand for something. And yes, I told them… “Yoga can help with your pain!” They were all ears!
So, today, we did the Birthday test. I like to share this test because it can tell you alot about why you are having pain. If your 8 load bearing joints (shoulders, hips, knees and ankles) are not lined up straight… there is a consequence. That misalignment can cause undue pressure on your joints which can lead to osteoarthritis. That asymmetry can cause low back pain and contribute to the tightness in your neck and shoulders. When your body is not in alignment, your body works hard to hold itself in a less than optimal position and that creates tight muscles, tension, pain and joint strain.
The Birthday Test: Once a year on your Birthday, do this test. It is basically a Posture Check-up. Don’t force any movement, just notice. Next year – check again.
- Stand against a wall with your heels about 2 inches away
- Notice which part of your body touches the wall
- Does the back of your head touch the wall without your chin tilting upward? (Testing for forward head carriage)
- With one arm at 90 degrees or all the way up. What parts of the arm touch the wall? (Testing for shoulder mobility)
- How much space is between the wall and your low back. Two fists? (Deep lumbar curve can cause compression). Less than two fingers? (you may have limited pelvic mobility)
- Body leaning forward? (pressure on the knees)
- Palms turned backward? (shoulders are rounding forward)
These are just simple checkpoints that can help you decipher how your every day posture can be contributing to your aches and pains.
How Does Yoga Help? At the end of my Women’s Group presentation, one of the women came up to me and said she felt she was the Lone Ranger. She was the only one in the room who did not have any pain. I asked her why she thought that was so. She said …”I have been doing Yoga for years!”
Happy Birthday to us all!