About alignment

Extracts from Let’s talk about alignment: what is it and how does it affect us? I wrote for LSN Gymnasia‘s Blog.

Alignment: a simple and intuitive concept whose understanding and implementation improves life.

Alignment for Health

In modern times it is common to hear about postural issues causing forms of dysfunctioning of the body. The truth is that our body was not conceived to spend so many hours seated on a chair or working on a desk, but was meant to be kept active with physical activities so that the muscles, organs and systems would get stimulated and oxygenated maintaining a healthy state. Obviously, the physical activities would be followed by a good resting time to integrate and recharge, which is also something that many people in Western countries and modern society have lost. 

Sedentary lifestyles create a myriad of muscular-skeletal disorders associated with keeping the body still and seated for many hours, such as round shoulders, neck pain, headache, low back pressure, tight hips, flat feet just to mention a few. It’s important that we understand the fundamental need to introduce healthy habits for our ancient bodies to adapt to the modern world’s comforts. These good habits include physical activity, stretching and regulating alimentation to energy consumption. 

What is alignment?

Alignment is the ideal musculoskeletal system positionThe human body has eight major load-bearing joints: shoulders, hips, knees and ankles. These joints function best when horizontally and vertically aligned, therefore when they are out of alignment, the body is susceptible to joint wear and tear, pain and injury.

The human body was designed to stand on two feet and to be in motion constantly in order to survive. The combination of gravity and movement is not only necessary to maintain the body’s skeletal alignment, but also critical for survival prior to modern conveniences. Today, we no longer need to move in order to survive, instead, to make a living, most of us click a mouse and stand stationary. The problem is simple: we do not move nearly enough to remain pain free and functional.

At LSN we very well understand the importance of maintaining a good physical state to run a healthy life-style and how body alignment is fundamental for the correct execution of any athletic endeavor, from the simplest to the most complex. For this reason we promote Pilates, Yoga and postural gymnastics techniques that use gravity and a person’s own body weight to improve alignment, balance and strength, naturally eliminating the underlying causes of pain and physical limitation. Particularly fond of the Yoga Wall as a practice that enhances physical alignment and body awareness, LSN is a great promoter of its use for strengthening and decompression. LSN also encourages the integration of passive stretching sessions to postural exercises to improve the muscular tissue flexibility, joint mobility and muscle memory. These practices are a perfect match to all types of workouts, they do not need to replace more intensive training, but on the contrary they allow for a balanced training progression maintaining awareness of joint health and posture.

Other types of alignment LSN cares about

In the ancient discipline of yoga alignment has more than one meaning. On one end it refers to the correct musculoskeletal alignment in the asanas, the yoga postures, or the specific way in which a pose should be done to achieve maximum benefits and to minimize the possibility of injury. On the other hand it refers to the state of unity, harmony and ultimately peace amongst mind, body, and soul highlighting the connection between the emotional and the physical planes..

The doorway between your mind and your body, is emotion, the heart. Your emotional body is like a membrane between your physical body and your mental body, this is why it’s important to “feel good” to be well.

However, because everything is interconnected, this also works the other way round for our skeletal and muscular systems, because posture can be the cause that affects thoughts and emotions.The phenomenon is referred to as embodied cognition,which asserts that our bodies can affect our emotions and studies have confirmed the relationship between mood and posture. The physical posture tells a lot about the state of mind of a person. Standing upright with shoulders back, the head straight up with the chin lifted, signals to the brain that we are feeling confident, strong and at ease. The confidence actually comes from feeling taller, and therefore “bigger” and more self-assured, the strength comes from a sense of courage in being vulnerable by opening the chest and hence the heart, and both these qualities make anyone feel at ease. Similarly, when we are depressed and we worry, we tend to round the shoulders in a posture that represents closure. This idea easily makes sense if we understand that feelings fire responses in the nervous system which impact our physical body in a number of ways. For example, negative feelings such as anxiety and fear cause a great deal of stress in the body, which can be interpreted as physical pain. These feelings experienced consistently can break down the immune system leaving the body virtually defenseless against sickness, disease and disharmony.

As it has been scientifically proven, all that exists in the universe is energy that vibrates at a certain frequency, and so are we. We can use multiple techniques to harmonize our frequency and raise our energy, for example meditation helps release negative thought patterns and sound therapy has developed knowledge in dissolving the state of disease by bringing harmony through the use of sound.

Life purpose alignment 

Harmony is a state that exists only when your thoughts, feelings and actions are aligned and this is everybody’s daily task. To achieve this objective a number of habits are useful to create a state of wellness which is the foundation for a life of harmony. Many of these practices have been mentioned in our Wellness lifestyle article, you can check it out to learn more. Wellness lifestyle

Did this article spark your curiosity? What are your thoughts about alignment? Do you have questions? Share them in the comment box below 

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