Health Tip- ETK or excessive thoracic kyphosis is an excessive curvature of the spine. It is cause by skeletal issues, environmental factors, exercise/activity choices and psychological issues. Muscular imbalance anywhere in the body can contribute to ETK. Excessive bike riding, driving, playing computer games or any activity where we have a tendency to sit hunched over will add to ETK. Here are a few exercises that will help will ETK.
Using a stability ball you can rest your shoulders onto the ball, lift your arms to the ceiling, drop the shoulders back into the ball and then drop your hands down toward the floor. Take a couple of breathes and then repeat several times. This exercise, as well as, other exercises for balance and strength can be found on Doctor Lynn’s Ball Class available on the website. http://www.doctorlynn.com
Here is an easy breathing exercise that will also help with ETK – breathing from the diaphragm can also help to decrease stress and mobilize the spine. Lie on your back with your knees bent. Place your hands just below the rib cage where you’ll find your diaphragm. Try to keep the shoulders onto the floor. Breathe in and out through your nose. Focus on the expanding and contracting of the lower rib cage. Hold the breath for a few seconds and then slowly release. Do 10-15 breaths every day.
Posture is essential to both looking younger and strengthening the shoulders and upper back. Stand with your feet slightly apart. Pull your abdominal muscles in and lift your chest. Lift your chin up looking straight ahead with your arms at your side palms out. Now close your eyes and stand still for about 10 seconds. This will strengthen your spine, improve posture, improve balance and help to combat ETK.
Or you can do as my mother made me do – walk around with a book on your head and don’ let it fall off! You must stand tall and roll back your shoulders to accomplish this…
Nothing ages a person like poor posture and a hunched back. Practice Standing Mountain and other yoga poses to improve posture and keep you young and flexible! Yoga and dance will improve posture, so…
Let’s Go! Take off your shoes and dance.
The body, although complex is really very simplistic. Each part has a job to do and given we stay healthy all the parts work together. The heart pumps the life current through our body. Its only job is to keep life flowing. Likewise the liver works to detoxify the body. Its only job is to cleanse and purify. But the mind is a bit different. The mind likes to mind itself, its body and the minds of others.
The mind is constantly moving, but what is it really doing? Does it keep the body alive and healthy? Yes and no. It is not necessary to sustain life, but it is an essential part of living a full and conscious life.
In yoga mind stuff is called chitta. It is the accumulation of your sensory experiences, your intellect and your ego all coming together to create what we call the mind. Yoga teaches us to slow down and become aware of how the mind works and how we can learn to control it. Not control by force, but control through relaxation. This creates a stage for peace of mind. Peace of mind is one of the ultimate aims of yoga. Mind your mind. Pay careful attention to how your senses affect your thoughts, how your intellect interprets information and what your ego chooses to do or not do.