This is another one for New Yorkers and other frequent public transportation travelers. In a recent blog post, I talked about how you can practice working on your posture in a mindful way while sitting. So, what happens when you rush for that open seat and loose the battle? Standing and holding on provides a rich context for getting your posture and energy going. I might sound like a geek about this stuff by calling standing and holding onto a subway poll a "rich context", but, really, there's a lot you can work on here and you don't have to stop what you're doing and do exercises. Instead, you think. Just think. And, we can also work in the hot topic of texting or reading your Kindle while standing and holding on. The technology we use is so relatively new and we're already seeing the damaging effect of using smartphones and the like on the spine and if that's not enough, it's even been shown to cause neck wrinkles! So, protect your back and your vanity and listen up.
Here are a few key pointers to maintaining good posture while standing, particularly standing while holding onto the subway poll and your device. It starts with accurately mapping your body out in your mind, so that you not only know where your stop is, but you know where you are in space.
1) Know where the top of your head is. You've probably heard me say this before, but give it a little rub or scratch to remind it where it is. We easily loose a sense of the very top of us and behave as though it's around where are eyes are. Think (just think) of the top of your head aiming up toward the ceiling. don't stretch your neck. Don't lift or lower your chin. Just think it. You're aiming your head rather than pulling it.
2) Know where your feet are. Don't look at them, just notice the feel of them contacting the floor. Did you loose the feeling of the top of your head? Go back to that. Can you sense both simultaneously?
3) Hold onto the pole with your hand, not your shoulder. What does that mean? Try this. While holding the poll, let your elbow drop slightly, very, very slightly, without dragging your torso down with it and without loosening your hold with your hand. This should help release some excess shoulder tension that you might be using to hold on. You really don't need it.
4) Lift your device closer to your face with your hand, not your shoulder. (Follow instructions in #3.)
5) Don't slide your chin out or drop your head down to look at your device. Look at it with your eyes first, and let your head follow. Your chin should move toward your chest without your head and upper body sinking down. Imagine your head rotating up and over.
6) Do you still feel the top of your head and your feet? The big challenge is to see if you can sense the top of your head, feet, your contact with the pole and your device all at once.
7) Have fun! Don't get too serious about it. Make it into a game and, as always, make sure you're breathing!
To learn more about how to use your devices and not strain, join one of my "Gadget Classes"