One great way to lose weight without going on a diet……and how it could help your back or neck pain.
Firstly it is good to note that having a bad back or neck is very rarely to do with being a bit over weight. I have watched performance dancers who you could say are very large, even obese but they know how the body works, how gravity works and they move incredibly efficiently and effectively. (Obviously loosing some weight if we feel we are over weight for our height is good for health, wellbeing and confidence).
I’ve been talking to my pupils a lot recently about weight but not in the way you might think – I’m not suggesting anyone puts on weight or even takes off weight but isn’t it strange how sometimes we ‘feel heavy’ and sometimes we ‘feel light’ even when our actual weight hasn’t changed. This might be to do with how we are feeling.
We might say things like:
I feel I have the weight of the world on my shoulders.
It’s like being weighed down.
We use expressions like ‘A heavy heart’ or
I have a load on my mind.
but other times we might say:
It was light relief.
I feel light headed
or I felt as light as a feather…….. (maybe after an Alexander Technique lesson!)
The question I like to ask my pupils is “Just standing there, do you have to hold onto your weight?”
They usually look at me strangely, have a moment to think to themselves and then they may think “Ah , he’s looking for the answer ‘No’…..”
If they say “No” then my next question is “Are you actually holding onto your weight?” and they usually answer something like “Probably”.
So if we are holding onto our weight to just stand here, how are we doing this? What are our muscles doing? Are they lengthening or contracting on the whole?
If we orientate our head up (In Alexander Technique we talk about ‘up and forward’ – see my blog ‘Desk bound or not, 5 things you need to know about your body’ Point 2 – the poise of the head on the spine), then we can let our weight drop away. My pupils are surprised that their muscles ease and they feel more grounded. If we are NOT holding onto weight, then by their very nature the muscles will start to gently lengthen (Think about it, If a muscle stops contracting, what is it starting to do? yes…..lengthen).TRY THIS Sometimes I suggest thinking of our bodies as like a funny shaped hour glass and we could let the weight drop down through the vessels.
from the torso to the upper legs
from the upper legs to the lower legs
from the lower legs into the heels
from the upper arms to the lower arms.
This image sometimes helps people.
In sitting as long as we are properly on our sit bones (An Alexander practitioner can help you with this) we could let the weight of our torso drop into those sit bones creating length from the top of our head to those sit bones.Our muscles want to lengthen if we let them but if we are somehow holding onto our weight we are interfering with that natural lengthening process.
No dieting required and yes you might not look slimmer but if you use your mind and let go of weight those back and neck muscles will be thanking you and be much more comfortable.HOW MUCH WEIGHT YOU CAN LET GO OF RIGHT NOW WITHOUT YOUR HEAD PULLING DOWN?
NB: Muscles do work in pairs so when we are walking for example, some muscles are contracting more and others are lengthening. However muscles that over contract can lead to pain.
For more information or to book a session go to www.alexandertechniquebrighton.com