My frame shows little evidence of my years of dancing; disciplined ballet with much emphasis on long muscles, grace and perfect posture. Yes, my feet are still slightly turned out and bear the scars of pointe shoes,but sadly most of the long, lean muscle has deteriorated. My posture is the saddest victim of time, lack of care and child rearing. I've lost my core strength.
Carrying big babies in my belly and three unplanned caesarians have crippled my stomach muscles and the stoop I developed in protection of my wound lasted far beyond the physical healing. I think it became my cloak against self guilt, ridicule and scrutinization. Feelings that were unjustified yet real. Feelings that I've long cast off. Yet the hunched shoulders remain and married with the classic baby on the hip stance, the muscle twinges are letting themselves be known. It's time to stand tall. To engage that core, stretch my spine and make room in my lungs for cleansing air.
With small cues about the house, serene and tall Buddha statues, a simple note on the fridge and in the car, I'm drawing my attention to the way I stand, sit and move in a day. A few moments standing in tadasana, mountain pose is grounding and brings immediate awareness to my posture. Like a mountain rises from the earth, I align my feet strongly and "grow' up to the tip of my head. In the car I'm making sure my hips are square and that my body feels symmetrical before I start the engine. A minor adjustment to my seat and has also helped to alleviate the strain that "turtle neck"hunch common when driving. And at meals I'm mindful of squaring my body to the table and lengthening my spine.
The mindful day - becoming aware of your posture and making subtle shifts to bring balance. Feeling how it moves, and where it catches. Drawing back the shoulders, opening up the chest and standing, walking, sitting with pride and intention.