Stand tall and be beautiful

By Kay Wagner | Mar 06, 2013

Want to be more beautiful, trim your waistline and increase energy? Stand tall! It’s that simple.

When we hold ourselves with a tall spine and open shoulders, we breathe more fully. The heart, lungs and all internal organs have more room to thrive.

Even your complexion blooms with increased oxygen flow. You will think more clearly and calmly.

Your nerves activate every organ, and every single movement from your head to your toes. All of your nerves travel down your spine easily when your spine is long and flexible. And drawing your abs in to support your good posture is very beautiful!

See for yourself. Sit down and slouch in front of a full-length mirror. What’s your belly look like? How does your neck feel? While slouching, take three deep breaths.

Notice how full, expansive and satisfying your inhales are. How confident and enthusiastic do you feel? Are you looking up or down?

Now sit tall and open your shoulders wide. Lengthen from your tailbone to the top of your head. Breathe deeply. How is it different?

How much life-giving oxygen are you taking in compared to “the slouch”? How does your neck feel when sitting tall? How confident and enthusiastic are you feeling?

Proud posture makes you more beautiful. But without strengthening weak muscles and stretching overused tense areas, creating good posture is difficult.

One of my goals as a personal trainer and yoga instructor is to help with improving posture. I guide clients to strengthen abs, neck and back muscles.

We practice stretches for pecs, hip flexors and neck muscles. Over-tight pecs pull shoulders forward and down with computer work, driving, slouching, etc.

The hip flexors, which connect legs to torso, shorten if you are sitting a lot. This creates a forward bend and causes low back strain. You will find a wonderful freedom of movement and mobility when you lengthen and free up your hip flexors.

Then stretch the spine in all directions. Forward flexion, extension, side bends and rotation.

Here are tips to re-train muscle-holding patterns and make standing tall easy, natural and automatic.

Practice holding your head level with ears directly above shoulders.

While driving press shoulders back against the seat and draw your navel up and toward the seat.

Adjust your rearview mirror up so you will sit taller.

Place a mirror so that you can see yourself when you are sitting on your couch or at your computer.  YIKES!  Now elongate your spine and say something NICE to yourself.

Throughout the day circle your shoulders and stay tall.

Visualize a string or crane lifting you up from the crown of your head.

When you look in the mirror, stop looking at weight or wrinkles and start looking at proud posture. Smile at yourself. Notice how your appearance changes.

“The flexibility of the spine determines the youthfulness of the body,” the Yogis say.

Good posture looks beautiful! Carrying yourself with pride is simple, free and powerful. With increased energy and vitality you can enjoy our sunny days ahead!

Kay Wagner, LMP and NASM certified personal trainer, leads strength training, yoga & pilates at Rosehill Community Center. She offers personal training, yoga & meditation coaching in her studio overlooking the mountains and water, at 828 2nd St. in Mukilteo.

Kay specializes in coaching boomers and seniors. Email kay@kaywagnerwelllness.com, call 425-353-4545 or visit kaywagnerwellness.com for more information.

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