Nov 14, 2011

For my alignment friends!

Today I'm going to post about something a little different.  If you've been following my blog, you know I've begun a new alignment program and am slowly working toward becoming certified as a restorative exercise specialist.  I want to document my journey and do some posts about alignment, but I don't want to start a new blog just yet.  So, for now, I'll be doing the odd alignment post here on this blog.  I was going to do a video blog, but I'm too shy right now to put up the video I did, so I'll stick to writing for another little while. :) Without further adieu, here's my first official alignment post.

Starting out in this program is very overwhelming at first.  The further in I get, the more out of shape I realize I am!  At first I was all, "i have tight hamstrings.  I just have to stretch those a little and I'll be fine".  NOPE.  There is a lot that has to be fixed in this frame, more than just my tight hams. 

The first three things I've decided to work the hardest on while watching the lectures and dvds are:

1.) Hamstrings.  Biggest problem.  I can't get close to my toes unless I'm bent at both the hips AND the knees.  I can't do half the exercises on the dvds because I literally cannot untuck my pelvis unless I'm not bending at all at the hips, or bending a lot at the knees.  So yea, obviously that's the first thing that has to change.  It feels horrible at first, getting into a stretch, but I'm slowly getting used to it and working hard on increasing my stretching time.  Ideally I'd like to be doing it every hour or two, for several minutes at a time.  It is a totally realistic goal, but I keep forgetting to do it.  My favorite move for this one is the double calf stretch (either with or without the half dome, it kills me either way) because it allows me to kill 2 birds with one stone during my stretching, and work my second major trouble spot which is...

This is Katy Bowman, the creator of the course.  Check her out at

2.)  Hands.  Really?  Hands?  Yup.  Years of screen printing and typing and being a general claw fingered freak has left me unable to put my hands flat on the floor when I'm on my hands and knees.  Seriously, for years I've been just balling up my hands and using my knuckles to bear my weight because it hurts so much.  But no more!  I'm trying to get my fingers straight as fast as possible.  Last night was the first time I ever experienced straight fingers with my hands relaxed after stretching them for around 20 minutes.  It was divine.  I can't wait to do it again.  The crappy thing about being a claw hand is that it also means my wrists are terribly weak and mal-aligned (that's a word, right?).  I think if I stayed on my path of shittiness, my wrists would have been the first thing in my body to fail me.  So I stretch my fingers individually, as well as all at once with my fingers linked, palms out, arms straight.  When I do my double calf stretch it is the perfect opportunity to practise having straight fingers without putting too much weight on my wrists, which aren't flexible enough or strong enough at the moment to support me for long.

3.)  Pectoral muscles.  This will surprise those of you who aren't in the program, but the reason people's shoulder blades stick out in the back is because the muscles on the front of your chest are too tight.  When the muscles shorten, it causes you to compensate with your back, collapsing in the center and sticking your shoulder blades out so that your shoulders can look straight.  In fact, your shoulder blades should lie flat on your back, not stick out at odd angles.

Here's me.  Tucked pelvis, hyperkyphosis, and epic scapulae.

Considering I look like a pterodactyl, that's not good news for me.  I've been doing lots of floor angels, and just trying to generally be aware of the position of my shoulders.  It seems to be coming along quickly, and I'm happy for that. 

So that's it for my first alignment post.  Not incredibly interesting or informative, I know. It's just a post to document what my freaky body is doing at the moment, and what I'm starting off with to fix it.  Now I'm off to do my double calf stretch.