body in balance
Maintain posture and grace with these easy mind-body moves
The exercises You can do these moves daily, even up to 2 or 3 times a day. Always remember to breathe throughout the motion: In a comfortable standing position, inhale deeply; then exhale. Imagine your spine as a string of pearls on a straight elastic cord; visualize that cord lengthening and shortening as you inhale and exhale.
1. Side-lying reach Lie on your left side on the floor or in bed, head elevated on a pillow. Bend knees into a fetal position and keep arms close to body [A]. Inhale and extend your right arm overhead; extend right leg, leading with your heel [B]. Exhale and return to starting position as if folding up your joints. Repeat; then roll over on your back for just a moment, head elevated and knees bent. Place hands on inner thighs and let the weight of your hands open your knees to allow for widening of pelvic girdle rotators [C]. Roll onto right side and repeat twice, completing exercise by rolling on your back and opening knees. Concentrate on your breathing as you move. Improves posture by realigning head with neck, opening up chest area.
2. Sitting extension Sit back on a chair with knees bent, feet flat on the floor and arms relaxed at your sides [A]. Lift one foot off the floor; then extend that leg out heel first until knee is straight [B]. Keep your torso erect during the extension and hold for l0 seconds. Lower leg and repeat 2 or 3 times; then switch legs. Strengthens thigh muscles; stretches hamstrings.
3. Standing lift Stand facing a chair or countertop and place both hands on it for support. Lean diagonally forward, keeping left foot on floor to stretch calf [A]. Straighten torso and pick up left leg, keeping right leg bent. Extend left leg straight behind you by pushing your heel back, foot flexed [B]. Keep weight balanced forward. Lower leg and repeat 2 or 3 times; then switch legs. Improves proprioception (awareness of body in space) and circulation; increases flexibility of calves and hamstrings.