Monday, June 3, 2013

If you are flat, do a cat

Not only do I have flat feet (which I knew about) I also have a flat back (which I did not know about).  Apparently it is good to have a bit of "kyphosis", which means roundback. I thought having a rounded upper back was a result of slouching (which it can be) and I have always tried to keep decent posture given the fact that I am a writer, because I wanted to avoid the old age 'dowager's hump', yet another hideous name that references the female. 

This extreme rounding over is called hyperkyphosis and, just like hyperlordosis (or a swayback), is to be avoided.  But some kypohosis is good.

I wasn't alone.  There were three of us in the clinic with 'flatback', and we were all meant to build up the appropriate muscle, which, we were told, will take several months of work.  The exercise we were given was to take a fabric-covered foam wedge and place it between our shoulder blades, then use a very heavy-duty band to push out the wedge as hard as possible.

Wedge placed snugly between blades

Pulling on the band as tightly as possible

Side view - brought to you by the letter "S"
(only it's backwards on my body)
It didn't take me more than 4 seconds to realize that placing anything between your own shoulder blades is pretty well impossible, although I'm sure it was amusing to watch the three of us try.  So I had to work out a travel-friendly version.  Thankfully, there is a yoga pose that works the same muscle.  It's called the "Cat". 

To do the cat, one must go onto their hands and knees.  Knees are shoulder width apart, as are the hands with fingers spread wide.  The back should be as neutral as possible - not slumped at all.

Press up from the middle of your shoulder blades, as if there is a string pulling upwards, as high as possible and without moving any other part of the body escept the head, which bends down.  Hold for 6 full seconds, come back to the neutral position and repeat for 12 in all.  Take a break, then do 2 more sets for a total of 3 sets.

*note that this exercise was prescribed to me for my particular scoliosis, and it might not be appropriate for others.
A perfect cat poseur

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