I picked up this little gem on a workshop at the weekend and I’ve been using it in class all week. It’s a fabulous little tool to check you are in the best alignment for spine health.
In optimal alignment the ribs should sit directly above the pelvis. But in our modern lifestyles the muscles of our chest, shoulders and arms have become tight and restrict our range of movement. As our bodies need to maintain an upright position it adjusts by lifting our ribs forwards in front of our hips.
In the photo on the left, with the use of the mirror, compared to the picture on the right you can see the mid-back (where the bra strap/heart rate monitor would be) is not against the wall. Try it yourself. Stand a couple of inches from a wall, place your thigh bones toward the wall, letting your tailbone relax. Then bring your shoulders, arms, and back of the head against the wall. There should be a small space underneath your waist where your low back naturally curves in, but your middle back (the ribs/bra strap/heart rate monitor area) should also be touching the wall. When the alignment is correct, as in the picture on the right, if all the dots were joined on both sides it would give a square shape.
The increased distance between the hips and ribs stretches some of the front ‘core’ muscles, causing them to become lengthened and weaker, whilst the muscles at the back of the body become shortened and weakened. The shorter muscles of the spine reduce the space between the discs and can increase the rate of their degeneration.
So, to keep you ‘core’ strong and balanced keep square aware.