Use a yoga strap or a belt that has a buckle that will hold the strap taught. Place the strap right over your hip joint. Lift your foot off the ground by lifting your knee to help you find the right spot. Adjust the length of the strap so it doesn’t touch the ground. Look in a mirror to see where the strap falls.
If your strap is falling forward from your ankle as in the photo on the left, you are leaning too far forward and likely putting weight in the forward part of your foot. This is not good posture.
Our bodies are designed to stack up like a building. One story is stacked directly on top of the next. Our knee joint should be stacked over the ankle joint. The hip joint should be stacked over the knee and ankle.
Back up your hips until you see the buckle line up with your ankle as in the photo on the right. You may feel like you are to topple backwards. With practice, this sensation will go away. Start by feeling the weight of your body in your heels.
This small change can make a world of difference in your experience of pain and tension immediately, and over time. This is how you are designed to stand. This small change will help with pain in the feet, calves, hips, low back, and neck. Seems like a pretty hefty promise, I know.
Consider this, leaning your body forward is like holding a bowling ball with your arms outstretched. It takes a lot of work. If you are going to hold something for a long time, you hold it as close to your body as you can or even put it on your shoulder. Leaning forward constantly is asking your body to do a lot of extra work.
Another quick check can be done by looking at the side seam of your pants. Is is vertical or does it angle forward? Try to make your seam vertical.
The next step is stacking the shoulders over the ankle, then the ear over the shoulder.
You don’t have to be in perfect posture all the time, but this simple posture should feel as comfortable as any other posture. If it doesn’t, your muscles are out of balance and your fascia is doing overtime to support your body. Poor posture plays a role in tension and pain. Stack your body up well!
If you can’t seem to change your posture, get help. Take a stretching workshop or get one on one myofascial release. This softens your body and makes better posture more achievable and comfortable.
It’s your move!