Forward Head Posture
"A good stance and posture reflect a proper state of mind"
Forward head posture is a very common modern day postural distortion. It seems most individuals have forward head posture and do not even realise. This posture can lead to chronic pain, numbness in the arms and hands, improper breathing and even pinched nerves. This is because every inch your head goes forward there is an extra 4.5 kg of weight on your neck (The Journal of Chiropractic Research and Clinical Investigation).
A way to combat this is by doing a very simple exercise called the chin retraction.
In this exercise you are simply trying to bring the head back to its correct position.
During this exercise, remember that you are not trying to increase the arc of your neck. You are trying to draw your head backwards in a natural and correct manner. People who have had forward head posture for an extended period of time may find this very difficult to do in the beginning.
In the image below (left), my niece and my social media mascot Ameerah, shows a forward head posture, and in the second image (right), Ameerah demonstrates the chin retraction exercise. Here, she simply brings her head back to its natural position.
There are a number of Yoga asanas that require you to drop your head back. Warrior 1 is an example of this. Dropping your head back in this pose before tucking in your chin can feel very uncomfortable. I have observed this in class and noticed that most people who look and feel uncomfortable were simply not queued to tuck their chins in before they dropped their head back.
Looking at the image below, on the left Ameerah tries to drop her head back without first tucking in her chin. Look at her range of motion. In the picture on the right, Ameerah first tucked in her chin and then dropped her head back. Notice the difference in the range of motion.
On a side note, no children where harmed in the making of this blog.
Tucking in your chin realigns your cervical spine. This is essential in ensuring you are in an optimum position before creating movement. Next time you are in Mountain Pose, close your eyes and focus on your posture. Tuck in your chin and notice how different your body feels.
Yoga asanas (poses) are all about geometry. If you position your body in the correct way, you can change your body and even influence the way you think and feel. If however you are positioned incorrectly, you can actually cause your body more harm than you think. So take your time to think about your posture the next time you are in Mountain Pose or your Warrior 1.
If you would like more information or a postural assessment you can contact me via email.
Zahir Akram is a certified Biomechanics Specialist and a Sports Injuries Specialist and is available for One 2 One's. Book online or call 07577 422132. Our teacher training programme commences November 2016. Click here for more information.