By Renee’ Fulkerson
I recently attended Ohana (family) Day A school function for my tenth-grade son. That entailed building several garden boxes from scratch and then planting vegetables in the garden boxes. I began taking pictures of the beautiful moments. That was taking place between the diverse community that had gathered for Family Day. I looked through the camera lens I started noticing with greater attention how folks were moving their bodies. Observing the differences between young and old, male to female, and everyone’s visible health. The first big difference between young and old was how they each approached the planting of the vegetables. The younger kids/ teens almost always squatted down to plant their seeds while the parents/ older folks bent over into a C shape to plant their seed.
I flashed back to a time before I started training and teaching YogAlign. A time before knowing proper body mechanics and real-life movement in a yoga class. Where I would practice forward folds with straight legs. That at the time, I did not realize I was creating pain in my knees in my everyday life.
Flash forward to today, I realize I have come along way in my YogAlign practice. I have been able to overtime re-wire the bad habits that had become my daily improper movement patterns. I learned why it is good or bad to move my body a certain way. Example bending down to pick something up and bending down properly. I was looking through some pictures of a recent summer trip. I was pleased to see my regular YogAlign practice having positive effects on my daily life. It was natural for me to hip hinge while capturing water from a natural water spring. With proper movement hip hinging, my spine can stay in a neutral position. Meanwhile, my hips and upper legs support my body weight. When you bend at the waist (pictured on the right), the back curves, putting stress on the spine.
“Bending at the hip takes the pressure off the back muscles,” says Liza Shapiro, who studies primate locomotion at the University of Texas, Austin. “Instead, you engage your hamstring muscles.”And by “engage the hamstrings,” she also means stretching them.”Oh yes! To hip hinge properly’ your hamstrings have to lengthen,” Shapiro says. “If you have tight hamstrings, they prevent you from bending over easily in that way.”
Food for thought:
The little’s younger than three years old are great hip hingers. They haven’t learned yet from our example to bend like a C. I know I am a work in progress but, I can imagine the possibilities in a body I can trust to allow me to continue enjoying all the activities I love well into my senior years.
Next time you take a trip down memory lane by looking at photos, take note of how you move your body. Hip Hinge and Bending Over – the proof is in the pictures.