I was recently experiencing a lot of pain in my right shoulder and neck all the way down through my arms and a friend recommended a masseuse named Anna Carina who is really like a combo chiropractor and masseuse.  When I arrived, she had me lay face up so she could look at my alignment and immediately let me know that one leg was hitched up a little higher at the hip than the other and then she said, “Oh, well now I see why our neck and shoulder hurt so much ….your arm has completely popped out of your shoulder socket!”  Truly, I had no idea.  How is that possible?  I’m not sure but after some massage and gentle rotation it went back to place.  I felt like a new person of course.  Can you even imagine?

My shoulder might have been like that for a while and she suggested some exercises to strengthen my back and to hold my shoulders down.  She gave me tips on my computer chair and posture and told me to do the exercises three times a day.  “Posture is everything,” she said.

Later, watching the last episode of Downton Abbey, I wondered if the actors had worked on their posture in those formal dining settings as they are so upright always in every scene!

Downton-Abbey-Season-2-downton-abbey-31759388-2106-1503

I became determined to try harder to stand up straight and balance my shoulders down and back.  I began to notice older people with a hunch and realized I needed to work on my own.

Here are the posture exercises and stretches that Anna Carina recommended along with some I found in some online research about posture.  My lovely niece Kate and I had a great time doing them together outside.  These are for your back and shoulders but if you include some core strength to your routine, you will get the abs to sit up straight at dinner for a long Downton Abbey style meal too.

Kate front row out

Kate is in a lunge with some little 2lb weights and her fists out front and perpendicular.  Hold your tummy in and face front, pull the weights back clinching your back shoulder blades together.

kate pulling back from side

 

Here Kate has a tube band and she has her shoulders down and back, her abs are tight and she has her elbows in her ribs.  Her shoulder blades should feel like she is trying to hold a quarter between them.

kate front view bands in

Then she is lifting up and out with the bands.  She is squeezing her shoulder blades together when she brings the bands back in.

kate front view bands out

Here’s what that looks like from the back….

kate with bands in

Next, lay on the ground face down and engage your core while you lift your left arm and right leg.  Then change and do the opposite.  Alternate.

kate left arm leg

kate right arm:leg

Poor Kate, I made her do most of the work!  Here I give it a go on the mat with the weighted ball pulling in to my chest and clinching my shoulder blades. So serious! I’ll remind myself to smile next time!

kate:steph ball out

 

kate:steph ball in

 

Here are a few stretches to open up your back and chest and shoulders.

kate on tree stretch

Kate is laying on a rolled up towel that is helping stretch her shoulders back so they are easier to hold back during everyday life.

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Sam really wanted to get in on the action and was rolling around doing her own stretches.

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Do you have a posture tip to share with us?  Leave it in the Reply box below and everyone can learn!  Go and be upright!

Best,

Ivy

wild peonies aspen

 

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