As a yoga teacher, I have noticed that a forward projected head has become an epidemic in our tech savvy society these days. I recently learned the term Upper Cross Syndrome - described as a muscle imbalance pattern located at the head and shoulder regions. It is most often found in individuals who work at a desk or who sit for a majority of the day and continuously exhibit poor posture. Sound familiar? If you are slouched and your head is sticking out then your brain is not as well-connected to your nervous system and you won't be in "flow". The reality is: when you're slouched over, not only are you not using the full potential of your brain, but you look untrustworthy, generally unhappy and powerless.
I’m sure by now you have seen Social Psychologist, Amy Cuddy’s Ted Talk and her incredible insights on how posture changes our hormone levels. She illustrates how our bodies change our minds, our minds change our behavior, and our behavior changes our outcomes. She reminds us to use our nonverbal skills to “fake it until we become it.”
“Our bodies change our minds, our minds change our behavior
and our behavior changes our outcomes”
Sitting is our generation’s equivalent to smoking. If you sit at a desk for long hours each day and a treadmill desk or a standing desk isn’t an option, here are some other ideas to consider:
Try sitting up straighter and tucking in your chin: Your elbows should be next to your waist, not forward of it and your head should be in alignment with your spine. Not sure what that feels like? Stand in front of a wall and allow the back of your head, shoulders and bottom to touch. This is the guideline for perfect alignment (your head will feel like it’s really far back but that is actually where it belongs).
Try putting yoga blocks under your feet: This will put your knees in alignment with your hips or slightly higher and push your hips back further into your chair forcing you to sit up straighter.
Research shows that our posture affects our mood. Change your body and change your mind.
By Jennifer Carter Avgerinos
Color can be a powerful thing for invoking memory or changing mood. Think about all of the vivid colors around us in nature this summer – the vibrant reds of roses or the brilliant green of freshly cut grass. Color can soothe the senses and have a healing effect on the body. Color therapy, also known as Chromotherapy, is the principle that certain colors are infused with healing powers. The seven colors of the rainbow improve balance and healing in the mind and body. This form of therapy also works in conjunction with Hydrotherapy (water) and Aromatherapy (scent) to enhance the healing effect. Color plays a significant role in how people respond to time spent in a particular space. For example, the coloring of walls and fabrics for a space affect a person’s response to that room. Often, this response to color directly correlates with a person’s comfort and well-being.
In the limited research available, Chromotherapy studies have shown that color can actually help heal the body. In a 2011 article published in Discover Magazine, it looks like color therapy might be useful in the fight against diabetes for example. According to a study out of Zurich, Switzerland, burst of blue light may be helpful to trigger a genetic response to make more insulin.
The Code of Color
Red raises blood temperature and stimulates circulation. Red is used to care for people with anemia, fatigue, paralysis and exhaustion.
Blue is soothing. It is used for cases of inflammatory conditions, burns, and bruises. It also helps with eczema, psoriasis, rashes and sores. In addition, blue helps alleviate tension, stress and problems with the immune system. It is believed to relieve insomnia, anxiety, high blood pressure, migraines and skin irritation.
Yellow is used to aid in digestion and liver function. Yellow is thought to have decongestant and antibacterial properties that act as a cleanser for the body. It has been known to help relieve rheumatism and arthritis.
Green creates balance and harmony within the body. It is especially good for heart and blood problems. It is known to influence the human cell structure and muscles.
Orange gives vitality to the body and is associated with the kidneys, urinary tract, and reproductive organs.
Purple is associated with the eyes, ears, nose and mouth. It helps with head congestion and sinuses and is known to calm the nervous system.
At times color therapy has been known to generate an overwhelming emotional response in individuals. It is important to refrain from overdoing spaces with too much color. Whether color is used to encourage healing or to enhance use of a space, color therapy can be exceptionally powerful.