Take a look at my free video training program ‘3 Mindful Steps and a remedy for pain relief‘
Is your posture a pain producing one?
It’s time for you to mindfully investigate the position your legs and feet take when you stand. From there you can gather clues on whether the posture that you are taking is a pain producing one.
As I explained in Part 1, the position that your feet and your legs take affects the how your muscles work in your legs, buttock and your back. If they are are working under tension, in a direction that they are not designed to work in, then over time your muscles will:
Start to spasm,
Start to cause you pain.
Do these two mindfulness exercises with me now and see if doing something as simple as changing your foot alignment can help you subdue those aches and pains!
Mindfulness Exercise 1
Take your shoes off and stand up.
Close your eyes and pause for a moment.
Then take your attention down to your feet.
See if you can sense where you carry your weight in your feet.
Front, back or sides?
On the other hand, you may find that you are the opposite, that you have got your weight on your heels. If you have ever suffered from Plantar Fasciitis, otherwise known as Policeman’s Heel then that is another indicator that you carry your weight on the back of your feet. This weight-bearing pattern will be creating tension up the back of your legs, into your buttocks and into your back.
Mindfulness Exercise 2
Look down at your feet.
See what position they are in.
Are your feet, are your toes pointing forward or is one of your feet, or both of them, pointing inwards? Towards each other?
If you have got inward rotation of your foot, your leg will be following suit. As your leg rolls in, it will be starting to pinch and cramp in the groin, and then that pinching, cramping can travel through your pelvis and into your back.
Or you might find you do the opposite thing, that your toes are pointed out. This time you are getting an outward rotation with your leg. This is going to create tension and pain travelling up your outside, into your buttocks and into your back.
The optimum way to stand.
The optimum way to stand is to have:
Your weight distributed evenly between the front of your foot and the back.
Your feet hip-width apart and your toes pointing forward (see the picture in Mindfulness Exercise 1)
Look down at your feet and adjust yourself into that optimal position now. Then close your eyes and see how your body feels. You may notice that you feel different! This is a new way of standing for you, it might feel a little bit ‘wrong’, a little bit peculiar but that is normal. This is a new way of standing, a positive, new habit you can train yourself in.
You may also have found a difference in the sensation of cramping or of pain. Just by changing how your feet stand on the floor and how your leg muscles are working, you can release tension and give yourself some relief!
Tips for applying Mindfulness to your standing
Be Mindful of how you stand. Remember to bring yourself back into the optimal position whenever you notice you have gone wonky!. You can really boost your mindfulness by:
Writing down (or sketching) what you have found in your journal. Note the position of your feet, where your weight was distributed, where you (were) feeling your aches and pains.
- Use the writing down as a process to fix this information into your mind.
- Writing this info down will help you trigger your memory, so that the next time you are standing and you say ‘wooah, it’s starting to hurt’, it will remind you to look down and look at what your feet are doing.
- Then just change them back into optimum position; toes forward, feet hip-width apart and weight evening distributed between the front and the back.
Write yourself a little reminder and put it where you can see it.
1.Put a post-it near wherever you stand. Near your workstation. Near the kettle.
2. Use it to act as another prompt to think ‘I am standing, I am probably dropping into my old autopilot habits, I need to look down and remind myself I need to remind myself I have a new habit. A new way of standing.
Of course, my main recommendation is to really strengthen and power up your mindfulness is to do a regular meditation. This is the way your mindfulness gets trained and its ability to ‘pop up’ and be applied in any situation off your meditation chair, off your meditation practice. It really gets more powerful.
This is the way your mindfulness gets trained and its ability to ‘pop up’ and be applied in any situation off your meditation chair, off your meditation practice. It really gets more powerful.
Further Reading for Pain Relief
Part 1 – Assess how you sit
Part 3 – Assess your own body
Achieve more calm in your day – Try my Nine Breaths for a Calmer Mind download