Bending Over: How Are You Doing It?

National Public Radio (NPR) recently did a story on the “lost art” of bending over. Spoiler: it’s only been lost in the West; other cultures still practice it.

Bending over illustrated.

Photo: Jean Couch.

If you’ve had private lessons with me, you’ve worked on this in nearly every lesson: re-discovering how to bend over, how to come from sitting to standing. Essential!

“. . . when you hip hinge, your spine stays in a neutral position. The bending occurs at the hip joint — which is the king of motion.” — NPR

Please note: this requires time and practice to re-discover as an adult. Please go slowly. Begin by thinking, “I’m taking my sit bones back. And my spine is like a pendulum. My head’s at one end, my pelvis at the other.”

Which Letter of the Alphabet is Your Spine Making?

L - Red handwritten letterYou can use the alphabet to help discover your pattern. Are you making a C-shape (rounding) as you bend over?

Or are you maintaining an L-shape with your spine and hips?

As You Practice Bending

If you’re practicing bending over, it’s key to understand, to feel, where your hip joints are located (about 15 centimeters above the crease at the top of your pant leg). Also essential: to realize that your pelvic girdle has three moving parts.

Surfer riding a wave.To see this principle in action, watch elite athletes. Speed skaters, surfers, weightlifters. No way you can lift 100 pounds or more overhead without damaging yourself, unless you take full advantage of your pelvic opportunity.

Practice every time you need to bend over. You’ll be so glad!

If you have back or hip pain, the more you understand and can bend over in this way, at your hip joints, the less pain you’ll have. And if you don’t have pain, you’ll lessen the chance of creating it.

Find the full NPR story  on bending here.

Let me know if you’d like to book a consultation to talk about how we can work together to help you practice this “lost” art.

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