7 Body Alignment Tips From Lauren Roxburgh, 'The Body Whisperer'
On the weekends and during non-work hours, you're incredibly active and love to have your body in motion. But from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., like most of the working world, you sit at a desk for hours at a time. And your body feels it.
Does this sound like you? If so, not to worry -- you're not alone.
Athletes also face issues with alignment -- improper posture, overworked areas -- and Lauren Roxburgh, aka "The Body Whisperer," has made a career out of helping them improve their games by addressing these concerns. Her clientele includes stars like Gabrielle Reese, Baron Davis, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Grey.
"When you're aligned, your energy is flowing more efficiently, you're going to breathe better, stand up straighter, and have better VO2 [oxygen] intake," says Roxburgh, a body mechanics specialist and author of "Taller, Slimmer, Younger: 21 Days to a Foam Roller Physique."
Working with athletes made Roxburgh realize how important alignment also was to both their training and their mind-body connection. When implemented, proper alignment assisted in more fluid movements, which can help prevent injury.
But you don't have to be a pro to get these benefits. Roxburgh shared tips with us on how to use alignment in everyday life to improve your game, stature and overall health.
1. Stand Fully On Your Feet
By aligning yourself through breathing better and standing up straighter, you'll achieve better posture. The better posture will give you more access to your core, which makes you stronger.
2. Bring Awareness To Your Body
It's so empowering when you just take a minute to check in with your body. Ask yourself, "Am I slumping? Am I leaning to one side? Am I crooked? Is my head tilting? Are my shoulders on my ears?" All of those things are very important.
3. Roll Your Feet
This can be as simple as placing a tennis ball or foam roller under your feet and moving back and forth. Roxburgh does this with NBA players and it helps them jump higher. When they have better use of their feet, the base and origin of most athletic movements, they are able to use their whole body more efficiently.
4. Roll Out Areas Where You Feel Tension
There are various rollers you can use to roll out areas where you feel stress or tension, such as the upper back. If you don't have a roller, again, you can put a tennis ball against a wall and roll it along your back. That creates circulation, which makes it easier to stand up straighter. Your body's relationship to gravity is then more efficient.
5. Undo The Day
If you have to be in one position for a long period of time, take breaks. If you have to sit down for an extended period, stand up every hour. Do a few side bends. It doesn't take much time to undo the damage of the day.
6. Just Breathe
Inhale through your nose for a count of five, feeling the air expand throughout your ribs: front, back and sides. Exhale for a count of five through the mouth while drawing your belly to your spine, toning your abdominals and wringing out your organs. This type of diaphragmatic breathing helps increase oxygen intake and also helps release toxic carbon dioxide, while also improving recovery time.
7. Get Grounded
Another great way to check in with your posture and alignment is to lie on the floor and notice the curves of your spine. You can teach your body where your natural neutral spine is by bringing your hip and pubic bones flush to the floor. Once you find your neutral spine, you can bring that awareness and connection into your sport or life movements.
Mia Hall, a Brooklyn, New York native, has been working in the sports industry for over 10 years as a content producer and community advocate with organizations such as the WNBA, Madison Square Garden, Black Enterprise, SLAM and Barclays Center.