These two photographs of Gabby were taken at the World Yoga Festival this weekend, and I think you will all agree that at a first glance at least, she appears to have a nicely-aligned posture in both. When we look more closely, however, we can see that in the photograph on the left, the low back area does not have the natural backward-facing curve in place. To accommodate this loss of the lumbar lordosis, Gabby has overly lifted her chest causing hyper-extension of the mid-thoracic spine at about the level of the bra strap. This necessitates over-activity of the spinal muscles and results in joint compression, and compensation further up the spine in the neck to ensure that the gaze is kept on a level with the horizon.
So, now on a Standard Buttafly on the right, the pelvis is supported in neutral the whole alignment of the spine improves.
Now look again and see if you can put your finger on exactly why Gabby looks so much more relaxed when sitting on the Buttafly – to the extent that she was actually moved to tears… As someone who by nature likes to do her best and will always make good effort no matter how much work is required, it was a very poignant moment for her when where she connected – really connected – at a physical, cognitive, emotional and somatic level, the ease of less effort.
Many of us can learn from this – and huge thanks to Gabby for letting me share her story.