The Age of the IHUNCH: Modern Time and Our Spine

Christine Ahanotu–Guest Postimage-3

Like any young millennial, I have a bevy of tech devices that I use everyday to make my life simpler and more streamlined. My iPhone connects to my MacBook which is synched with my iPad, all communicating with each other merrily –and silently – in the background of my busy modern life. I am a serious advocate for certain aspects of tech. As a freelancer, making sure my schedules are aligned and my content is shared is part of my livelihood! So you can imagine how often I am sitting at my computer writing emails or checking my iPhone for messages. Its great! Never before has the entire world been at the tips of our fingers.

There’s just one, small, tiny caveat to all this convenience. We are literally breaking our backs.

Seriously – for every inch forward we lean our head over our devices, we are adding between 12 and 15 pounds of weight to our spine. Even as I sit here writing this, I have about 30 extra pounds weighing down on me. That’s a lot! And as I think about how far our posture has come since the dawn of time, I have to admit – as a proud technology driven millennial, I’m worried.

We are the first generation to have these wonderful devices! There is no long-term evidence of how they will effect us. There is no doubt in my mind that they will add greatly to our productivity and creativity for years to come – but we may pay a high price. We may pay with our spines. We may be a generation of 60-year-old hunchbacks, with back pain and resulting mental health issues abounding. So I have a plea for all my fellow tech enthusiasts out there – Just straighten up. Bring your phone up to eye level. Make sure you’re not looking down all the time. Even better, check out our website (QueenIsYouBlog.com) for daily exercises and techniques that will relax, reground and strengthen your core and spine. You can even hit up our founder, Patricia Kirk, for one of her Posture Bands. They align your spine and remind you to sit up straight throughout the day. But please, do something. Because technology is awesome but lifelong back problems are not.

Light and Love,

Christine Ahanotu


image-2Christine is a the fashion director and guest blogger for Q is You. 

Christine is the creator and founder of Isle of Light, a jewelry and lifestyle brand dedicated to the spread, empowerment and understanding of the Light – the growth of Love, the power of self and the connectedness of all living things. 

 

A DEEP, SLOW, SMOOTH BREATH

THE MOST LUXURIOUS FEELING IN THE WORLD IS A DEEP, SLOW, SMOOTH, BREATH …and it is the most healthy thing you can do for yourself.

Believe it or not, you are a terrible breather…we all are. This makes us feel stressed because we are literally suffocating ourselves. Being a shallow breather is a primary culprit of doubting ourself and feeling anxious about life. Research is revealing that breathing incorrectly is a root cause of many illnesses and disorders–from panic attacks to lung disease to digestive disorders. Learning to deepen your breathing and align your body in good posture will ease the mind and resolve much of what ails you.

good breathing is key to good posture and good posture is key to good breathing.

Unknown-1Not enough can be said about the importance of learning to breathe better. Dr. Andrew Weil tells us “Improper breathing is a common cause of ill health. If I had to limit my advice on healthier living to just one tip, it would be simply to learn how to breathe correctly. There’s no single more powerful–or more simple–daily practice to further your health and well-being than breathwork.”  Allison Davis, for The Cut–NY Magazine, took a Breathing Class from Dr. Belisa Vranich (her book-Breathe) and said that the effects were immediate–she felt better; more calm and yet energized too; aches and pains were less and she slept better that night.

I can share my personal experience of how learning to become a “better breather” is changing my life. It helps me feel much better in general and it gives me a sense of control–knowing that I have something immediately available to comfort me and support me in stressful times. The other night I heard something that made me very upset–and it has to do with money so you can guess how much anxiety I was in. I felt betrayed, mistreated, rejected, hurt, angry, and above all panicked about my financial stability. I had a huge headache and my mind was spiraling down into all kinds of self-critical and self-defeating thoughts–I even started to blame myself, for what I am not sure but I was beginning to believe I was at fault for this news. Then it dawned on me, I needed to practice what I preach–I need to “use my body to help me feel better.” So I laid down on my back on the floor and started to breathe.

I took a few breathes and then something remarkable happened. I calmed down a little. My body started to become heavier, I could feel some muscles in my back and butt relax. The horrible constriction in my chest and aching in my neck began to give way as the breath expanded my lungs. Feeling a bit better, I started to focus on how I was breathing and took bigger breaths, the biggest breaths I could expanding my torso as much as I could. It felt so good. I focused on breathing into places in my body that felt real tight and ached. As I exhaled I imagined the pounding energy in my head flowing into the floor and down into Mother Earth. My whole body began to sink into the floor and this wonderful sensation of being held helped me hear something mystical give me permission to just lie here, be still, and let go. I remembered that there is something benevolent in life that has my best interests at heart. I started to consider that maybe I could release my hurt and judgement about the money…I even could consider forgiving–and not just them but myself. After about 15 minutes I felt completely better–no headache or heaviness and if not real happy at least much more confident and calm…and powerful. I slept well.

JUST This BreathWhen all is said and done there really is no right or wrong way to breathe, so don’t let worrying about how to do it keep you from breathing better. There are some great techniques though that you may want to explore in yoga, pulmonary therapy and other great science and fitness resources. Yet it honestly comes down to just doing it. So take a breath. then take another.

YOUR BODY SHAPES WHO YOU ARE: A woman’s body is the holy grail of her true self.

Some of the most powerful research is showing up on the news lately. Behavioral Psychology is making popular what the fitness industry has known for several decades…”that your body shapes who you are.” I have been a fitness professional for over 30 years and have always known that “a fit body, supports a fit mind and vibrant spirit.” Fitness and good posture improves our health and keeps us moving with ease and we all know how that makes us feel more confident and happier. It makes us look a heck of a lot better too…more beautiful actually.

images-1BeilockCUDDY copyTwo behavioral psychologists that I have come to admire as of late, offer us very compelling evidence of how real this is…Amy Cuddy, Harvard, her new book, Presence (2015), and Sian Beilock, University of Chicago, her new book, How the Body Knows Its Mind (2015).

This research points to something very important for all of us, particularly women, to understand…that our body has a sacred consciousness. It points to how powerful our body/mind/spirit connection is in the course of our lives. And this is great motivation for people to create a more healthy and respectful relationship with their body.

I think this research encourages us women to learn to “befriend our body” rather than always feel so frustrated by it…not being good enough, thin enough, fit enough, healthy enough, beautiful enough. Instead, realizing the remarkable power of our body to help us feel more confident and powerful, we begin to respect our body so much more. For example, think about how you feel when you stand tall and graceful…do it now and notice if by standing taller, opening your chest and smiling, BIG, that you feel better.  The results are undeniable…you feel an easy, yummy energy flow through your body. Through metaphysics I have learned that when this energy is strong we are mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually healthy. We have a “great vibe and we like ourselves so much more. Our good vibes are contagious and people like us more. And that feels good.

I hope you will check out the TedTalk by Amy Cuddy and both of these books by these remarkable women.