"Body alignment" and "a balanced body" are common phrases in many physical disciplines, but what do they mean?
Balance and alignment both have multiple definitions, the ones most relevant to the body are:
For body alignment:
For a balanced body:
The body is balanced and aligned when:
The median plane is the perfect 'slice' through the middle of the body, where the body is balanced either side, with the head and limbs in their correct relative positions.
When our midline anatomy is truly aligned, so are the hips, shoulders and spine.
The linea alba (at the front of the body), and the nuchal & supraspinous ligaments (at the back of the body), are the main midline linear structures that should align to create the median plane.
The linea alba is your primary anatomical guide for midline alignment. When the linea alba is free to move and be fully extended, it can be positioned on the median plane, with the body balanced either side. Your rectus abdominis muscles are responsible for the alignment of your linea alba (see below).
The 5 (paired) main muscles of movement are the key muscles to focus on to improve the body's state of balance and alignment. Firstly, focus on activating your body's Base-Line (pelvic floor and rectus abdominis).
When used correctly, the main muscles of movement allow the body to maintain dynamic balance and alignment in all positions i.e. A good posture through a full range of natural movement.
Your body is constantly generating information about its positioning (posture), motion and balance. By focusing on the relevant anatomy you will become more aware of this sensory feedback, which is the basis of your sense of proprioception, the connection between body and mind.
Conscious proprioception allows you to feel how to move to improve your posture (positioning), and increase your state of balance and alignment.
An easy way to start to feel your alignment it by finding these five midline markers on your body, and feeling for their relative positioning:
From bottom to top:
Touch these markers to help focus your attention on their location as you breathe with your Base-Line.
Having a body that is imbalanced and misaligned means experiencing:
For our midline anatomy to be able to align on the median plane it needs to be free to fully extend. This is possible when the body has a full range of natural movement, and if free of physical restrictions that limit movement, apply tensions and cause pain.
Achieving a body that is truly balanced and aligned takes time and effort. It's a journey back to better physical health. Start from Base-Line.