"Body alignment" and "a balanced body" are common phrases in many disciplines - but what do they mean?
Alignment has multiple definitions, including:
Three (of the many) definitions for balanced:
When our midline anatomy can be arranged in a straight line, creating the median plane, this should be used as the reference line for body alignment.
Left and right sides of the body are balanced when our midline anatomy aligns on the median plane.
Our midline anatomy that should align on the median plane includes the linea alba and the nuchal & supraspinous ligaments.
To increase awareness of your midline anatomy, use the 5 midline markers for alignment. These are 5, easy to find, points on our midline. Touch them to help focus your attention on their location and feel for their relative positioning as you breathe.
From bottom to top:
1. pubic symphysis, 2. navel, 3. xiphoid process, 4. jugular notch, 5. external occipital protuberance.
For our midline anatomy 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 no physical restrictions which cause tension and pain.
The 5 (paired) main muscles of movement are responsible for the body's state of balance and alignment, correctly positioning our midline anatomy and head, shoulders, hips and knees.
Focusing on using the 5 main muscles is the way to balance the body - maintaining a good posture and enjoying pain-free movement.
Consciously focusing on the relevant anatomy will increase your awareness of the sensory feedback from your body so you can feel your state of alignment and balance for yourself. This sensory feedback is part of the sense of proprioception (your sense of position, motion and balance).
Conscious proprioception allows you to feel the relative positioning of your body and develops your instincts of how to move to improve your posture, working towards balance and alignment.
Working with the 5 main muscles of movement, starting from your Base-Line muscles, will build this connection between body and mind.
Every night, lying in bed trying to position my hips and shoulders and 'align my spine'. Trying to ease the pain. But I had no inner reference to guide me. No connection to my Base-Line.
I learned to feel how to heal. Releasing the pain and regaining a full range of natural movement.
Everything starts from Base-Line.
Think of the linea alba and nuchal supraspinous ligaments as an imaginary thread from pubic symphysis of the pelvis to the back of the head. A strong and flexible band from head to tail that should be fully extendable, smooth through a full range of movement without tension or restriction. Like a fishing line being cast/ a ribbon in the wind / a powerful snake, extending and twisting, supporting the rest of the body.
Having a body that is imbalanced and misaligned means experiencing stiffness, tension and pain.