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Posture is Important, but the Principle of Shifting Weight is Integral to Health & Balance

One of the important principles of physical movement in Sotai is the principle of shifting weight. This is all about how you move your body to counterbalance for a shift in the position of your center of gravity.

This YouTube Short video will demonstrate and explain this principle in one minute, and you can read this post to get some slightly more elaborate information on the subject. Click on the image below to see the video:

If you don't counterbalance by leaning your body, your body has to brace to resist falling or stepping. If you want to start walking, this is a good thing! If you want to keep standing in place, not so much. It's all about context. This video is about moving your body when standing in place, as when forward bending, side bending, and rotating to reach for something.

These patterns permeate everything you do in daily life. So your habits when you move in these patterns are reflected in everything you do while stationary, sitting or standing.

Using your whole body for these movements makes use of your natural structure and preserves energy to make movements less strenuous on the body. When you don't use this principle, you brace your body and hold yourself up while you bend. It's easy to lose balance here or injure yourself if you're deconditioned.

When side-bending, one important aspect is shifting your hips in the opposite direction that you are bending. If you do this, your weight stays evenly distributed between your feet, you are more stable, and shouldn't feel strain in one particular muscle.

When forward bending, the same principle applies, shift the hips back when you bend forward to keep the weight distributed evenly between your heels and balls of your feet. If you don’t shift your hips back when you forward bend, you’ll feel your weight shift to your toes before you lose balance.

For rotation, the idea is that we want to rotate on a single axis. When both of our feet are planted on the ground, our base is on two axes, this creates a lot of undue strain on the joints, especially the knees, hips, and ankles. So when you are about to rotate to the left, for example, first, shift your weight to the left leg. This way, the majority of your weight is on the leg closest to the direction you’re rotating, and there is a straight line between that foot, through your spine, and the top of your head, forming that single axis.

At least one of these three patterns are present in any standing, or seated movement you might do in your daily life, and instilling good habits is low hanging fruit for preventing chronic imbalances.


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