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Body Alignment and Balance

"Body alignment" and "a balanced body" are common phrases in many disciplines. But what do body alignment and a balanced body actually mean?

Alignment has many definitions, including:

1. Arrangement in a straight line.

2. Arranged in the correct relative positions.

Three (of the many) definitions for balanced:

1. Different parts of something that exist in equal or correct amounts.

2. A state of equilibrium, being in harmonious arrangement.

3. Mental or emotional stability.

body alignment and balance what do they mean? Alignment and balance need a reference line. Our midline anatomy and the median plane are what we should think about when talking about body alignment and balance. Image of a human figure viewed from the front. Showing a line straight down the middle. splitting the body into left and right halves from head to pelvis i.e. left and right sides of the body are balanced either side of midline.  The midline anatomy is at full extension, in alignment, creating the median plane.

The straight line for body alignment is created when our midline anatomy can be arranged on the median plane.

the median plane

Left and right sides of the body are balanced either side of this line.

When the body is balanced it is free of physical tensions and associated pain.

Our midline anatomy that should align on the median plane includes the linea alba, the nuchal and supraspinous ligaments.

linea albanuchal & supraspinous ligamentsmidline markers

Side view of midline slice of a human figure - the median plane, a 2 dimensional shape when seen from the side. Showing the cup shaped pelvic floor at the base of the bodoy. The linea alba at the front of the body from the pubic symphysis of the pelvis to the xiphoid process at the front of the rib cage on the body's midline. The nuchal ligament and supraspinous ligament are a continuous structure at the back of the body. From the midline bump on back of skull known as the external occipital protuberance, extending down to the lower lumbar area of the back. The nuchal ligament and supraspinous ligaments are curved down neck to mid back and then another curve to the lower spine. Our linear midline anatomy that should be fully extendable and flexible through a full range of natural movement for the body to be dynamically balanced and in alignment.

Body alignment and balance:

When our midline anatomy can align on the median plane and the body is balanced either side of midline.

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.

full range of natural movement

The 5 main muscles for body alignment and balance.

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.

5 main muscles of movement

Focusing on using the 5 main muscles is the way to balance the body - maintaining a good posture and enjoying pain-free movement.

good posture

skeleton and main muscles of movement seen from the front. Highlighting the positioning of the hip shoulder and knee joints when the body is balanced. Good posture comes with midline alignment. When the main muscles of movement are fully utilised the rest of the body falls into line, correctly positioned.

What if I don't use my main muscles of movement?

Increasing awareness of your state of alignment and balance.

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

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.

Base-Line muscles

skeleton and outline of human figure seen from the front. Midline is marked with a thick line from head to pelvis. Showing the rectus abdominis and pelvic floor muscles. Our body's baseline and key to feeling out midline and true alignment and balance.

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.

the base-line muscles pelvic floor and rectus abdominis shown in a human figure from the front and angled. The rectus abdominis muscles are like two parallel ribbons up the front of the abdomen from pubic symphysis of the pelvis (the bone between the legs) to the front of the chest, attaching to the rib cage i.e. the rectus abdominis muscles extend quite high up the chest. Each rectus abdominis is made up of sections of muscle, panels of muscular tissue separated by bands of horizontal connective tissue within each 'ribbon', making the rectus abdominis muscles like two stacks of blocks of muscle.  The linea alba, a strip of tough connective tissue lies between the rectus abdominis muscles on the body's midline. Think pelvic floor base, rectus abdominis line. Our core pillar of strength.

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For balance and alignment - work from Base-Line.

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