Parents know they spend half their time on the floor either playing with their child or tidying up. Every evening before bedtime we have ‘tidy up time’ when we attempt to make sense of the mess all over the entire house. Of course what this really involves is Mummy putting things away, and Daughter taking things out of boxes as soon as I’ve put them back in. She’ll learn one day won’t she?! This can be back breaking work if not done with thought.
It’s very easy to worry about how quickly you’ve got to do it, bending and twisting in awkward positions just to get the job done. I love observing my daughter moving around as she, and all toddlers, move with such ease they haven’t yet taken on bad postural habits.
Yesterday we went for a walk and she insisted on picking up stones as we went along. You can see from this photo how easy her body looks doing this.
She isn’t bending at the waist, but instead hinges at her hips, knees and ankles to move into a low squat. She isn’t pulling her head back but instead lengthening her whole spine by leading with her head. It stays in all one piece. As we grow older, we forget that we can move this easily as muscles tighten, and habits set in. These are ideas that are often discussed in Alexander Technique sessions.
So when you are picking up the umpteenth toy off the floor, think about bending at all the leg joints (hips, knees & ankles) rather than your waist. Think of your arm as an extension of your back. Lead your spine through your head as if a string was pulling your head in the direction you want to go. Don’t worry about getting anything ‘right’. Just the thoughts can lead you in the right direction (pun intended).