The string is a thought exercise that everyone’s mother attempts to teach them. When she said, “Sit up straight,” what she really meant was, “Let the string hold you up.” Fortunately for me, my mother is a massage therapist, so she told me about the string when I was little. However, I must admit, I still slouched quite a bit.
The string goes from the very top of your head and stretches up into the sky where it is tied around a cloud. Like a marionette, the string holds your head up. Actually, the string is imaginary, but you can pull on a piece of hair at the top of your head (if you have hair there) to get a feeling of what it might be like to have that string become real.
The purpose of the string is as a reminder of what good posture is. Sometimes good posture can be confusing since when your mom said, “Sit up straight,” you might have stiffened your back and neck into a soldier’s stance—you were sitting up very straight, but all your muscles were clenched into that position. When you have good posture, your body has to fight gravity the least. Everything stacks up on one another so that the weight of your head is resting on each vertebra below, instead of your neck muscles straining to hold it up.
Every time you remember about the string, feel for it pulling the weight of your head straight up. Instead of “efforting” to push yourself into good posture, let the string hold you up. Maybe this means you need to sit or stand differently so that your body can be better aligned and let the string do its work. You might also need to adjust your computer, chair, or desk as well. You know you’ve found a good position if it allows the string to hold you up and it doesn’t start putting strain on a different part of your body. Another way to think of it is to ask yourself, “Where does my head feel the lightest.
As you get more familiar with the feeling of the string, you can also practice feeling the string extend down your spine so that it’s not only holding up your head but your whole body. Maybe the string will start to pick you off the ground and you will float away…
Everyone! Because we all have a tendency to pull our head forward when looking at a computer, the road and cars as we drive, the ground as we walk, or doing any task in front of ourselves. People who would especially benefit from using the string to hold their heads up are those with chronic neck pain, back pain, history of whiplash injury, or people who don’t want to end up like Igor.
Anywhere! In the car at a red light, at work, while eating dinner, watching TV, on a jog, during conversations, while robbing a bank…My favorite time to do it is when I first start feeling an ache in my neck after being on my computer too long, like right now.