You Can Overcome The CRUNCH. Want to know how?

Typical Posture for an Online Creative at Work

So I just did a search for yoga for technologists, hoping to find the work of this chiropractor guy my husband knows from the gym. Then my search engine results pointed me to a list of links for yoga pants made of technical fabric.

Sigh…

When are the worlds of technology and a mindful approach to overall wellness going to collide? I mean, really?

When are we going to start investing in the rebuild of our crumbling postures, and develop ourselves into a more deeply balanced species?

Isn’t it time.

What is The CRUNCH?

Our Minds Expand, but Our Bodies Fold Forward.

The CRUNCH is formally referred to by massage therapists, chiropractors, and physical therapists all over the land as “forward head posture,” and “medial shoulder rotation.”

It basically means that after a lifetime of working with our hands and brains, or after a career spent on a computer, we form our bodies around this forward crunch position. Perhaps we think of it as focus? It is easy to do.

Time x Force = Damage
Damage can therefore come in the form of (a) whiplash (small time x large force) or in the form of (b) bad posture (large time x small force).

The problem is so ubiquitous, there are now very good tutorials available online to help the desk-bound, smartphone crowd begin to correct the issue.

The CRUNCH happens on many levels

The CRUNCH can be postural. It can also be energetic, emotional, mental, or psychological as well.

But just CRUNCHING with the body is one thing. The problem is that there are reverberations to the crunch all throughout the state of our being.

We simply can’t and don’t breathe as well when we are caving forward and ignoring our bodies. Bad posture is often directly reflected in low energy, short tempers, easily accessed frustrations, and a lack of overall balance.

Why do we get THE CRUNCH?

We’re socialized from an early age to focus on what’s in front of us.

We live in a culture that constantly puts our focus directly in front of us. Gone are the days of pitching hay and riding horses around. Back then — we had to live in 360 degrees. But now, everything we do is pretty much in a 90 degree arc in front of our shoulders.

Working on a laptop, driving a car, eating our food, cooking our food, sitting on a couch. The only time you really reach behind you is if you have kids in the back seat of your car and they keep dropping things.

And then you might wrench your back if you’re not careful.

How do you know if you have The CRUNCH?

Test 1 — Medial Shoulder Rotation

  • Stand up. Let your arms hang naturally by your sides. Relax your neck and take a deep breath.
  • Look in the mirror, standing straight-on.
  • Are you looking at the back of your hands looking back at you?
This is what a medially rotated shoulder looks like.
  • Or are you looking at the front sides of your thumbs?
Here’s the hand when the shoulder is more balanced

It’s likely you’re not seeing your thumb. There’s a good chance you’re rotating your shoulders forward and don’t even realize it.

Test 2 — Forward Head

Stand or sit in a relaxed position. Approximate what you do normally, and don’t try to sit extra straight for this one.

Get a friend to look at you from the side, across your shoulder and to your ear.

If the lowest part of your earlobe is in front of the midline of your shoulder, you’re putting extra weight on your back neck muscles. In fact it’s ~ 10 extra lbs for every inch forward your head falls. Multiple bowling balls folks. No wonder your neck aches at the end of the day.

Forward head posture, even at a standing desk. This is my desk btw.

If your earlobe lines up with the midline of your shoulder, the weight of your head is balanced on top of your spine. This is much easier to maintain.

This is what an ear aligned with your shoulder, and balanced on your spine looks like.

How do we get RID of THE CRUNCH?

Balance comes from an equal application of protagonist and antagonist muscles, using good form and breath.

You may have heard a few sage folks over the years talk to you about balance. Most of what they have to say, typically, is right on.

In our world, we have to make a concerted effort to work our back and side muscles so that we are even able to stand or sit straight while we work.

My husband, the gracious model for this post, is absolutely smitten by the steel mace workouts he’s doing with Esik at Onnit Gym in Austin Texas.

The secret to this rather effective, medieval adaption is the balance between push and pull, between stability and motion, and between strength and flow.

THE CRUNCH = a metaphor for a general lack of balance

Our bodies know. They are so often our teachers. When we haven’t been taking care of ourselves, in any way — it’s the role of our body to bring us back to the present. Its job is to let us know through pain and discomfort where we are out of balance.

https://justmia456.deviantart.com/art/Avatar-the-Last-Airbender-Tui-and-La-358987197

When you start working on your posture, you will often begin to discover other imbalances as well.

5 Steps to Owning THE CRUNCH

1 — Evaluate where you are right now. CRUNCH Level X.

Take the two tests listed above. Enlist a friend. Figure out where your posture is at right now, and what effect your posture might be having on your life. Are you sore? How’s your energy?

Don’t judge yourself, just take some time and examine your current state.

2 — Take the first steps towards owning THE CRUNCH. Start simply.

Becoming aware of the nature of your posture is a good first step. Learning how to breathe and relax is another.

What is one thing you can do each day to start bringing your consciousness to how you hold your physical form? How can you start to stretch out the fronts of your shoulders and strengthen the muscles in the back of your neck and between your shoulder blades.

Breath is so key here. Learn how to breathe down into your belly. Like a baby.

3 — Maintain your work over time to start finding a better balance.

Stick with your new practice. Enlist a friend or coworker to help keep yourselves aware and accountable. Get a massage. Get a few if you have time.

Persistence will be the key to reversing the long set habit you’ve developed of staying out of your flesh, and getting lost in your mind.

4 — Appreciate the journey. Monitor your progress. Appreciate your growth. Crunch Level Y.

As you start to feel stronger, pay attention. Take notice. This kind of work is small. It’s quiet. But it’s worthy of your pride. It’s worth appreciating.

Realize when you DON’T have a headache, or you’re NOT so tired after work.

Push and Pull. Ground and Lift. Hold and Breathe.
5. Pay attention to what happens when you begin to practice the art of seeking balance.

Balancing, rebalancing, and building core strength are fractal practices.

You might notice that as you start to stand straighter that your communication may begin to improve. In yoga, they call the exercises that are good for this issue heart openers. There is a reason why.

You can do it. Trusting yourself is greatly helpful.

You might need to get help.

Straightening out The Crunch can be assisted tremendously with the help of a chiropractor, a good massage therapist, and an acupuncturist.

But you must be the leader of this change. YOU must own The Crunch, and do something about it to begin the pursuit of balance.

Best of luck on your path!


Kaia is the Chief Pollination Officer at Melissity Marketing.

She helps her clients understand how to use their digital presence for good. Good for the world — and good for their business.

Her background in physiology, martial arts, western massage therapy, 5 Element Shiatsu, woodworking, technology and the internet blends to create unique solutions for you.

Visit her online here to spark a conversation.