Follow this exercise with its opposite movements. Inhale on raising the arms slowly, so as to place fingers at the back of the neck, letting the middle fingers meet on the protruding neck-bone, lean the head back and curve the spine gently backwards as far as possible without overstrain or discomfort, exhale as the arms are slowly returned down to the sides. These two "forward bend" and "backward bend" movements should be practised till they become quite easy.
In time it will be found that the dip of the head can be deeper, and the hands may be closed and yet easily touch the ground. The inward bend of the head should be gradually increased if it is • found easily possible to do so, pressing
The most simple way in which to practise an erect and graceful carriage is to balance something on the head and to walk across the room it slightly with the hands to make the rounding of the spine more complete.
These backward and forward bending exercises must be proceeded with slowly and cautiously, and never continued after a sense of fatigue is experienced. Breathless-ness will never occur if the breathing is carried out as explained.
The exercises should not be done immediately on rising from the horizontal position by those disposed to giddiness, nor by anyone immediately after a meal. People whose arms are shorter than normal, or their lower limbs longer, can never touch their toes with stiffened knees; such must be content to bend as low down as they can. Many, however, gain a suppleness by practice that enables them to accomplish what at first seemed impossible. The writer knows women who have looked from ten to fifteen years younger in figure through the use of these exercises only.
A crooked spine, combined with hip disease, is frequently developed by habitually adopting a lopsided position, as when resting most of the weight of the body on one leg and easing and shortening the other, by carrying a weight in one hand or a child on one hip. Also by sitting sideways when writing, or by sitting on one foot, a common practice with young girls. But the greater number of cases of spinal curvature are apparently due to a neglected hereditary predisposition.
Parents who see their children daily are apt not to notice that there is anything wrong with the spine, and women will suffer for years from a "weak back" without dreaming that it has been brought about and maintained by certain mal-
When the shoulder muscles become relaxed, the ribs are depressed, the chest flattened, the breathing powers lessened, and the vitality lowered positions in sitting or standing.
The immediate adoption of correct positions and a series of physical culture exercises may, if carried out persistently, replace an inelegant and weak attitude by one of grace and dignity. To sit comfortably, correctly, and elegantly, a chair of suitable proportions should be used. The writer had all the chairs in her nursery graduated in their heights from the floor to suit the limbs of the children. The depth of the seat of a chair from front to back should be such that the seat comes under the back of the knees in front, and supports the end of the spine at the back. The chair-back should meet the shoulders, so that they can rest against it.
The attitude acquired by the trunk when in the correct standing posi-tion must be adopted for correct sitting, and the soles of the feet must be placed flat on the floor. This method of sitting is the least tiring and most restful. The constant use of luxuriously deep and much-cushioned armchairs will ruin the best of figures.
Below is given an exercise to help straighten the upper part of the back and to clear off and counteract the effects of stooping and of fatigue incurred during the day.
When in bed, remove the bolster and place the pillow underneath the shoulder blades, so that the top of the shoulders, also the neck and head, are unsupported. The back of the head should only just touch the mattress. Remain in this position for a few minutes, or for as long as it is comfortable.
What to breathe is more important than how to breathe. It is quite natural for everyone to think they know the proper way to breathe. Unfortunately for the health and beauty of the nation, the art is known but to a few. How to breathe, however, is not such a difficult question to answer as where to breathe, especially by townspeople.
Breathe one must, by night and day, in the house and out of it, in trams and 'buses, lifts and tubes, churches and places of amusement - wherever we are, we have to
Round back isoften seen in children, and is largely the result of bad positions adopted at study
The correct position to assume to cure a round back. Place first the back of one hand then the other against the spine, between the shoulders. Place as high and keep as central as possible purify or pollute our bloodstreams with air or whatever noxious mixture may happen to do duty for that life-giving element.