If you are in a position for more than a few minutes at a time, it is helpful to be aware of the body’s symmetry when viewing from front/back (see center picture in diagram below).
When we are children, we are much more flexible than adults and we get used to being in distorted, asymmetrical positions without discomfort. These habits can cause problems later when we become more, hmmm, mature. Sleeping on one’s stomach is a prime example.
Asymmetry looks like:
turning/twisting of the head, shoulders, hips, etc.
one leg pulled up underneath while sitting
leaning to one side (as in on the arm of a chair, a center console or armrest of a car)
legs crossed, either at knees or ankles
To avoid turning/twisting, be certain to face whatever you are looking at (ie. The television, the person you are speaking with). I remember an experience on an airplane that left me with a very sore neck and a chiropractic visit. I was too polite not to look at the interesting stranger sitting next to me while we talked for the two (or was it three?) hour flight, which was a big mistake. Since then, I tell people sitting next to me that I am paying close attention even though I’m not looking at them all of the time because I want to save my neck!
Also, be aware that our asymmetrical postures tend to be even more asymmetrical because we tend to do them more frequently on one side or in one direction: when crossing the legs, for example, most people almost always cross their legs in only one direction. Another common asymmetry is watching television from an angle so that the head must be turned to see it.
Do yourself a favor and be on the lookout for your own asymmetries today!