Martha Graham said, “The spine is the tree of life. Respect it.” Yet contemporary lifestyles do anything but… Our backs and hips ache from sitting, our necks seem permanently craned over smartphones, and our hyper-drive habits of visual consumption have our bodies slouching in ways that wreak havoc on us both physically and psychologically. In recent years, science has been showing posture to be a magic bullet for everything from low back pain to low energy and low self-esteem. Add to this (in case you haven’t heard) that sitting is the new smoking and grandma’s “stand up straight!” becomes more valid than ever!
You can literally begin to feel better, more confident, energized, alert, empowered, and even sexier simply by standing up straight! It’s instantaneous, free, and totally doable!
But what does “good posture” really mean??? Although the idea makes sense, there is much confusion and misinformation about what good posture actually is and how to do it effectively. Ballet technique develops good posture because moving the limbs with grace and freedom requires an especially well-supported spine And even though you may not be pirouetting around town, incorporating balletic principles of good posture into your everyday life will make you feel like you could!
Posture is NOT about standing still. It’s about supporting your spine whether you are moving, standing, or sitting.
Here’s a Posture Primer that will have you feeling tiptop anytime. For maximum benefit, get on your feet. Try these principles both standing and moving–they work no matter what!
BASIC: For Posture Happiness:
- Feel long through your lower spine.
- Hug in your core.
- Drop your collarbones and feel wide across the chest.
- Remember to breathe 🙂
ADVANCED: Add these elements to attain Posture Nirvana!:
- Feel your shoulders moving sideways away from one another. (Be careful NOT to pinch them backwards! You just want to gently widen them.)
- Feel the top of your head floating up toward the ceiling.
- Release your chin, jaw, and neck.
- Soften your brow and eye sockets. (Especially great for our over-worked optic nerves!)
Kicking the habits of both slouching and sitting and replacing them with some good posture elements promises a bounty of self-reinforcing mind-body rewards. Supporting your spine improves mood and energy levels while also relieving much hip, back, and neck discomfort. At the same time, good posture provides mild conditioning of the core and back muscles, so what at first requires concentration and effort very quickly becomes second nature. Try it and see for yourself how a little spinal respect can make you feel more empowered and alive!