Posture is how you show up in the world, and there ain’t no hiding that.
Posted April 22, 2011
My job is to help people move better in their bodies. Part of that is working with their everyday posture. I say “everyday” because posture is not something that you spruce up because someone tells you to “sit up straight” or “stop hunching over.”
Posture is how you show up in the world and there ain’t no hiding that. Everyday posture is how you sit, move, and stand. It’s how you eat breakfast and fold your laundry. It’s how you carry your grocery bags, stand in line, listen in conversation. Walk to your car. Work out. Watch your nephew’s baseball game.
Posture. Posture. Posture.
I giggle when people ask if I have a dance background. No, I don't stand in turn out. Far from that. Sports and athletics is my background. Poor posture was also my background.
The posture I have today is what I learned 13 years ago. I didn’t force it. It came as a result of 2 things:
- Awareness to how I move every day
- Attention to the exercises I choose
Mindfulness to these two taught me not only how to sense, feel, and move best. They taught me how to be comfortable being still. In other words: alignment.
If your car’s wheels are out of alignment you’ll feel the pull in the steering wheel. Same with your body. Once you teach it what good posture feels like, it doesn’t want to sway, sink, slouch, or slump. The one caveat with correcting your posture vs. getting an alignment is just that. You have the work to do. It doesn’t get done to you. But you can easily do it.
It’ll be well worth your attention though. You’ll get plenty of mileage out of it because your posture shoes up everywhere. Just like an alignment in your car ensures a safer ride because it drives straight and handles properly, an alignment in your body means more comfort and less aches to say the least. This means you’ll:
- Breathe better
- Move easier
- Feel clearer
- Improve your digestion and circulation
- Show up happier!
... Don't just stand there, let's get to it. Strike a pose, there's nothing to it. (“Vogue” by Madonna)
How do you strike a pose? Striking a pose is more than correcting bad posture. It's choosing exercises that will move you toward functional alignment. It won't happen quickly. And, it won't happen from just these exercises.
Anything that you do now will get you started. These can begin to teach your body to see it. Then when the time comes again to recognize, you'll notice.
Here are three exercises to get you started. They'll take you a total of six minutes. You'll need a pair of 2-lb. weights—two cans of soup will do just fine if that's what you have in stock. (Remember, because this is a new lesson in opening up, less is more regarding the weights you use.)
I've chosen exercises for your shoulders, chest, and back. These 3 can work together to bring you better alignment. You'll feel good after for sure.
- Backstroke—opens up your shoulders.
- Chest Expansion—liberates tight chest muscles
- Reverse Flys—strengthens your back muscles
Lisa Byrne is the owner and CEO of Pilates for Sport in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. She has a B.S. in Exercise Physiology, and is a Certified Pilates Instructor. Lisa has been in the Health and Fitness Industry for more than 23 years, operating her fully-equipped Pilates studio since 1999. Visitors to the movement studio span a wide range of physiques and abilities, and include average boomers looking for diversity; young people with Asperger's-Autism; hard-core athletes looking to “loosen up”; and those in need of chronic pain management through movement. Lisa’s website is MoveMoreToday.com.