It’s amazing the power of a better posture. It has the ability to reflect how you feel, how you look and how you live. You just can’t beat it for an instance boost. We know how we feel after a long day at the dreaded desk; all hunched up, sluggish and generally a bit pants. A shift in your posture can lift you, help you breathe better and make you feel strong. Let’s practice it now; lift your chest, roll those shoulders back and take a big deep belly breath. Can you feel that boost of energy? Good stuff isn’t it.
Sadly, good posture takes time and practice – we need more than a few shoulder rolls to get things moving in the right direction. Posture is created by what you do all day, everyday. Never fear though, there are some things we can do for just a few minutes each day that will get you well on your way. In the same fashion that we can train bodies or minds, we can train ourselves in the best ways of moving and carrying ourselves. In this way we create a routine for a better posture.
It’s helpful to remember that posture isn’t just about your shoulders and your back. How you hold yourself starts from the ground up: ankles and knees, hips, belly, lower back, the length of your spine, through your neck and into the shoulders. Think of this chain like a belt, we want it to be not too tight, not too loose – but just right in the middle.
I’m now going to talk about four basic areas of movement that combine to create the right conditions in your body for naturally perfect posture.
Begin where you’re comfortable, it can be on your hands and knees, or your feet. Now move everything you’ve got, easily, in every direction you can move it. I know this can feel like a very odd sensation when you first give it a go – like that awkward dance on a night out! But I promise it starts to feel really good to move your body in a more organic way. We often stick to very lineal movements, and when we step away from this, really lovely stuff can happen.
From here, you can explore the full length of your spine, and move in more directions than you’re used to moving. You’ll notice when you give yourself the freedom to move this way, it feels really good – more like exploration than exercise.
This kind of movement is really important for gaining strength in the small supporting muscles between each vertebra, which in turn helps your ligaments restore and maintain healthy alignment.
By playing with balance, you further develop and fine-tune all the small supporting muscles throughout your entire body. These muscles are the key to how you hold yourself, and how you move. When you start to improve your balance you will begin to hold yourself in an optimal position for whatever you’re doing. From here, you’ll be able to do more with less effort, avoid injury, and heal more easily – all good stuff!
Now this is something you’ll hear me talk about in every class I teach. We all know a strong core is necessary for a healthy back and good posture. But the trick is, the supportive strength you need comes less from linear exercises like crunches, and more from multi-directional movement.
This movement begins in your centre, and radiates throughout your whole body. So that’s why I always have one song (and you know it’s usually Fleetwood Mac!) where we work on different core exercise to help you get to know your core and build that strength.
Your legs and hips are a key part of the framework that sets up how you sit, stand, and move. When you hold too much tension here, it inhibits your ability to move naturally, and knocks you out of your best alignment. Many of us know how it feels when our alignment is out of whack, it has a ripple effect throughout the whole body which can affect us in multiple places. Finding those natural moments and learning how to move with ease in your body will help to eliminate this tension and help you find your best posture.
I hope these tips will help you on your journey to a better posture. As a lady of just 5ft2 I know the power of a good posture. So stand tall and find your inner strength.