Healthy posture is the #1 health secret you’ve already heard about, but need to practice more often.
Millions of years ago our ancestors began to walk upright. Going from crawling to walking, and eventually running, they evolved rapidly. They developed intellect and emotional capacity greater than that of our more primal ancestors. As posture improved, so did the potential for deeper insight, wisdom, and the ability to tackle complex physical and emotional challenges.
Good posture benefited well-being, and humans evolved to stand upright.
Now, this isn’t linear. Certainly not all humans have enjoyed the biological advancement that is posture. Over the last two centuries, the need for physical labor has been reduced by machines, and knowledge may be valued more highly than emotional stability.
Life is different in the 21st century.
Humans sit more and move less, and as a result, they may live less fulfilling lives than their ancestors.
This might not be you, but you should be curious about the power of good posture, because it has an effect on your livelihood.
Marriage with gravity
Your physiology evolved to connect with gravity. Good posture, mental well-being and optimum bodily function are synonymous.
For instance, with every 30 degree deviation from gravity the spine has to hold another 40 pounds. Ever walked around with a 40 pound weight? Not easy. Now, imagine how much pressure this puts on your heart and other vital organs. How might that make you feel emotionally?
Learn to check in by imagining the spine in alignment with gravity. It will give your body and mind a break from unnecessary pressure. You’ll develop new awareness of posture muscles that support your spine so that you don’t just “puff out” your chest to correct slouching.
Freedom of movement
Quick posture test… Can you look back over your shoulder without feeling strain on your neck or back?
Like water moving down a hill, gravity’s pressure finds the path of least resistance in the body. Inertia is transferred from tissue to tissue and eventually either used through movement, or stored as potential. Too much potential stored without release will create resistance in the form of scar tissue or bound tendons and ligaments. This leaves you feeling tight and often sore.
When there is restriction in connective tissue, your posture suffers. Taking time to unwind strained tissues and stretch gives your body the freedom to move. The more freedom to move, the better you feel.
Relax the belly
Ever wonder why skilled vocalists never seem to take a breath?
After finishing a note, the body naturally refills air by inflating the belly. This process is developed over time. The vocalist practices relaxing the belly, and breathes by pushing the diaphragm gently down, rather than up.
Belly breathing turns on your parasympathetic nervous system (responsible for relaxation). This relieves pressure on the spine and allows the lungs to expand around the ribcage.
Less pressure = less stress.
Boat and mast analogy
Imagery can be helpful to maintain good posture. Imagine your pelvis as a boat floating in water and the mast of the boat as your spine. As you move, the pelvis will need to be fluid but stable, and the spine upright to maintain buoyancy. Consistency and balance are the keys to success.
Now, imagine that you are the captain of the boat, conscious of what is needed to steer in the right direction and avoid obstacles. When the boat is off-kilter, you can be off-kilter. Use this analogy as a tool to check in with yourself, and remedy what is or isn’t working. What might the boat need to be fixed or looked after? You may be tired and in need of rest. Or you might be feeling great, ready for more adventure.
Whatever the journey, keep the boat and mast analogy in mind to help you steer your posture – and your life – in the right direction.
@Copyright Darren Becket