Posture is a huge concern.
I remember being told over and over “sit up straight, don’t slouch, shoulders back”. Even so, I eventually ended up with a niggling back pain.
This is puzzling to say the least. If you have done what you are told and still end up with the pain, what is the real answer to ‘good posture’?
The happy ending….it became my life’s mission to get to the true nature of posture.
Here I share answers that are meaningful to the whole issue.
Five Myths about Posture
Myth #1: Bad Posture Is the Cause of your pain
Although many articles and blogs might be written as if it’s a proven fact, I have yet to see this working.
True Fact: Surprisingly little evidence bears out that a strongly rounded spine is the basic cause of painful effects. Anyone then with bad posture would be thought to have more pain, but this is not what most clinical studies have found. Even a very upright person can have a lot of back pain.
Myth #2: Good Posture Requires Constant Attention
The concept that ‘good posture’ must be maintained determinedly throughout each and every day can become a ‘rod to your back’ (don’t mind the pun).
True Fact: ‘Sit up straight’, ‘hold yourself erect’ and the modern take – ‘activate the core’ lead to subtle muscle over-contractions. This gradually becomes chronic tension and muscle binding. Humans aren’t robotic muscle machines. ‘Sit up straight’ is taught with good intent, however the method needs a deeper exploration to be effective to avoid the pitfalls .
Myth #3: Good Posture Requires Extra Effort
‘If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again’!
Well, I think not. So often, clients that I see have become irate with themselves because the effort they put into doing what they’re instructed makes no difference; yet the pain increases. So they try even more effort!
True Fact: Increasing the effort is actually opposite to what is required. It is not a win-win. It leads to exhaustion and disgruntled days. Exploring the habits to eliminate structural muscle distortion; when working will feel easier. One of my clients observed after instruction, “I feel so much easier”. Get it? This equals much less effort!
Myth #4: Posture Means Holding Still
Most folk aim for their idea of “good posture” leading to statue like fixing. The result: they (unconsciously) hold the breath to keep the rib cage stable. This leads to contracted hip and shoulder muscles. And because it’s hard to maintain, it soon reverts to the norm. The slump!
True Fact: Whether standing or sitting, the body is in constant motion. This means always allowing everything to move that wants to move. Indeed this is an automatic. However, you can be conscious of not ‘holding’ a position in your head and neck, hips or legs for example.
Think of a cat, ready to pounce on its prey. It is completely still. Yet every muscle and limb is always poised for action, alive and toned. Breathing totally free.
Movement; always conscious, allowing subtle tiny motions is alive. Your brain is constantly anticipating your next move no matter how small and making postural preparations for it.
Myth #5: Straighter and More Symmetrical is always Better
My friend after being told how he should look, spent three months, trying to ‘be’ that straight look. Fortunately he discovered this was entirely counterproductive.
True Fact: Developing dynamic and constantly free, un-clenched movement allows easy balance. It’s all about this. Every person has a unique bone structure and therefore each person has unique differences in skeletal shape. Some have one side slightly different to the other. No one person is exactly the same; even identical twins differ according to their use.
The bottom line is that ideal posture is different for everyone, so don’t rely too much on how your posture looks or judge how it feels. If it isn’t effortless, it isn’t working.
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