4 Keys to Perfect Posture
Posture both reflects and creates of how you feel in each moment. Even more, it both reflects and creates how you feel about yourself. I never think there are shortcuts to much. But in this case, there might be one.
I just wanted to share a little with you about posture today. It could be a funny thing, because maybe it sounds just plain boring. But it’s coming up nearly constantly in some practice I’m doing these days with a young elite athlete.
He’s figuring out how to begin all his movements from center, from a place that doesn’t get tired, and doesn’t overwork the rest of his muscles. So he’s learning how to move in good position. Creating the right base to support where he is and where he needs to go next. Moving his center always within that base, not extending too far, not forcing things then having to compensate for mistakes.
Which all together means, Posture. When it’s not so good, you feel sluggish and weak. When it’s good, you feel great. You have plenty of energy, and you’re strong enough to do whatever you want.
Since posture is created by what you do all day, it might take more than a few shoulder-rolls to get everything perfect. But there are some things you can do for a few minutes each day that will help your body learn and remember the best ways of moving and carrying yourself. From here, strong posture becomes and all-day every-day habit.
It’s helpful to remember that posture isn’t just about your shoulders and back. How you hold yourself builds on a chain of interrelated parts from the ground up: ankles and knees, hips, belly, lower back, continuing the length of your spine, through your neck and shoulders.
You want this chain to be not too tight, not too loose, just right in the middle. Think of your body like water in a glass. Easily and fluidly movable, contained by a good structure that keeps you from spilling all over.
Following are four basic areas of movement, that combine to create the right conditions in your body for naturally perfect posture.
1. Move, everything, in every direction.
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.
From here, you’ll 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 critical for even development of the small supporting muscles between each vertebra, which in turn helps your ligaments restore and maintain healthy alignment.
2. Balance. Get on your feet and challenge your balance.
By playing with balance, you further develop and fine-tune all the small supporting muscles throughout your whole body. These muscles are the key to how you hold yourself, and how you move.
When they’re well and evenly developed, you can 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.
3. Core. Strong from your center.
Everybody knows a strong core is necessary for a healthy back and good posture. But the trick is, the supportive strength you need doesn’t come from linear exercises like crunches. It comes from from every-directional movement.
This movement begins in your center, and radiates throughout your whole body. So if you’re looking to be strong here, you want to connect your whole body together as one whole body, and get all your parts to move first from your center, in everything you do. When you do something like this all day long, no matter what, you will be very, very strong here.
4. Drop the tension. Release hips and hamstrings.
Your legs and hips are a key part of the chain that sets up how you sit, stand, and move. When you hold too much tension here, it inhibits your ability to move naturally. You wind up fighting against this tension just to move, and it’s a fight that knocks you out of your best alignment.
Yoga is a good place to practice all these elements. So is tai chi. But luckily, so is everything.
You don’t need to wait for yoga time to feel good. You don’t need to wait for anything, to feel good about yourself. This one is an always everywhere in everything practice.