Our posture – the way we hold and move our bodies – depends on our activity, our habits and our emotional state – and it can change.
Posture is a recurring topic in massage sessions. People wonder if poor posture is exacerbating a problem. Sometimes I notice a pattern suggesting posture is a factor. Poor posture can cause problems, but it’s also a symptom. If we want to improve posture it helps to remember that is the result of circumstances – physical and psychological.
Unhelpful inherited values
We’ve all tried “standing up straight” only to flop back down a few moments later and give up. It’s easy to conclude there is no point trying.
There are so many things wrong with “stand (or sit) up straight” it’s hard to know where to begin. Firstly it assumes there is good and bad posture – not very helpful. Secondly the negative tone has echoes of a parent or militaristic school teacher. It makes us think that it’s our fault we have “bad” posture.
When we do try to adjust our posture we’re probably not sure what we’re doing. We have no route to progress and nothing to guide us. We didn’t decide how we would like our posture to be and how to achieve it. It’s also really hard work. We’re trying to force ourself into a shape we’ve labelled “good” posture and soon stop because it’s so much effort. When we do stop our body reverts back to the position it was in before. We call it failure and don’t want to try again.
So, let’s take a more sensible look at what forms our posture and how we can work with it.
Our posture isn’t set. Our bones are dynamic – moved by our muscles. Our spine is a series of joints, each with a range of movement. Habit and how we feel are also very important. We are generally not aware of our posture. Our unconscious mind takes care of it. Luckily for us though we can take control and with practice change the pattern.
You can change the position of your body more easily than you think. The trick is to find a position which is comfortable and looks good then you will want to adopt it. It’s then a matter of forming new habits.
It helps to look at the whole body. The angle of our pelvis, for example, is going to affect our lower spine, which in turn affects the upper body shape.
A positive attitude is important. We are moving to something better for ourselves that we have chosen.
Because it’s hard to do this on your own I have designed a practical workshop to look at your posture, see how you feel about it and how you would like it to be, make some suggestions and together come up with one or two easy things you can repeat frequently throughout the day – positive steps towards the posture you want.
My posture workshop is to help you
– know where you are starting and what you are trying to achieve
– feel confident about what you are doing
– find something sustainable you can integrate into your everyday life
– find something realistically achievable that will give you results
– feel supported in the process and have something to guide you
What happens in the workshop?
We look together at your posture and talk about how you see yourself and how you would like to be. Using photography helps.
Then I help you find a new posture – something you feel good about. Again we can use photos and see how you feel when you see yourself.
You’ll get chance to try your new posture – take it for a test drive. We want to make sure it’s going to work from day 1.
Once you have found and practised your new posture, you can leave with a sense of purpose, direction, realistic expectation and the photos to remind you, inspire you and guide you. I can also check up to see how you are getting on.