Understanding My Posture
Like all the body’s functions, we require a balanced and integrated approach to achieve lasting postural change. By assuming a posture or bodily position that does not fit our body type, or our unique limitations, we are making it difficult for a more balanced and natural upright posture to unfold. There is a tendency for the body to take on several conflicting muscular holding patterns. What would happen if you were told to:
- Stand up straight
- Push your shoulders back
- Push out your chest
- Lift upwards from the top of your head?
While these are well meaning requests to improve posture they are finite gestures that require vigilance to maintain. It is more likely that the attempt to force an upright posture will result in secondary issues to occur that may reflect local and focal discomfort. It is not uncommon for neck and shoulder pain to be the result of poor posture. While lower back pain may be attributed to poor posture and its corresponding poor movement patterns.
A taste of what to look for
Start by bringing your pelvis to rest above your feet. Not too far forward, nor too far back...but just on top. Can you notice any tension or discomfort above or below the pelvis?
What does this do to your shoulders and neck? Are they resting any easier? Or, are you beginning to feel discomfort in other areas around your shoulders...in your chest? Your neck? Your arms, maybe?
Consider what your head is now doing? Is it placed comfortably on your shoulders, or does it rest too far forward, creating extra strain on the neck?
While this may be a simplified description, the underlying principle remains: to improve your posture you must look at what your whole body is doing.
*A note about ‘ideal’ or perfect posture
These landmarks and ‘ideal’ positions are not possible for all. They can be considered a point of reference, not an absolute requirement. We should work towards our own ‘ideal posture’, which takes into consideration the unique nature of our own body type and characteristics – allowing room for all possible variations to unfold.