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What is good posture?
Myth Buster #1: If I hold my shoulders back I will have good posture

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What is good posture? The Myth Busters!

Do you remember being told as a child by your mother or another adult, “Stand up straight!”? Did you really understand what you were doing in the first place in order to change it? Maybe you noticed your shoulders rounded forward. It is very likely that this is what the adult who was admonishing you noticed as well. So maybe you forced your shoulders back and pushed your chest out forward. This may have become a habit and many of us still do this now as adults. However, if we get distracted we may forget to push our shoulders back, then we may be disappointed with ourselves, thinking we just don’t seem to be able to keep ourselves standing or sitting up straight. This didn’t do much for our confidence as a child and it doesn’t do much for it now.

Posture is an action, and it is temporary and always changing. We are always adapting how we are standing because gravity is acting upon us. We don’t see gravity, but we feel it. But as with all our movements and functions it is not just about individual parts. Holding ourselves upright in gravity is a well coordinated team effort between all the players of our body, our nervous system and even our emotions. And like any good team, it works well when the communication between the members is working well. Just like the words in the song, the idea that “…the knee bone is connected to the thigh bone” really is true! All the parts of us are communicating together in a constant loop. We may look like we are simply a combination of parts, and it may be hard to believe that the ankle way below is connected to the collar bone up high, but even in walking and standing, all these connections are how we put our intention into action.

So just pushing your shoulders back, which is one little part of the picture, doesn’t take into account the whole picture, such as how the shoulders are connected to the spine, and how the spine is affected by the position of the pelvis, and so on. There are so many pieces and parts inter-relating that it would be hard to have an intellectual change on each one in the right order! Often when we try to do it this way, we may help one thing a bit but this creates a problem elsewhere. This is a little like the expression, “robbing from Peter to pay Paul.”

What if you sensed and explored and helped all your team members work together? What if you did mindful movement explorations such as with the Feldenkrais Method’s Awareness Through Movement® lessons and stood up from a lesson and felt more upright… without trying? By reconnecting to yourself, listening to yourself by sensing what you feel in movement, tending to yourself during a lesson, all parts of yourself come together to work as a whole, and improvement in function, such as standing and posture, really is possible. As Feldenkrais said, we are “making the impossible possible, the possible easy, and the easy elegant.”

Imagine what this will do for your confidence.

Look for future Myth Busters!

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Pixie

    Thank You Dorothy for guiding me out of old habits, like forcing my shoulders and other areas of my body, in the name of ‘good posture.’
    I look forward to each ATM class and becoming in tune and naturally aware of how my body needs to move. Many Thanks!

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