“Stand up straight! Don’t slouch!”
Folks, I would like to introduce you to my friend, Katie Bug. We will just call her Bug. Bug is/was a ballerina. She knows more than I could ever begin to know about posture and the incredible importance of it for healthy living. Posture is a very crucial tool in the Grand Experiment. Here is Bug:
We’ve all heard it before growing up. For me, I heard it more often than your average kid. As a ballet dancer, it was a mantra that was hammered into me from day one.
And there was good reason. From a physical perspective, having good posture is everything in ballet. It’s how we stay centered and aligned. It’s what allows a dancer to spin, turn, jump, land, balance.
It also allows us to breathe deeply – a necessity when you’re dancing, or just plain living as Bryce has taught us. Try it right now – put your shoulders back and lift your head & chest up. Can you feel how much more deeply you are able to breathe? Now try it again slumped over. Not the same, right?
There’s a mental benefit to posture too. It’s what gives dancers the confidence the moment we walk on stage and establishes our presence to the audience. It’s no different when you walk into a meeting, go on a blind date or coach a little league team. When you slouch, it looks as though you are trying to hide or take up as little space as possible. Your message to others is “I’m not comfortable.” A strong posture says “I am confident. I am powerful. I own this.”
THE QUICK AND DIRTY TASK: POWERFUL POSTURE
Improve your posture. Own your space.
It’s not hard to improve your posture. You just have to become more aware of it.
My college dancer teacher, a former soloist with the New York City Ballet, had us imagine we were wearing a diamond necklace from Harry Winston every time we were on stage. It won’t sparkle unless your posture is just right. Try thinking of this, or pick something else that strikes your fancy.
To learn how it feels to stand with correct posture, stand with your back to a wall. Your shoulder blades, buttocks and heels should touch the wall. Your ears, shoulders, hips and knees should all be aligned in order to distribute your weight evenly. When you are sitting in a chair, your hips should be as far back in the chair as possible, and keep your feet flat on the floor.
Be conscious of it throughout the day, especially if you have a desk job that has you sitting most of the time. Inevitably you will start to slump at some point – it’s only natural when you’re typing and get tired. Take a moment to realign, or take a short walk around the office.
It may take some time for your muscles to adjust, especially if you are a serial sloucher. Don’t get frustrated – just keep at it.
It’s such a simple action, but it can make all the difference in the world with how others perceive you, but more importantly, how you see yourself.
Check out this post for some other good tips and benefits of good posture.