Good posture communicates confidence and a sense of ease, but it also reflects good health. When our posture is poor, we may feel sluggish and weak. When our posture is good, we’re filled with energy, strength and balance.
Most of us seldom consider our posture, taking it for granted. If we decide to make a conscious improvement, we might do a few shoulder rolls and focus on standing up straight while we are thinking about it. But achieving and maintaining posture is an ongoing process. Here are a few things you can do in just minutes a day to program excellent posture into your muscle memory.
Remember that posture involves more than just your back and shoulders. Think of your body as a chain of parts that are all interconnected, from your ankles up to your knees, on up through your hips, abdomen and lower back. Posture involves the full length of the spine and extends from there into the neck and shoulders.
This chain needs to be not too tight and not too loose. Michael Taylor, a yoga teacher and healer, suggests you imagine your body “like water in a glass – easily and fluidly movable, encompassed by a nice big container that keeps us from spilling all over the place!”
Taylor suggest four specific areas of movement. Spend a little time on each area every day, and your body will gradually, gently come into perfect alightment.
1. Get on your hands and knees (or feet!) and move everything you’ve got, in every direction you can move it.
This exercise lets you move and explore the entire length of your spine, in all directions. This type of movement facilitates the development of all the small supportive muscles along the spine, thus helping your ligaments stay in the best position for healthy alignment.
2. Get up on your feet and challenge your balance.
Play with your sense of balance, to develop and fine tune those small muscles that support your body. They are key in hold you hold yourself. They need to be engaged and developed evenly, so you will naturally relax into an easy, relaxed posture. You’ll know you’ve achieved natural good posture when it happens with no effort on your part.
3. Get all-around STRONG in your core!
If you exercise at all, you know trainers emphasize a strong core to keep your back healthy and your posture erect. Do some exercises (like those in the video below) that move your core in all directions, beginning from the center. This will heal and strengthen your body’s natural alignment.
4. Release and relax the hips and hamstrings.
Wind up your routine with easy releases of your hips and thighs, by once again moving these areas of your body in all directions. Taylor explains that your legs and hips are an integral part of the chain, critical to the way you stand, sit and move.
Taylor describes the awakening of all the parts of your body as “a wonderful orchestra” in which all the pieces must be in tune. If you want perfect posture, tune your orchestral with happy movement.
Here is the link to Michael Taylor’s video demonstration of these four exercises for perfect posture.