We have all heard that ‘standing up straight’ can make you look and feel more confident but your posture is more important to your health then you might realise. It reveals not only your genetic and social heritage but is also the sum of your mental and physical habits. It is as individual to you as a fingerprint.
The more stressed we get the more our posture distorts. If the nervous system is too over stimulated the body will start to tense and malfunction. Improving your posture has been proven to have a direct influence on both your physical and emotional wellbeing.
Your posture is constantly changing, small daily changes accumulate so that postural habits become increasingly ingrained and visible over time.
Your postural habits are just that - primarily unconscious ways of holding and moving yourself that feel normal. Once you realise that they are just one way of organising your body and not necessarily the most efficient or beneficial then you can become open to changing these. You can begin to feel new connections and relationships within your body that will allow you to stand, sit and move with more balance and ease.
Every muscle in your body exists because it is functionally valid: it is needed as part of the greater whole to provide stability and movement. Standing, walking, sitting, squatting, getting up and down, climbing, hanging, pushing, pulling and carrying provide plenty of exercise for every part of the body. However, our overly comfortable modern routines do little to encourage the necessary varied activity that is so vital in keeping us healthy.
In truth just about any movement performed in a functional way can and will improve your alignment and posture. To move functionally means to move in a co-ordinated, efficient and energy saving manner with an awareness of what is happening in your body. This enables you to balance the forces through your body so that no single muscle or joint is overly compressed, stretched or stressed.
Balancing the body is an interplay between relaxation and tension. Muscles often become chronically tense to compensate for an inefficiency in other areas and a release of tension in certain muscle groups often requires an increase in activation or tone in other parts. It is the soft tissue of the body that holds the bones in place and not the other way around. This ‘plasticity’ means that with the correct input the body has huge potential for change at any age.
It is a fact that we get better at what we practice, this is true whether it is consciously or unconsciously. Becoming aware of your own postural habits and then understanding how to change and improve these will not only enable you carry less tension and become more comfortable in your skin, but as your posture and movement improve this will result in better organ health, an improved immune system, a more balanced and healthy nervous system and a greater sense of wellbeing.
Small but consistent changes make a big difference over time.