MYTH #1: Good Posture means Chest Out and Shoulders Back
Reality: Good posture is not about getting it right, it is not about positioning your shoulders. This way of approaching posture creates back muscle tension and is not sustainable. In a daily context, by pushing your chest out and pulling your shoulders back, you soon find yourself slouching right back to where you started (unless you are a “chronic holder” which does not serve you either). Good posture is a dynamic and integral part of fluid functioning, not a deliberate holding in place. Look at young children! No effort whatsoever. It is your birthright!
Solution: Instead of letting your mind manipulate your skeleton by engaging your muscles, learn about integrated body use so you can let your innate body wisdom handle your posture for you. You are using your body in an integrated way when all body parts are working in harmony together guided by your innate body intelligence. As a result, you experience your skeletal system strength instead of using unnecessary muscle tension.
MYTH #2: Exercising Core Muscles promotes Good Posture
Reality: Yes, core muscles are crucial for good posture. Only they are not the muscles you may think. Just like an apple core is the center part of the apple, core muscles are also located deep in your center. Inner muscles and outer muscles must work in harmony but they cannot all be equally engaged at once. When you engage your outer muscles to feel strong, you are automatically disengaging your core muscles.
Solution: When you challenge your body in whatever position or exercise you chose to; give your core muscles a chance to step up to the plate and strengthen by not tightening your outer muscles. For instance, if you are doing a plank, you stay in your plank all the same. The challenge of it remains, only disengaging the outer muscles allows the core muscles to kick in. The secret here is to keep your skeletal alignment. Then, listen to your whole body. Do not expect the inner muscle work to feel like the outer muscles when engaged. Inner core muscles work deeper, quieter and are felt more as a whole body experience.
Her open hands, smile, and her open upper back suggest she is building Flexible Strength rather than Body Stiffness!
This also means she is allowing her Core Muscles to step up to the plate and strengthen!
She is cooperating with her Whole Body Wisdom.
Her uptight upper back and neck, her held facial expression and tight fists are clearly signs
she is building Stiff Strength in her Outer Muscles & not allowing her Core Muscles to step up to the plate and strengthen!
She is not cooperating with her Whole Body Wisdom.
MYTH #3: Stretching & Strengthening Back Muscles promotes Good Posture
Reality: Stretching and strengthening the back as it is commonly done is working the big outer muscles of the back, the ones you can feel being stretched and exerting effort to strengthen. It may feel good when you do it but “feeling good” and “being good for you” are two different things although they can happen together when in line with your whole body wisdom.
Solution: Discover your postural muscles for effortless and sustainable good posture. These core muscles get increasingly stronger when you let them do their job of supporting you instead of you engaging the big outer muscles to do the job. It is all about developing trust in the wisdom of your body. You don’t need to work so hard like in the plank example given earlier. Work smarter instead by choosing to experience what flexible strength feels like. The fact is that you are still building the same amount of strength. And that is the strength of the cat, not an ounce of stiffness in their body, but they are quite strong when they need to jump or pounce on a moving target.
MYTH #4: Good Posture is all about Proper Alignment
Reality: The truth is that there is more to good posture than proper alignment. If you are holding yourself in what you think is the right alignment, you are doing just that, “holding yourself”. And the way you are holding yourself is with excess tension. Besides, you are forcefully going again the synergy of your own body so either it is not sustainable or you are building chronic tension.
Solution: Exploring how much holding you are actually doing would be a first step. Then, choose to no longer hold your skeleton with tensed muscles. Connect with your skeletal system, keep its height, and discover its own strength. That will change the synergy of your whole body so you can experience what it is to be bone tall with relaxed muscles!
MYTH #5: Gravity challenges Good Posture
Reality: Not so. Gravity promotes good postural balance when you use yourself as you are designed to. When you lose your skeletal height, you are not balanced above your support efficiently. As a result, gravity claims the heavy weight of the unsupported head forward and down. It also brings the shoulders with it whether you are sitting, standing or walking.
Solution: By learning to be balanced above your support, the need to push up disappears without being replaced by the urge to slouch. Allow your weight to be evenly spread on your feet when standing and learn to find the balancing point of your sit bones when sitting, and voila, anti-gravity action works for you instead of against you, propelling you upwards effortlessly like children do all the time!
Do you want to learn more about this mind/body approach to natural good posture? Do you want to learn how to reclaim efficient moving for balanced living? Join my latest FREE 6-part EMAIL SEMINAR: "How to Unlearn Habits that Create Body Stiffness On and Off the Mat" (Based on the Alexander Technique Principles and Facts)