Document Actions

An Alternative View of Posture

What do you think about when you hear the word "posture"? Does it cause negative feelings to arise? Did just hearing the word make you straighten up?

The definition of posture is "The position or bearing of relative parts of the body".  To most people this means something difficult or awkward - something that they aspire to but think they have.  I would like to present an alternative view of posture that may change your feelings about it and help you to live better.

Apart from any negative connotations there is a problem with the word itself.  Post implies a static state and we are not static beings.  We are moving beings - it is very unusual for us to be completely still and it serves no purpose most of the time.  The only people I can think of that do not move are soldiers standing guard and then it is just for ceremony or show.

What matters is our actions and how well we perform them.  At any given instant the positions of the parts of our body may or may not be optimal but the efficiency of how we perform an action is what determines our effectiveness in the world.

Around one third of the people I see in my practice say that they want better posture.  Almost everyone has been told to stand up straight or sit up straight by people in authority - especially mothers and school teachers.  As a result many people view posture as an indication of good and bad or right and wrong.  People feel that they are being poor citizens when they do not meet the requirement for upright rigidity that has been placed up on them.

In a moment we will talk about optimum posture but first let's look at why it matters - in other words what is the point of optimum posture?  Our effectiveness in the world can be judged by how well we do in the three essentials of our existence:

* Self preservation
* Self maintenance
* Reproduction

Optimum posture is the dynamic changing of positions that best supports these essentials.  If we photograph the position of the body in any action we can judge the posture by how well that position supports the body's ability to do three things:

* Move in any direction with ease
* Move without preliminary adjustment
* Expend the minimum amount of effort

All that sounds good so far so how do you get it?

Through action and through learning new things.

Our experiences affect our posture - as we get older we become more idiosyncratic - our ways of doing things - including moving - become more personalized.  Your posture is the summation of everything that you have done to date.  If you want to change it you add actions and experience.  It is a developing process and it is a part of your identity.

Learn new things and allow what you learn to help you in other areas of your life.  Consequently you will develop new ways of being and improved posture.

If you already do something well, try doing it poorly in as many ways as you can think of and then return to it.  You will find that your skills have improved and so has your posture.

Remember that posture is not a moral value - it is not one of the seven deadly sins and it does not indicate whether you are good or bad.  So called poor posture does not mean that you will not go to heaven!

Our posture varies from moment to moment and throughout life.  It is nothing more than an aid in our quest to be the best that we can be.

Think about how well you do the things that you want to do.  If you are happy with something that's fine but if not find better ways to do it and you will enjoy life more.

Look for ease and comfort in what you do.

Learn to think of posture as your friend and enjoy life more.