A guide to a better posture 🚶♀️ 👐🏽 🏃♀️
You’ve probably experienced this in your daily routine. Having a back pain when you clean your teeth front of the mirror, when you carry your kids, or just sitting at work in front of the computer. Every time it’s happening you think : “I should get an appointment to the physio for next week.”
But even if the physio’s massage can be very efficient, it won’t make any difference in a long term. This is why we ask Anna - an Alexander technique teacher, how can we improve our posture for a better life.
What is human posture?
Posture is not a fixed place. When we talk about posture, there is not just a unique good one. Posture is the way you stand and relate to the ground. The human posture is a mechanical place where you allow your body in an effortless way to stand and move.
Human posture is to find that balance where all the body can work in an harmonious way.
What does it mean to have a good posture?
A lot of the time we confuse good posture with standing upright. Maybe your parents told you to “sit up straight” “open up your shoulders” “keep your head high” etc. A good posture is one that doesn’t limit the body. It’s one that doesn’t collapse, but it’s not tense at the same time and allows freedom for movement. When your body has habits, you might feel that it’s the right posture, when you’re restricting your body. The right posture can be painful at the beginning, because the body needs some time to find the right habits.
How do I keep a good posture when sitting on a chair?
Posture is not a static place. Your body is never static. Even if you’re standing, your body is always in a constant state of rebalancing the weight. It’s good to start with awareness. Since we are sitting, the first point of contact and balance is sitting on bones (the bones that make up the bottom of your pelvis). Most of the time we roll the pelvis back and we’re actually sitting on the coccyx. The sitting bones are specially designed to spread your body weight. Your back posture should allow you to deep breath easily. The second important thing is to discover your hips joint movement rather than back curving. Standing in a same place for a while is never good, so I would suggest to stand and walk for a bit few time a day if you work in an office.
How do I know if my posture is not good?
There are three ways to know that you have a bad posture. Your body will send you signs to make you aware. You might have pains or limitation of movement. But there’s a tricky thing that we call “Faulty sensory awareness” when your body has had a bad posture for your entire life, it’s become the norm. You can’t always trust what your body tells you unless you can actually see it. The second is self observation. Mirror, video and slow-motion are some easy ways to check out how your body reacts to certain things Third is to obviously consult an Alexander technique specialist for reasons I will explain later on.
What are the benefits in having relaxed shoulders?
Having tense muscles means that you gradually shorten the muscles due to not enough blood and oxygen flowing through them. You exhaust them for no reason. The muscles in your shoulders are directly linked to connect your head with your torso. By tensing the shoulders, you immediately tense the whole area of your neck and a lot of muscle in your head and your jaw. This can cause headaches and jaw pains. Having shoulder contractions restricts the motion of your arms and also affects your breathing. The whole shoulder girdle is resting on the top of your ribcage. The moment you tense the shoulder you restrict the breathing and a constant state of restricted breathing leads to a state of anxiousness.
So why would you tense your shoulder ??? 😉
What are the simple exercises / steps to keep a good posture?
The best way to maintain a good posture is actually to increase awareness of your body. The more you are in tune with what’s going on, the finer you get your receptor in terms of “What’s going on in my body?” “How do I react in certain circumstances?” Then you can look ahead and protect yourself. Most of the time, we throw ourselves in situations without listening our bodies. So it’s very important to give some space to the body to adjust to the circumstances.
Here is a quick introduction to how maintain a healthy spine. This is call the Semi Supine position and it's recommend to be practiced 15' / day. It's a good way of giving yourself a ‘little Alexander lesson’.
How can it improve someone’s health to have a good posture?
There are physical and psychological benefits to have a good posture. It’s a circle physical unity. By having a good posture, it’s mean that you allow space for each part of your body to function at it’s most efficient level. By doing that it means that you have better movement, more coordination. And because of that spaciousness and rearrangement of your body you leave space to the organs to work properly. Lungs can fill up properly, the heart has space to pump well and you give it a nice massage with your diaphragm because it can move easier by having space in the ribcage. Then your intestines are not compressed and can receive the food and work efficiently. Everything has more space to function in a better way and allow you to have this feeling of openness and spaciousness in your body which directly link to a more positive attitude.
Why should someone care and ask support from an Alexander Technique specialist ?
It’s very important to mention that the Alexander technique is not a treatment but an educational system to be able to take care of yourself on your own by having a wider understanding of the move and function of your body. When you come to an Alexander technique specialist, this person is a teacher who will give you a lesson. It’s not a process done to you, like a massage or a physiotherapy, it’s a lesson and it happens with your assistance. It’s a very valuable lesson that can be applied everywhere and can help you become better and more efficient at anything you do.
What's your background Anna, and How did you come across the Alexander technique?
I trained as an actress, back in Greece. My first contact with the Alexander technique was through drama school. It was very amazing to see how with slight manipulation of your body you could create a whole different character. I’m an anatomic geek. The mechanisms of the body just blew my mind. Then I came to London to study and became a teacher. Since then it’s been the most fascinating thing I ever come across.
Book a lesson in London with Anna