I was hesitant to writing about the topic this month, hence the delayed date. Nevertheless, the topic in mind could prove to be one of the more helpful if I can just find the right words to use. You see, posture is not an easy thing to describe, as one person’s proper posture might not look anything like another person’s proper posture. The practice that we must use to achieve proper posture has to do in large part with the inseparable body/mind aspect.
From a very young age, I was told to “stand up straight, be proud” as if just throwing my shoulders back and standing tall on my feet would somehow make me feel good about myself. Well Dad, I know you are reading this and I will say it in front of everyone, you were absolutely right.
Think about a time when you accomplished something that made you feel brilliant. Do you remember how you carried yourself? Nine times out of ten you were most likely in your proper posture: head in “Cloud 9," shoulders retracted back, chest maybe just slightly (or maybe even more) puffed out, legs straight with a strong foundation in your feet. There you have it! (For an image of how this posture might look, click here
Our bodies do much of our speaking for us. If our intention is to present ourselves as a confident and self-assured person, nothing we say will speak louder than our posture (a.k.a. body language). Unfortunately, for many of us, our bodies have forgotten our proper posture. Certain misfortunes, tragedies, and challenges that we experience in our lives leave their mark mentally and physically. In such instances, learned behavior like proper posture becomes less important as out body/mind aspect returns to its most basic concerns: suppression and protection.
To use a food analogy, if I’m hungry, it’s very easy for me to get in my car, drive to a fast food place, order food, and begin consuming it before I even return home. As most of us know, the easiest option isn’t always the best option. Re-teaching a body to assume its proper posture is not easy. As with most things, it’s all about practice.
More often then not, we won’t feel so brilliant on a daily basis. If we keep practicing and commit to presenting our best selves in all situations and circumstances, our physical bodies begin to feel lighter, more confident, more fluid, and our minds will soon follow.