My mom always tells me to bring my shoulders back and stand with a straighter back. Being the confident go-getter that she is, she wants me to walk like a winner as well. But there’s more at stake than a confident look.The muscles you use are the muscles you train, whether you know it or not. When I slump my shoulders forward I am training my body to keep them there. Over time, the collarbone tightens and the back muscles loosen. This restricts circulatory movement and shortens diaphragm movement which leads to less energy and faster aging. Other bad habits are leaning the head forward or sticking the tailbone out, putting stress on the lower lumbar.
To reestablish my alignment, I simply reach my hands to the sky, and then let them drop to my sides. Just like that, my spine and shoulders are set where they’re supposed to be. But it never stays that way because my mind wants my shoulders scrunched forward any moment I feel sadness or discomfort.
Pretty much all yoga poses, if done correctly, strengthen the muscles needed for good posture. Usually instructors say things like, “tuck the tail bone in” or, “put your weight on the balls of your feet”. Meanwhile we dig into the tight spots and find where tension is being held. The practice becomes an exploration as we learn more about ourselves through the body.
It’s incredibly interesting how much of a living metaphor the body is to the mind. Those who do yoga to burn calories will release negativity. Those who do it for detoxification will receive an emotional release. Those who want for flexibility will find emotional resilience. And those who look for balance will find tranquility.
This is why having proper posture is a good look. People are naturally drawn to a confident, upright disposition, and associate slouching with being tired or lazy. Standing up straight shows vigor and vitality, while slouching can indicate defeat or apathy.
My mom is not always there to remind me, so the key is to find a way to remind myself. I want my posture to bring me good health, longevity, and to be a sign of how willing I am to open my heart to the world. Most importantly, I want to send a message to myself that I am watching, and I care.