“Sit up straight!“ “Don’t slouch!”
“Get your hands out of your pockets!“
“Don’t cross your arms in front of you!”
THE SUBJECT of posture is not only boring (which is why it isn’t in the title) it is irritating. This is especially true of those who have been battered with similar phrases throughout their young years by well-intentioned and not so well-intentioned grown-ups who neither offered reasons or solutions.
Although our posture is determined by our muscles, how we use those muscles is determined, in part, by our emotions. Most of us are acquainted with body language, which often comes up during national elections or criminal trials. Desmond Morris was a master of and author of Manwatching and Bodywatching, but you too can and should be a watcher of people.
What And Why Is Your Posture Advertising?
Whether we realize it or not we “size up” almost everyone who comes in contact with us on a daily basis. We absorb incredible amounts of information about people in just seconds, both consciously and subconsciously.
“Movement,” says Bonnie Prudden, “anybody’s, is like the weather map pictured each day on TV… It tells all about what is going on everywhere right then at that given moment. It is also like a long-term report from a computer that has tracked the weather every single day for twenty years.”
Your thoughts, attitudes, and emotions are advertised in the way you hold your muscles. Anger and sorrow don’t sell anything. That is why you will only see lithe, laughing, artfully balanced, stress-free and fluid bodies selling Victoria’s Secret.
Each emotion advertises itself in different ways: anger, frustration, joy, fear, contentment, sorrow, and enthusiasm. In her book Exer-Sex, Bonnie asks us to look at it this way…
Now imagine that – over a twenty-year period – the emotion that was dominant each day received from your computer one dot of ink… That’s 7,300 dots. Now take your own pen and put 100 dots in just one of those boxes: 100 dots would represent 100 days, or 1.3% of your emotional states over twenty years. Now, carefully, without running one dot into another, place 300 dots (or 4%) of your possible emotional states in another box. If 4% of your emotional states were put into the Anger box, which your body would portray with hunched shoulders, tight facial muscles, clenched fists, and a stiff back, and 1% fell into the Contentment box with its relaxed muscles and sweet half-smile, what would your general posture and habitual expression be after twenty years?”
The Importance Of Self-Image And Self Examination
Much of self-image comes from feedback from other people, and also draws its strength from our relationship to those other people. When we are young we may not understand the words but we rarely miss the implication.
When we are young we don’t have the criteria to judge and so we accept, right or wrong, the feedback. From now on take a critical look at the feedback you give others (especially littles), as well as the feedback you are given.
The purpose of self-examination is to know exactly where you stand. If you know where you stand you can “get a handle” on things and take care of them before they get “out of hand.”
What Next? Start Now!
Weak and inflexible muscles, coupled with how you react emotionally over time, are the cause of most posture problems. Now that you understand that, you can begin to fix things. You will be amazed at how once your muscles are fixed, your head will go along. The ability to stand straight and tall with your head up and shoulders back, taking nice long strides does wonders for your ego and self-image.
Start by going to my May 2013 blog, Where Are My Muscle Weakness…and What Do I Do About Them? It tells you how to test for strength, weakness and flexibility for key posture muscles. It also tells you what to do about it.
For additional information read Myotherapy: Bonnie Prudden’s Complete Guide To Pain Free Living, which includes posture problems and what to do about them. It also outlines and shows you how to build a “Self Center” in your very own home. One built on YOUR needs and what is available in YOUR home.
For more information about Bonnie Prudden®, Bonnie Prudden Myotherapy®, workshops, books, self-help tools, DVDs, educational videos, and blogs, visit www.bonnieprudden.com. Or call 520-529-3979 if you have questions or need help. Enid Whittaker, Managing Director, Bonnie Prudden Myotherapy®