Good posture = comfortable body. No tension. Strong, flexible.
Bad posture = mechanical stress. Pain, inflammation, damage. Restrictions.
The body is a remarkable machine, able to function with a lot of damage and restrictions but, to have a good posture, you must be free to move and adapt. Every position you are in matters to your body.
Connective tissues run through the whole of the body, from head to fingers to toes.
Physical restrictions within connective tissues negatively affect posture. Physical restrictions reduce range of movement, and the whole body must adapt to compensate when restrictions are present, altering our positioning to less than ideal.
Muscles are the body's 'tissues of action', adjusting the body and creating a better posture through movement.
Posture can be:
Posture can be improved by consciously working with the right muscles for a sufficient length of time, so that an active posture becomes the passive norm.
Working with the right muscles facilitates the release of physical restrictions in connective tissues. Releasing restrictions regains movement, allowing posture to be further improved. An ongoing process.
The five main muscles of movement are the key muscles to focus on to improve your posture:
These 5 (paired, left and right) muscles provide the central framework for a healthy, strong body.
When fully functional, and the body is free of physical restrictions, the 5 main muscles of movement allow the head, spine and limbs to be in the correct relative positions.The body is balanced and physically aligned.
"A neutral spine" is often mentioned when talking about good posture. The main muscles of movement create a neutral spine.
Become more aware of how you use your main muscles of movement (whatever you are doing and whatever position you are in) to assess and improve your posture. It takes time and focus to learn to use the right muscles and improve your posture. Little by little, improvements are made.
Whatever you are doing, your posture will be good when the 5 main muscles of movement are correctly used.
Sensory feedback from your body supplies more information about your posture than any external assessment (someone else) can. This feedback is part of your sense of position, motion and balance, known as proprioception. Becoming aware of this feedback from your body is the basis of conscious proprioception, the connection between body and mind.
Increased awareness of your sense of proprioception allows you to assess your posture for yourself.
Self-assessment facilitates self-correction of posture. Micro-adjustments in positioning, too subtle to appreciate on clinical exam, can have wide effects throughout the body (everything's connected), which can be felt when the body-mind connection is strong.
Working with the 5 main muscles of movement to improve your posture and increase your sense of conscious proprioception starts from Base-Line: pelvic floor Base, rectus abdominis Line.
Your Base-Line is the central reference needed to assess the positioning of the rest of your body. Think of your Base-Line muscles as your 'core pillar of strength' from where the rest of the body extends.
Working from Base-Line will increase awareness of the relative positioning of your midline anatomy, to feel your state of physical alignment and balance.
Posture isn't static - we are constantly on the move, and a good posture means we can move well, free and unrestricted, through a full range of natural movement.
Learn a little anatomy - familiarise yourself with your 5 main muscles of movement, find them on your body, feel for how much you can activate them.
Feel for balance between left and right of each of your main muscles of movement.
Explore your range of movement, supported by your Base-Line muscles.
The roll-down action was my go-to move as I focused on activating and extending my Base-Line. Do whatever feels right to you. The more you work with your main muscles the more progress you will make.
Learning to use the right muscles brings an understanding of what a good posture is. The body feels strong and comfortable. Movement flows through a full range of natural movement.
Becoming aware of anticipatory postures and the activation of the wrong muscles is an important step in correcting the dysfunction. Breathing with your Base-Line and focusing on the location and activity state of the main muscles of movement will facilitate the correction of bad postural habits that have developed.
It takes time and effort to improve your posture, things only you can provide. Think of how you are put together and what level of body awareness you have.