Postural rules are INSIDIOUS in our western culture and are killing us slowly.
I believe we have to put an end to them.
It goes without saying that most people can name certain posture rules better than the capitals of most American States or Canadian Provinces.
Without fail, when I ask a new group of students in my workshops to name the most common rules of posture, they instantly blurt out: Stand straight! Then, followed by this is belly in, shoulders back and butt tucked under and chin in.
It usually goes in that order.
And then we wonder why we are all so anxious and riddled with breathing difficulties?
Try doing all of these rules at the same time – what we were “taught” – and then tell me if you feel at ease?
Even if we put the rules of posture aside, and try to forget them, we have such heavy and damaging conditioning around postural rules that our efforts are usually useless.
These rules have replaced our healthy body movement instincts with a type of disorganized internal chaos that can, and often does, breed back pain.
“Sit and Stand Straight”, but what does this actually mean?
In one of Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais’ classic lessons titled “What Is Good Posture” he writes:
“…if we look at the ideal skeleton constructed by the famous anatomist Albinus (see above photo), we shall find only two small sections that are arranged more or less vertically: the top vertebrae of the neck and the vertebrae between the chest and the hips…( ). To appreciate fully how little the accepted meaning of straight coincides with what is right in posture we have only to consider the case of a man who has broken his back and is unable to straighten it. How shall he stand or sit? Can a disable person really not use his body properly, efficiently and gracefully?” Moshe Feldenkrais, Awareness Through Movement.
How To Change And Break Free of Such Postural Rules
Rules Are Meant To Be Broken
- Know that these rules were invented out of some kind of social neurosis that attempts to order us in into “proper” beings. What looks straight, all tucked in and “perfect” isn’t necessarily good for you.
Curiosity And Ease As An Antidote
- Be curious. Seek out a path that may seem unfamiliar at first, but believe me…it is in your DNA! Allow ease and efficiency to be the guiding light.
I always, ALWAYS, go back to the baby!
How she accomplishes coming to stand for the first time – all the trials, curiosity-driven action, mistakes and a natural commitment to learning are the secret ingredients.
When you think about how infants first learn, it is through their movement. They are not trying to abide by ANY postural rules. They are not trying to be straight. They are only seeking the most optimal organization possible so that they can find efficiency and explore their new-found environment of life.
This happens via their natural intelligence.
Sometimes I can’t help but wonder why we ever got away from this in the first place!
Check out this past post that included an introduction to finding perfect posture, as well as a 10 minute audio exercise to wake up your senses.
Click HERE to head over there.
To be continued…