While you don’t likely give much thought to how great your posture is, others do notice the way you stand. We are judged by how we hold ourselves. It’s the difference between someone looking confident and healthy and someone looking beaten down.
“Good posture is the outcome of good muscular coordination throughout the entire body,” explains Noël Kingsley, author of How to Free Yourself from Back Pain and practitioner of the Alexander Technique, a method that helps us restore natural balance, poise and coordination.
“Perfect posture is about feeling free, broad and expansive and standing at your full without effort or stiffness.”
As children (between the age of three of four), we begin to develop bad habits that distort our body’s natural posture. The Alexander Technique taps into the instincts we once had and liberates the body from this self-inflicted strain and tension.
“Posture is a reflex we all have in us and getting it ‘right’ should be nothing more than a thought, basic messages going from nervous system to the muscles,” explains Kingsley.
The idea is that you can tell your brain to lengthen your spine and reach to its full potential. Think of the head as going upwards and your back lengthening and shoulders widening.
The Alexander Technique re-teaches us to coordinate and harmonize our muscles so that we can become freer, more upright and release muscle tension. (Simply standing up straight won’t help; doing so, you make yourself rigid and stiffen your neck.)
Bad posture can affect our breathing, concentration and self-confidence. People with poor posture are often stooped and shy and this is often perceived as a sign of weakness. An improved and upright poise will bring you back to your full height (up to five centimetres) giving you something that in the long term will allow you to reach your full potential.
“Better balance means you are not leaning forward or stiff and will maintain a calm equilibrium through difficult circumstances,” adds Kingsley.