Recently, I gave a workshop on posture, a topic I love. Most people have terrible posture today because most of them sit all day long in front of a computer, in their cars, or in front of the TV, or they spend most of the day looking down at their smartphones or tablets. Besides, most people aren't active enough, don't move around enough after a long day of work. We notice our bad posture because our backs hurt. There's a lot of muscle tension, pain, and discomfort, but so much more goes wrong at the same time.
Here are some other issues that come with bad posture:
- We're more likely to get injured because of the muscle imbalances. Certain muscles get short and tight; some muscles become too long and tense. The body starts compensating and can eventually result in injury.
In the workshop, I ask the participants to sit with bad posture and to close their eyes and to get in touch with their senses while I asked a couple of questions.
What is your emotional and mental state like when you slouch?
Please read the questions first than try it out for yourself.
When you slouch do you feel:
- Elevated or lethargic?
- Open to opportunities and solutions or closed down?
- Are you emotionally and mentally rigid or flexible?
- Do you feel safe, or are you suspicious and wary?
- How is your breath, deep or shallow?
Then, I ask them to sit tall on their tailbones, aligning the rib-cage and the shoulders over the hips, lengthening the back of the neck, tucking the chin in slightly. I repeat the questions again. Finally, we discuss their experience. If you tried it, what was your experience?
When seating with bad posture, everyone felt lethargic, emotionally and mentally rigid, unsafe, and they could not breathe deeply at all. Sitting up tall and with a good posture made everyone feel stronger, more focused, elevated, self empowered, and more in control.
We don't realize it, but our emotional state shows up in our posture, but we can also shift our emotional and mental states with it. When we're stressed, we tend to have bad posture, but what type of decisions are we going to make while slouching forward, stressed or not?
Today, life is getting faster, and we're getting more overwhelmed. How are we going to handle our lives when we're slumped over, when we're rigid and feel unsafe, closed down, and lethargic? We aren't set up to find the right solutions physically, we aren't in the right state of mind. The great thing is that we can control/shift our emotional and mental states. We just need to take time and make it important enough and work on it. Sitting up tall is not an easy task after all those years of slouching. So start working on correcting those imbalances!
Here are the things that you can work on:
- Stretch your chest
- Strengthen the upper back
- Work on your back's flexibility and your spine's mobility
- Stretch the hip flexors (muscles that help you bend)
- Work on strengthening your glutes (butt muscles)
- Stretch your hamstrings and calves
These are very general instructions for people with bad posture, but it's a good start.
I hope this information and your experience has convinced you that posture matters. It affects your life much more than you imagined.
Take charge of your life and your emotional and mental state!