In this video you can see a short talk I gave to the London YES Group in 2015. I only had fifteen minutes so started off with a very quick and somewhat oversimplified introduction into what having good posture is, some ways to feel if your body is in balance, and four exercises you can do to improve your alignment.
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What does having good posture mean?
As I mention in the video, when I first meet someone say at a party and they ask me what I do, my reply is to say “I’m a posture correction specialist”.
They usually smile (because they’re surprised!) and almost always consciously try to straighten up and stand taller.
Why does almost everyone do this?
It’s because of the prevalent myth that good posture is all about consciously trying to force your body into a better position, that you have to think your way to better body alignment.
This is a well-meaning but lousy approach, because within a short time you’ll get distracted by something else and return subconsciously to your normal posture.
Furthermore, for many people it can feel uncomfortable and painful, and how do you know you’re actually in a better position for your body anyway?
You don’t spend your life just sitting or standing still. Your body is designed to move and so good posture is about your body being in balance in everything you do, from bending down to pick up a pen, to walking, to dancing, and of course to sitting and standing still.
So how can you improve your posture?
Well, ultimately it’s your brain that controls your posture and it does this via your muscles.
If your muscles are working efficiently and are in balance from left to right, and from front to back, then they will hold your body in good alignment.
Nowadays we rarely give our muscles the variety of work they need to stay balanced. From a young age we sit for long periods behind a desk at school, and later as adults. This combined with stresses and injuries in life, can cause our muscles to become less efficient and unbalanced, resulting in postural misalignments.
The way to improve this is to get those muscles more balanced by doing specific posture correction exercises which stretch, strengthen and wake up certain parts of your body, so your alignment is better without you even having to consciously think about it!
In the video I show four general exercises to start this process. Remember, it’s not the whole solution, but in many cases a good start.
When trying these exercises at home, please make sure that none of them cause you any pain. If one does, then just skip it and move onto the next one.
If you feel like all of them are a little too tough, or you’re in too much pain that none of feel suitable, then please don’t think that there’s no way to improve your posture.
There are literally are hundreds of posture correction exercises, all with differing levels of intensity, and there will be some you can do more comfortably.
I’ve worked with many clients who struggle to walk and who can’t get down on to the floor, and so far I’ve always managed to give them some exercises to get started.
Ameet Bhakta BSc, DipHE
I’m a posture correction specialist based in London and Tunbridge Wells, certified by the Egoscue Institute and founder of Health Through Posture.