Our posture both reflects and creates how we feel and how we live, so obviously good posture is so important! When it's not so good, we often feel more sluggish and weak, but when it's good, we feel great! We have lots of energy, and we're strong enough to do anything we want.
Since our posture is created by what we do all day, it might take more than a few shoulder-rolls to get everything perfect. But there are some things you can actually do for just a few minutes each day that will help your body learn (and remember!) the optimal ways of moving and holding still. From here, great posture becomes an all-day, every-day good habit!
It's helpful to remember that posture isn't just about your shoulders and back. How you hold yourself builds on a chain of interconnected parts — beginning at your ankles and then knees, up through your hips, belly, and lower back. From there it runs up the full length of your spine, into your neck and shoulders.
You want this chain to be not too taut, not too loose, but just right in the middle. Think of your body like water in a glass — easily and fluidly movable, encompassed by a nice big container that keeps us from spilling all over the place!
Here are four key areas of movement that I cover in-depth for you in the video below. Try getting into each of these areas every single day, and your body will start to align perfectly and your back will thank you!
1. Get on your hands and knees (or feet!) and move everything you've got, in every direction you can move it.
This gives you a great way to move and explore the full length of your spine easily, in every possible direction. This kind of movement is critical for development of all the small supporting muscles along your spine, which in turn helps your ligaments restore and maintain proper position for healthy alignment.
2. Get up on your feet and challenge your balance.
By playing with balance, you further develop and fine-tune all the small supporting muscles in your body. These muscles are the key to how you hold yourself. When they're engaged and evenly-developed, you will naturally hold yourself up just right (without even tiring!) and be ready for anything.
3. Get all-around STRONG in your core!
We all know a strong core is necessary for a healthy back and good posture. Here, we'll get into your core as we did before, by moving evenly in every possible direction. By starting this multi-directional movement right from your center, we'll check off a key element in healing and strengthening your body's natural alignment systems.
4. Release and relax the hips and hamstrings.
Finally, we wind it down with some easygoing releases for your hips and thighs, by exploring all around these areas again, in every possible direction. Your legs and hips are a key part of the chain that sets up how you stand, sit, and move, so keeping them stress-free and easily movable is important.
When you awaken every inch of your body and move happily, your body becomes a wonderful orchestra — all the pieces in tune, playing the best music there is.
Want perfect posture? Tune your orchestra! Move happily, everything you've got, in every direction you can. Do it every day, and you're going to like what happens to your body, I assure you.
Here's the video to get you started. Enjoy!
Mike Taylor is the co-founder of Strala Yoga, along with his wife, Tara Stiles. He studied mind-body medicine at Harvard University and complementary medicine at the University of Oxford. Taylor has practiced Eastern movement and healing, including tai chi and qigong, for more than 30 years.
More from the author:
The Complete Guide To Yoga