How Do I Improve My Posture?

December 5, 2017  by Dr. Suki Munsell

7 Effective Posture Tips from a Somatic Movement Coach

As a diminutive lady facing my mid-seventies, I don’t want to lose height.To keep myself free from sciatic pain I want to maintain the taller, stronger core I’ve built – an inner brace. I’m highly motivated to stay out of pain, to keep my lighter, lifted, and aligned posture. Here are several of the tips and techniques that work for me and my students after prolonged sitting, when standing, or walking.  Breathe deeply 2-3 times in each exercise.

 

1. After Sitting, Hang Out, to dissolve slumped posture.

  • Stand in front of an open doorway.
  • Reach your hands out to the sides of the doorway at shoulder height.
  • Slide your hands up as you stretch upward, crown of your head lifting to the ceiling.
  • Drop your torso forward through the door, lift your chin slightly and gently arch your spine.
  • Stretch through your chest and shoulders.
  • Return to standing upright.
  • Notice any changes.

 

2. Anchor the Image of a Taller Posture

  • Did you feel taller after the ‘Hanging Out’ stretch?
  • Can you breathe easier?
  • Are your muscles and mind more relaxed?
  • Do you feel your skeleton supporting you?
  • Choose words to describe your feelings. (Mine are “lighter, taller, lifted, and aligned.”)
  • Build better posture by anchoring these word images into your somatic awareness by saying and feeling them simultaneously.
  • Reinforce these feelings frequently during your day to build a stronger highway of neural connections. Build a new body image.
  • Replace old postural images with new postural images.

 

3. Stop, Look, Listen and…

  • Stop at any time during your day and close your eyes.
  • Breathe fully, relax, and become aware of your postural image.
  • Ask what your body needs to feel taller: shifting positions, stretching, releasing your shoulders, breathing deeper, going out for a walk?
  • When poor posture shows up – Stop, Look, Listen and…Practice what’s needed to re-build a taller posture and happier body.

 

4.  Stand and Walk Taller – The Shirt Pull

  • Cross your wrists in front of your waist.
  • Imagine pulling off a shirt as you lift your arms skyward.
  • Grow taller through your spine as you lower your outstretched arms in your peripheral vision, just forward of your sides. (Don’t over-arch your back.)
  • Repeat 3 – 5 times while standing or when walking.
  • What other postural images do you notice?
  • Sense your body building core muscle strength to maintain the lift out of your hips.

 

5.  Walk Safer on Trails – The Eye Scan –  adapted from racecar drivers

  • Walk tall with your head level and eyes at the horizon.
  • Lower and lift your eyes to scan the path from far to near, near to far, and repeat.
  • Relax your eyes like sponges as you absorb all the visual data subconsciously feeding your brain.
  • Walk tall and release any neck and shoulder tension that crimps posture.
  • Pivot your head to enjoy your surroundings then return to the Eye Scan.
  • Notice your results and anchor them within.

 

6. Build a New Normal – Dynamic Stretching

  • Watch this video to lengthen and align your spine in all five primary positions, the foundation for all exercise, dance and activity.
  • Gain flexibility in your spine, shoulders, hips and ankles.
  • Relax and rebalance your five sets of leg muscles.
  • Embody taller posture.

 

7.  Stretch and Strengthen – Leaning Plank Series

  • Use this video to rebuild core posture after slumping over a desk, kitchen counter, or when watching TV.
  • Learn eight primary spinal and leg stretches to build strength and elongate your body.
  • Notice your results and anchor these new postural sensations.

 

Want more? Join our Mailing List for upcoming news, events and blogs. Like Us on Facebook. Attend our classes to re-build your posture with balance and ease.  Join our weekly Dynamic Tai Chi and Qigong classes, Dynamic Swimming, or Dynamic Walking trainings. We regularly have a 5-6 decade age-spread in our classes! Keep your spine youthful at every age.