Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Good Posture is Good for You

AND ...

Good Structure Enables Good Posture

Here's a nice video which makes the case for keeping good posture. Especially with all the electronic devices which have become integral to everyday living, from dawn 'til dusk.

Take a look at this short video. Then, there's something important you should know which will make all the difference. Specifically, what underlies and determines posture in the first place.

Now that you are convinced that good posture is vitally important when you stand and when you sit, I'd like to add some further understanding.

Posture means, "A position of a person's body when standing or sitting." While this is a general definition, let's expand it to include all the positions a human body can assume. Think of the exquisitely beautiful lines of the ballerina. Or, the marvelous range of possibilities demonstrated by the expert Hatha Yoga practitioner. Heck, even to eat a slice of Pizza there are a set of postures you will need to execute if you want to get that delectable from plate to pie hole.

Then, there's "Structure": 1. (Noun) The arrangement of and relations between the parts or elements and 2. (Verb) Construct or arrange according to a plan; give a pattern or organization to.

My first point is this: POSTURE IS DETERMINED BY STRUCTURE. The trunk of the palm tree can bend flexibly in the wind; an oak, no way. They share their common essential tree-ness: leaves, branches, trunk, roots. But structurally, how they are built dictates the way they move, or don't. Same with humans.

Essentially, a human being can take so many various postures; yet, there are structural constraints. For example, you can't see the back of your head. Or, try to touch your elbow to your nose. Or, a rather graphic example, you can't knee yourself in the nuts. (Thank God.)

The key distinction to be understood in respect to structure is in the area of how we humans all share the same essential structure, yet just look at all the unique individual structural differences

This may be a new idea to you. After all, take a look ... people are all going around with their heads and necks on top of their shoulders. The arms go here, the legs there. Your nose is not 12 inches long for a reason. If it were, it would be a foot. Mostly we register our fellows in these general terms. It takes a trained eye to discriminate the details. 

Look a little closer, and you will see what I am referring to here. So much variety in terms of how things have in fact become put together. A typically obvious one is the shoulders. It's fairly common to see one shoulder higher than the other. Or, one closer/smaller to the chest. Maybe, one more to the back or more in front than the other. 

Here is a still from a recent TV commercial. I rest my case.

Complications ensue. Such imbalances are not just local. They exist in a complex with compensations throughout the body. Notice in the image above how the neck and set of the head have accommodated the variations in the shoulder girdle. Structural issues in the pelvis/pelvic girdle are reflected in the shoulder girdle. Vice versa. The set of the legs and feet give rise to corresponding balance/imbalance in the segments higher up.

How come? The short story is that each of us is shaped by our individual history. That, adding in a mix of habits, both good and bad; unresolved traumas and accidents; insufficient training (Who taught you to stand and sit?); modelling adults around us who themselves may not have been good exemplars of proper posture and structure. Repeated postures become set in the fabric of our flesh. They become structured in owing to the ability of the soft tissue of the body to mold/take shape with repeated patterns of use.

Like the story about my Uncle Stash. He had rounded shoulders and a flat forehead. Turns out when you asked him a question he would shrug his shoulders when he didn't (very often) know the answer. When he learned the answer, he would slap his forehead. We are indeed shaped by our experience(s).

I have a trained eye and see deeply into body structures, whether standing still or in movement. To further illustrate my point about individual structural differences, why not you take a look. At how people walk. Ideally, where there are lots of people to observe. Each us learned to walk pretty much on our own. Each has history we carry along. Now look at how, even with all the same parts, there are so many individual random patterns. Some better that others. Not by my own metric of what looks good. But by the simple standard of how continued over time patterns reinforce themselves, then get fixed into the flesh. And, projecting out how some patterns down the road will lead to complications. When we see a person moving in equipoise with ease and grace, we are instinctively moved by the self evident power and presence. Why? Because it's in us to have the same. It just takes some conscious doing to make it a reality.

My other point is this. IF STRUCTURE IS IMBALANCED, THEN POSTURE IS LIMITED. For the average person this may not seem like such an issue. Most people get along well enough. Muddle through? Even here though, I would suggest considering how structural imbalances and their compensations might drain energy and limit options, even in the mundane and ordinary. And, long term, it may have a little to do with how gracefully (or not) we age. With all we do to make sure our children have every advantage in life, where is the training on the proper use of their bodies?

And then there's the other matter. That's when we turn our attention to activities in which posture is a key factor. Dance. Sports. For example, just look at all the invention and training that goes on among golfers. All the paraphernalia, all the lessons and instructions to get the perfect swing. Now consider how all that goes on without addressing the underlying unique personal limitations each player brings to the game fixed into the fabric of their flesh. It's just not on the radar. Yet.

Are we missing an opportunity because we assume that the shape [read, "structure"] we have come to identify as ourselves is somehow fixed? That's just the way I am? Born that way? 

Structure, unlike how we grow bigger and stronger as we mature, is not automatic. It is learned. Since the body is changeable, we can take advantage of that natural plasticity to move toward a place of more structural balance and integrity. 

As a Rolf Practitioner my career focus is on human structure. Restoring proper structure. Balance. Educating correct structure where it more often than not hasn't shown itself in the first place. My enthusiasm for this approach is based on the eye opening results I discovered for myself when I was looking for resolution to chronic movement problems. Also, that the work is grounded in basic science. Just like it is for any three dimensional structure on Earth, the human body must adapt to the constant pull of Gravity. Any architect or building trade worker will tell you that Gravity dictates balance around the vertical, all even and level. So too for the human body.

I guess I can't discuss subjects such as posture and structure without giving my profession a plug. I offer personalized assistance to bring the structure of the body to a vertically upright, unstressed, even, and level stance. The approach is peerless and definitive. 

If you want to live pain and stress free. Enjoy living unencumbered by past conditioning. Realizing your full potential, both physically and creatively. Then getting in balance is for you. 

First step. Do something about your posture. If you find your structure is in the way, then you may want some expert assistance.

At your service.

David D. Wronski

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