Beyond occasionally feeling sore from the way we are slumped in a chair, or straightening up in a yoga or dance class, why does posture matter? And for that matter, what is posture, beyond the phrase your mother probably chastised you with, "Stand up straight"?
Posture is essential, and a foundation for everything we do. When we embrace an open, upright and engaged posture, we receive so many benefits. Here are some:
Posture grounds us, allowing a greater contact with the earth. This allows us to release extra effort and instead spring upright, away from the earth as we use it as our ground. We look and feel better when this happens.
Posture clarifies us. It quiets down unproductive thoughts and unifies our energy, so we can go about our days whole, powerful and energized.
Posture supports us. When we let go of unnecessary tension, the deep postural muscles of the whole torso engage to make everything feel easier. We have the whole support of a back that is strong and flexible, open and engaged.
Posture breathes us. When we aren't slumping or overusing our muscles, the whole breathing mechanism can move freely, allowing the breath to permeate our torso. This calms and energizes us. Breathing well also comes in handy for playing a musical instrument, doing sports training, public speaking, quieting anxiety and much more.
By now, you must be realizing that for this to be true, posture can't be about just standing up straight. More accurately, posture is a way of being. It's not a position or something to do, like standing up straight. It's an attitude that you can embody physically, engage mentally and embrace emotionally. Posture is a resource that exists inside of you, for you.
The challenge, though, is that it's not simple to maintain the aforementioned posture. We try to sit up straight, only to find ourselves slumping a moment later. Our backs become tired from the idea of what being upright means and how to maintain that.
This is where the Alexander Technique comes in. It's one less thing to do. Read more here about how the Alexander Technique takes away what you don't need, and gives you all of the above benefits, instead.