Thursday, May 12, 2011

Posture Tips for Dummies: Don't stand like this!

Walking along Lexington Avenue on Tuesday evening, I passed by three ladies in cocktail dresses.  I tried to issue these fashionistas a warning, but they were unresponsive.  They were so nonchalant and all "whatever" that I don't even think they realized I was speaking to them.  I was concerned that they would suffer from herniated disks before even reaching their dinner destination or if they did manage to get there, they were asking for trouble down the road.  After several failed attempts at alerting them to their problematic posture, I stepped back and paused for a moment.  Something wasn't quite right.  The had appeared to have mastered the art of blas√© so effectively that they hadn't moved for two solid minutes.  Then I noticed the glass in front of them and discovered that I was talking to a trio of dummies.  I guess I sound like the dummy in this situation, but they just looked so real.  I mean EVERYONE stands like this.  It's become completely normal to be totally slumped and like you know, "casual".  See how the mannequins' necks look like they are sagging down, their shoulders and upper backs rounded and stiff, their lower backs arched and their pelvis' thrust forward?  Apparently if you want to look good in these very expensive clothes, you have to slump and hang back.  It has become fashionable and sexy to slump!  And it's not just a physical thing, but an attitude is certainly being conveyed here - passivity, detachment, apathy.  Posture and how we use our bodies is intimately linked to what we think and our attitude.  So what's the big deal?  Aside from the negative social ramifications of people aspiring to detach themselves, there's some very concrete physical danger here.  Slumping down creates compression in the spine and can cause all sorts of trouble such as back pain, sciatica, and herniated disks. 
So why did I mistake these folks for real people?  Because so many real people stand like this!  And not just fashionistas!  Spend hours in front of a computer and it's easy to become slumped and detached from the world beyond your screen.  The slumping becomes so habitual that we forget how to stand upright without straining.  The Alexander Technique helps you to discover what's gone wrong and to allow for change so that you can stand up straight efficiently, without an unnecessary and uncomfortable effort.  Rediscover how to naturally stand, sit, walk, move and do "like whatever" you do.  Time to get up from my computer and take a walk!

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