How do you know that you have gotten your message across? When someone gives you a nickname, of course! And for me it was ‘The Posture Queen’. I absolutely love it. Having the opportunity to be part of a yoga retreat in Santorini as a guest speaker, has been truly special. I was so happy that the participants and the facilitator, the gorgeous and talented Candace (@yogabycandace on Instagram) loved my presentation about postural awareness. And, let’s face it, Santorini is just a gorgeous spot to work in, so I didn’t mind at all. I hope it may also inspire you to visit.
My new nickname, The Posture Queen, I have to say is very fitting. As I’m deeply passionate about posture and about health in general. In my massage practice, I quickly realised that a lot of my clients’ aches come from postural habits. Postural habits usually develop early during normal development, because typically nobody corrects how a child stands and walks.
But, how early can this happen? Well, actually it can start before the baby is even born! This became acutely clear to me, when I visited family with a newborn baby. The baby had positioned itself in the womb with the head leaning to the right. After birth, the baby kept holding the head in the same position. Luckily, the pediatrician picked it up, and prescribed baby physical therapy. Most people that I see were not so lucky. It is likely that they kept their initial postural habits, perhaps even from before their birth. There are, of course, other ways to develop postural habits as well. For example, changing weight distribution in the body after injuries, or prolonged events in life such as pregnancies or carrying children on one hip.
A Little About The Workshop
Sometimes, postural habits are easy to spot, especially when looking at strangers. We tend to turn a blind eye towards our own postural habits or those of loved ones. I can see postural habits at an instant because that’s what I specialise in. The workshop I held at Santorini was all about postural awareness. Not many know how much our posture can impact our health. How we stand, sit or walk impacts all other systems in our bodies.
During my talk, I pointed out some common postural habits, and positions. Funnily enough, everyone knew someone with these habits. For example, standing with an anterior tilt in the pelvis, i.e. tipping the belly forward and therefore creating an exaggerated lumbar curve in the back. Or distributing the weight unevenly through the body and holding one shoulder higher than the other. Next time you are out and about, have a look around, maybe you can spot these too.
Posture Assessments and Alignment Work
I asked participants to walk on the spot for a couple of seconds, close their eyes, to move their head up and down a few times. By doing this, it allows the body to relax and stand in its most comfortable position. From there I took posture photos and explained the pattern that I saw. I also spent some time correcting people’s gait, their standing or sitting positions during the yoga retreat. Additionally, I worked with participants on their patterns by recommending specific exercises and stretches focusing on their muscular imbalances, and ingrained postural habits. Some reported feeling a difference straight away, others noticed muscles working that had been a little inactive.
If muscles do not work as they should, for example the glut muscles in walking, they can feel quite weak when they finally have to do some work. This also creates another issue as other muscles tend to take over, and become tense and overtired very easily. Some felt certain muscles stretching as I corrected their postures. It is important to note that some postural habits, such as wearing high heels, can cause chronic shortening. The stretching effect can be unpleasant at first, however the body will get used to it.
Do you want to learn more?
Check out my eBook ‘Ten Tips for a Better Posture’. It includes education about posture, and exercises that you can do to be more aware about your posture and that are helpful in correcting some of the typical lifestyle choices, i.e. too much sitting.