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How Is Your Kid’s Posture? – Part 2

How to achieve better posture

Correcting bad posture by unnaturally holding your body tighter might have you or your child standing straighter, but all of you will end up more tensed up.  My first step with clients is to point out what they are doing that’s adding to their problem. Their self corrections will shift one area only to put some other area further out, so it’s a process.

Anish Kapoor
Image by Alan Trotter via Flickr

Next I show them with their own body how to stand relaxed. Everyone is leaning back. Of course it doesn’t feel that way or you would shift it. When I put you straight you’ll feel like you’re leaning forward, but a mirror or photo will show you that you’re actually straight. That little shift can make the difference for some clients.

Once you are ”forward,” you can begin to relax your stomach. This is much harder for adults than kids. Not only have we been told to hold it in, we want to hold it in to look good. We create a girdle of tension. (As an aside, not only are girdles for women coming back – now there are girdles for men. We put aesthetics before health.)

Next I have my clients relax their shoulders. Many of us hold them up around our ears. Those neck and upper back muscles were not meant to constantly hold your shoulders and arms up. The shoulder girdle is meant to sit on the rib cage. Most people hold their shoulders back which increases the upper back tension and makes for even more shallow breathing.

Most necks are forward. But pulling your neck back will only produce more tension. Your neck is forward because your chest is back from the whole body being tilted back and also often from slouching. When your chest is stacked above the pelvis, your neck can naturally readjust to the correct position above the chest.

You or your child can get help from a yoga instructor, Feldenkrais practitioner, or a Rolfer to assist in creating better posture. You can go to my Rolfing site, www.align.org, and download a free ebook on how to run naturally. Running naturally is the same as walking naturally, you just lean forward less with walking. Learning the natural walk is the quickest way to teach yourself to have better posture. Play with the walk. Watch others walk and stand. See how many times in a day you can self-correct. If you were fully relaxed, you would be perfectly straight… without effort.

Owen Marcus, MA Certified Advance Rolfer, www.align.org, 265.8440.

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