If someone asks you to stand up straight, how would you accomplish the task? I ask people to stand up straight repeatedly over the course of a day and I often see the same physical answer to the response. Most people stand up straight or stand up straighter by taking the arms up and back which in turn lifts the chest.
This is an amazingly consistent response and from my perspective this is an unconscious action in need of changing. Here’s why:
- The arm should hang from the shoulder.
- The base of the ribcage should be parallel to the top of the pelvis and the floor.
The bullets above represent two essential pieces of the grand posture puzzle and taking the arms up and back in order to stand up straight will never be the right fit in a successful vertical arrangement.
It would be best to achieve good posture through the upward extension of the spine. And for me initiating the lengthening of the spine through the back of the body creates a softening at the front that allows for the arms to hang freely and the ribcage to orient for the freest flow of breath.
The search for better posture has to start with a retraining of the brain so that we perceive ourselves correctly in space and we learn to lose some of the unconscious patterns that we don’t know that we are employing.
Here’s an easy suggestion for today. Try to stand differently. Maybe not even thinking right of wrong or even trying to stand up straight. But stand differently. I would suggest taking the legs back and the upper body forward. You will feel like you are leaning far forward but this posture will probably be better than your default posture.
You won’t believe that when you first do it but I can promise you that the ability to actually stand up straight has to start with learning how to change your mind.
…and stop taking your arms back.