How to Stand with Confidence
Standing with proper posture exudes a higher level of confidence and physical appeal. It also distributes the weight of the body evenly among the joints and muscles to avoid excessive strain of the lower back, the hips, the knees, or the feet.
But what is ‘proper posture’?
I’m guessing you know it when you see it, but can you describe it and know how to recreate it yourself?
I’m guessing that you don’t, because most of us don’t. We rely on statements like ‘stand up straight’ or ‘pull your shoulders back’.
The problem with this method is that it’s reactionary – it’s an intellectual appraisal of what you feel your posture ‘should be’ rather that an internal validation of how you relate to the ground, and how you orientate yourself in the world. Therefore as soon as you stop thinking about it, your old posture resumes.
Posture is not something you should ‘think’ about from moment to moment, because it is primarily a reflex activity – it occurs automatically without you thinking about it. Therefore to correct your posture you need to train yourself to engage your nervous system correctly.
“Posture is the ability to hold ourselves upright against gravity and orientate ourselves in the world”. Dr Tony Tranfield (Osteopath)
Posture is our primary method of communication with others and the method by which we judge and are judged by others.
When you speak to someone or shake hands do you momentarily drop your shoulders, drop your head and look at the ground or do you stand tall and hold eye contact?
Are you a threat? Are you a pushover? Are you a leader or are you a follower? What is your level of intelligence, your ability to make decisions, your level of health and vitality?
All these things and many more are conveyed in a split second through your posture, and this primal nonverbal communication is how we assess our place and our relationships in the world.
There are many things we could focus on, but here is a simple method for you to try out:
PUSH YOURSELF TALL: What does ‘stand tall’ mean? Where do you stand from? For most it means arching the lower back and pulling the shoulder back. It’s a defensive posture and it looks unnatural. Pushing yourself away from the ground naturally engages postural reflexes that support your spine. You will naturally feel a strong connection with the ground and the strength in your spine. Make sure that you keep your knees slightly relaxed, if you lock them out then you have stopped pushing.
PULL YOUR SHOULDERS DOWN: Gently! As you push up, gently pull your shoulders straight down until you feel a light tension in your chest muscles. This creates support in your upper back and pulls your lower neck into alignment.
TUCK YOUR CHIN: As your shoulders come down and your lower neck aligns, let you chin tuck until your eyes are looking straight ahead. (Practice in the mirror). Let your tongue rest on the roof or your mouth, breathe through you nose and ….
BREATHE DEEP INTO YOUR BELLY: breathing deep into your abdomen creates a sense of relaxed alertness and calmness.
SMILE: it puts you and everyone around you at ease!
So to recap:
PUSH yourself tall, PULL your shoulders down, TUCK your chin and let your tongue REST on the roof of your mouth. BREATHE deeply and slowly into your abdomen and SMILE.
That’s how to stand with confidence!
If you wish to learn more about posture, how to sit, how to stand and how to convey a natural sense of ease with the way you move then we recommend you take our six-week postural education program Perfect Posture Online. Perfect Posture Online teaches posture through six easy to remember principles that you can apply in any situation whether you are standing at a meeting or putting your child in the back of your car. It uses simple exercises that engage your neurological system so that these postural changes become a natural habit.
*We write regular articles on topics related to posture and balance. You can read them by clicking the menu item ‘Posture’ to the right.
If you are interested in taking our online course on posture, please click the button below to take the first lesson for free.
PERFECT POSTURE ONLINE
In this online course, we teach six principles that you can apply in your daily life to maintain a strong healthy spine.
This course is included as part of our rehabilitation if you are taking one of our 12 week programs, or you can take it on its own. A popular option is to take it with a Perfect Posture Screen with additional specific exercises to work on.
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