P4H formula

The P4H Formula in action

In last week's post, we introduced you to Bill's P4H Postural Postulate:


.... with an example of how that plays out when carrying a load, such as a box of books.

Let's use another example: this simple act of standing.*

Everyone knows that standing properly is important. Teenagers have been admonished to "Quit slouching and stand up STRAIGHT!" since the beginning of time. (Who knows? Maybe primates first became homo erectus as a result of mommy apes barking that very command! But I digress...)

Q: When we are standing, what is the 'stress load'?

A: Gravity.

Gravity wants to pull us to the ground. So, in order to stand upright, we are 'managing a stress load'.... literally.

And, how do we best manage that stress load?

~ We make sure our feet are positioned shoulder width apart, and parallel to each other. This is the beginning of good posture because it grounds us. Standing with our legs crossed, or, with one foot jutting way off to the side is not an efficient posture, because our grounding is compromised. Furthermore, if we are standing on a roof top, or the deck of a boat, we will want to adjust our stance to match the terrain.

Which is easier to stand on: a flat surface, or a snow-covered slope?

Grounding can take many forms, but it always accomplishes the same purpose: to firmly connect us to a base.

~ Proper posture when standing will also involve being centered.

Centering simply means, 'equal distribution of a stress load'. (In other words, you want as much weight on one side as you do the other.) When we stand off-center, whether from side to side, or front to back (as in the case of 'head-forward' posture), we are giving gravity more surface to act on, and therefore, we have to work harder to stay upright. When that happens, we are actually making more work for ourselves, or rather... increasing the stress load!

~ The last part of the equation involves alignment. When we are standing, what are we aligning ourselves with?

The answer is: We are aligning all the structures that make up our physical being in relation to the perpendicular force of gravity. The way the bones are stacked, the way our joints articulate, the balanced tone of our muscles - even the pathway(s) of our breath and circulation.... ALL of that needs to come into alignment with the force of gravity while standing.

To the degree that everything is properly aligned, we can say that we have 'good posture'.


Why is posture so important to us?

Because, as bodyworkers, we see the effects of poor posture daily.

Simply put, poor posture causes injuries.

Sometimes, it's an immediate effect, like 'throwing out your back' when lifting something the wrong way. Or, sometimes, it takes a while to show up, as in the case of arthritis, scoliosis, hyperkyphosis, and a host of other -osis'.

We know you know this, and we want to help you understand what 'posture' really consists of, and how it increases your stress load.

Injuries are almost always a result of poor grounding, off-centering, and /or misalignment.

So, internalize the P4H Formula, and think about some ways you can apply it to any situation you're in. When you start to adjust yourself in healthy relation to a stress load, you will truly be Posturing for Health!

(*We're using 'standing still' as an example of how the formula plays out, but, even as we shift our weight, change position, move, etc, those components shift with us. And....we should be changing our positions! "Good" posture is really being in healthy relationship with a multitude of circumstances! ~ G)

What does posture have to do with stress?

How do you posture yourself in business? Or in a relationship? Has anyone ever asked you that question?

Or, how about this? Are you postured for success?

Like Gina has been saying, the word posture gets used a lot, but really... what does it mean?

Most of us, when we think about posture, think about how we stand, or how we sit; basically, the shape our bodies take while holding still. But, that's really only a small part of a much larger scenario.

Posture is also how you move, how you carry yourself, and how you position yourself in relation to a stress/work load.

Again, as Gina mentioned previously, we have a tendency to think about posture as either 'good' or 'bad. But in relation to what? What are the marker that determine excellent posture from poor posture?

At Posturing for Health, one of our goals is to demystify truths about health and 'well-being'.

For this reason, when you hear the word 'posture', we want you to think of a very simple math formula.

In fact, I want you to memorize it and refer to it throughout your day:


That, my friends, is how we define posture.

No matter what the application (i.e., posturing yourself in business, posturing yourself in a relationship, posturing yourself for success, pr posturing yourself for health), the same formula applies.

This becomes especially relevant when considering the role posture plays in handling stress.

Think about it.

If you are lifting a heavy box of books, the first thing to make sure of is that your feet are on a flat and reliable surface.


You also want to pay attention to how you lift the box (i.e., with your legs, and not your back!), and whether you carry it off to one side, or out in front.

That's called CENTERING.

All the while, understanding the forces at work, and working with them as opposed to against, is all part of ALIGNMENT.

When these three bases are covered, you can be said to have good, or rather, appropriate posture.

In the next post, we'll give you an example of this formula in action.