biomechanics

Good posture is not really what we're after

In the last post, I mentioned that the word "posture" can be misleading.

One, it’s because we tend to understand it more as an appearance, rather than a physical state based on biomechanical principles.

("Biomechanical": relating to the mechanical laws concerning the movement or structure of living organisms.)

Two, it suggests that there’s one best way to stand or sit or walk, when really, this relationship between our parts, and between our parts as a whole and our stress loads, is dynamic and ever-changing.

Even the word, alignment* (while sometimes used interchangeably with posture, is actually quite different) can mistakenly suggest a static position, and so what most of us end up trying to do is hold our bodies in a position or posture or in an alignment that we believe is ‘good’.

And, if this is you, how's that workin' for ya? Not so well, I'm guessing...

(* "Alignment": arrangement in a straight line, or in correct or appropriate relative positions.)

"Correct" and "appropriate" positions imply an objective reality we would be measuring ourselves against to be considered in alignment. And, there is something to that, in terms of how the effects of gravity transfer through our own physical mass, particularly through the bones and joints, over the course of a lifetime.

The challenge is understanding that alignment can't be forced. It's the natural result of cultivating a state brought about by the balanced relationship between muscular strength, muscular yield, joint mobility ... and, how we're using our bodies on a day-to-day basis.

So, what we're really after is mobility. Functionality. Range of motion. It's my belief that true 'alignment' can't be forced by chronic tension holding patterns.

In other words, 'alignment happens'. And, therefore, 'good posture'.

(Did you get my free ebook, "Six Things You Can STOP Doing if You Want Better Posture"? If not, grab it here.)

In the next post, Bill will give you another way to think about posture and what it has to do with stress.

What's all this about posture, anyway?

As our name, Posturing for Health, includes the root 'posture', it only seems fitting to begin exploring here... as it's a word we are all too familiar with.

But what does it mean, really?

In our experience, it’s become clear that while most people believe they know what ‘good posture’ looks like, they know a lot less about what it actually is, as far as the mechanical properties of the body. (Because why would you, unless you were really curious about biomechanics...)

But, this is what it’s really about... right?.... That there’s a connection between how we feel and how our body parts are arranged.

So, let's begin with the most basic definition of ‘posture’: an arrangement of parts.

Not good, not bad, just an arrangement.

Bill and I (Gina) have also defined posture as the relationship between us (our bodies, mindset, etc) and our stress load. More on that later.

What we've come to define as posture being either ‘good' or 'bad’ is really about the quality of that arrangement - between the parts of the body, as well as between the relationship of that body as a whole and what it’s trying to accomplish, and if those relationships are facilitating mobility, growth and strength, or setting us up for degeneration and breakdown.

In the next post, we’ll get into why using the word posture at all is misleading.