Stand Tall and Sit Tall to Energize – My Wise Mother’s Deportment Advice
What has posture to do with energy, or the energizing breathing I talked about in my previous post?
I will answer by telling a story:
As a child I quickly caught up to my sister in height, although she was 20 months older than I. My father would say, ‘We need to put a brick on your head’, so I got the idea it was not a good thing to be as tall as my sister.
However, my wise mother was intent on getting me to stand up straight and walk with dignity. She went to a Deportment school in Perth set up by June Dally Watkins, who was Australia’s Model of the Year in 1949. There are still June Dally Watkins modelling schools in Australia today.
Walk With a Book on Your Head
Mum would get my sister and me to walk with books on our heads so that we could maintain correct posture and walk smoothly and graciously.
During the years of my teacher training I carried heavy bags of books on one side of the body (we didn’t use backpacks as students do these days).
Several boyfriends were the same height or shorter than me, so I began to slouch to reduce my height. By the time I married a man a couple of inches shorter than myself I had gotten into the habit of standing on one leg with one hip to the side, and when I had babies I carried them on my hip quite often too.
Over the years my poor posture twisted my spine resulting in back and hip problems. It has only been in recent years that I have focused on returning my skeleton to its natural state.
Deep Breathing and Posture
You will remember that I said, in order to breathe deeply you have to relax your shoulders – even slouch. By this I don’t mean letting the head drop forward.
When I made regular visits to a chiropractor a few years ago he showed me a macabre object he had on his desk. It was a large transparent ten pin bowling ball with a replica of a human skull inside it. When I took it in my hand it felt so heavy. (An average adult head weighs somewhere between 4.5 and 5 kg, and constitutes about 8% of the whole body mass.)
Why does this matter?
Because this is the weight that the neck and spine have to hold up.
If the head, neck and spine are in proper alignment, then this is not a problem, but if we allow the head to fall forward, it puts tremendous stress and tension on the spine and all the muscles around it.
This is what was happening to me, and this is what happens when we sit incorrectly at a computer. The tendency is to let the head fall forward.
What has this to do with energy?
Pain, tension and stress on the body reduce energy, creating constant tiredness. The internal muscles become constricted and the bodies systems – based on flows – cannot function properly.
By standing and sitting tall, but allowing our shoulders to drop down in a relaxed manner, we are giving the body the best chance to regenerate energy with breathing and functioning properly.
My friend Deborah Leigh-Russell, a beautiful coloratura singer, says that a good way to remember how to stand tall is to imagine a string at the top back of the neck (the base of the skull) pulling you skyward, like a puppet. This will help you hold your head high but with your chin down in the correct position. As a singer it is important to breathe properly, and standing tall like this keeps the airway clear and allows the lungs to expand properly.
Posture at a computer
When seated at the computer your screen should be at eye level. Beware of those laptops and computer tablets that encourage you to be looking downwards.
If you are at the computer for any length of time, make sure you have a properly designed ergonomic chair, and that you sit back – not slump forwards. Your keyboard must be low, so that you put the least amount of strain on your arms and shoulders when typing.
Posture Tips – What I do
- I use my webcam to check on myself every hour of so, to ensure I am still sitting properly. I keep it minimised, and every now and then flip it up to check how I am sitting.
- I have a natural lambskin on my seat to cushion it and prevent pressure sores from sitting for too long.
- I remember to breathe deeply, as explained in my previous post, and I have frequent breaks to stretch my muscles, exercise and drink water or herbal tea.
My body is by no means perfect, but my posture is much better than it was a few years ago when the chiropractor showed me how I had allowed myself to decline.
Along with my better posture, my energy levels have risen too.
Take up the challenge – Stand Tall – Sit Tall and maintain good posture to energize you.
What Are Your Posture Tips?
Click on ‘Leave a Comment’ below and tell me what you have found works for you.
Live with Energy
Visit: http://www.theenergybook.com/ to find out about my book, ‘The Energy Book For Life – The Guidebook To Energized Living’