One of the world’s foremost fashion authorities, Diana Vreeland once said that beauty has much to do with the extension of the neck, extension of the arms, extension of the back, extension of the legs, and a very light step. She’s right. Your posture has a lot to say about you. You tend to slouch if you’re down and depressed. You slump when you’re tired. When you feel insecure, your posture takes on a curve. What’s good about posture is that you can teach it to say what you want it to—you can train it to express your self confidence and say the right thing all the time. Here’s how: Straighten your spine, keep shoulders back, tuck your tummy in, align your hips, keep your head up—all those things drill sergeants and your mom had said so often.
Your mirror will never tell a lie. Here’s a simple test to check your posture. Take off all your clothes and face your body straight on. Do your shoulders slope down? Is your chest concave? Do you bunch up around your waist? Is one hip higher than the other? Now look at yourself from the side. Does your head jut forward? Do your shoulders curve in? Does your spine curve toward your protruding belly? Do your buttocks stick out to compensate for that curving spine?
If so, you are not alone. Many people have terrible posture. You can still improve your posture.
Helpful Exercise to Improve Your Posture
You’ll have to exert a little energy, too. Devote a time of day when you can afford to give that much needed attention to yourself. When you get up that morning, check out your posture in the mirror. As you look at each part of your body, consciously attempt to straighten it, all the while breathing rhythmically. Place your head and your neck in line with your spine. Shrug your shoulders, roll them around a bit, and let them relax naturally. If they curve forward, use your shoulder muscles to pull them back slightly, which will automatically pull up your sunken chest. (Are you breathing evenly?) Next tuck your buttocks under and in while flattening your tummy. This will align your spine. Now as if someone had suspended your head from a string, maintain this alignment while you walk around the room.
Now, lay down on your back on a firm surface while maintaining the same body alignment. Push your spine as close to the floor as possible. Bend you knees and feel your spine naturally closer to the ground. Close your eyes and take six every deep breaths. Feel your abdomen and lungs fill up and expand as you breathe in; feel them slowly deflate as you exhale. With your legs still bent and with your arms straight out in front of you, slowly curl up into a sitting position. Align your body and straighten your legs. Sit up as tall as possible, with your arms extending forward. Tucking your chin toward your chest, bend your body forward, hands reaching toward your toes. Slowly stretch your spine.
Stand up and realign yourself. Take a warm shower, all the while practicing your alignment. Finish with a blast of cold water. Dry off, concentrating on each part of your body as you blot the water. Are you maintaining your new alignment? Proceed with the rest of your day’s activities, but recheck your body alignment every fifteen minutes. By day’s end, you will have rediscovered some muscles you forgot you had. Take another warm shower, letting the water beat on your tired muscles between your shoulders and in the back of your neck. Try to sleep on your back or side with your knees bent.
This exercise helps build body awareness. The best part is that your mirror gives you constant reinforcement. When your body is properly aligned, you instantly look better. The longer you practice good posture, the faster it becomes second nature to you. Practice constantly, whether sitting, standing, walking, or relaxing. Soon good posture will be second nature to you.