“Stand up straight!” Moms everywhere throughout time have nagged their teenagers about their posture. Why do we slouch as we get older? Could it be learning to write and use computers at desks all day? Perhaps it is the way we get caught up in what we are reading or watching on the tv and forget we have a body. We escape our present environment and circumstances with our minds. We tune out the aches and pains of sitting too long, until the pain screams at us and we struggle mightily to try and fix it, or feel helpless to get rid of it. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a button to push that would correct our posture instantly!
If you want to experience a change with something as simple as pressing a button, try thinking about which way is up. Imagine a mental arrow. Point your attention upward and outward, instead of going inside to try and feel as if you are ” standing up straight.” Don’t worry about your posture. Just receive any changes in your state of being that occur with the thought of “up.” Add “up” to your mental musings. It will not get you to correct posture, but if you let it, you might experience some of that beautiful childhood coordination that your mom exhorts you to restore.
There are many ways we get ourselves in a twist. An obvious example is the person playing the violin who has to rotate to one side in order to properly position her instrument. Have you ever noticed how strange it feels to carry a grocery bag or a purse on the non-habitual side? Many people carry tension differently on opposite sides of their body. Driving a car means constantly using the gas pedal leg differently from the brake leg. How many other activities are one-sided like this? I’ve noticed I tend to put more weight into my right leg when I stand, which has something to do with how I like to throw my right hip forward and sink into it. Even my right foot points outward compared to my straight left foot. If I try to do the opposite and throw my left hip forward, or straighten out the twist in my right foot, it feels strange if not impossible.
Look at ancient Greek statues. Almost all of the figures are twisting, standing on one leg, other knee bent, pelvis tilted one way, shoulders tilted the other, and head rotated to one side. Then look at celebrities as they pose on the red carpet. Twisting looks comfortable and easy whereas standing with both feet planted expresses stiff attention. The problem is that we favor our patterns of twisting, get caught by the familiar sensations, get habituated. Our twists become unconscious and repetitive.
Try standing in front of a mirror and posing for an imaginary Greek sculptor. Notice when you are comfortable, and then create the opposite alignment in yourself, as if you are flipping the image. Are you as comfortable? is it even possible to stand in the truly opposite twist? Now try standing perfectly symmetrical, on two feet. Is that possible? Can all of those subtle imbalances be released so that you can experience a new, less habitual you?