I just finished teaching a three-week introductory class in the Alexander Technique.
At the first meeting, I asked the students to write down how they define posture. The point was not to have the right definition. The point was for them to consider how they were currently thinking about posture.
At the last meeting, students shared what they’d take away from the class.
One woman sheepishly said that she’d been hoping for a magic bullet that would take care of her posture. Like waving a magic wand and Shazam! — all would be well with her posture and the world. And she wouldn’t have to give it a second thought. Ever again.
To be honest, who wouldn’t want a magic bullet?
What she’d discovered during the class was that learning to take care of and improve her posture was more about making conscious choices on a day-to-day basis than that hoped-for magic bullet.
I often compare a decision to take care of your posture to a decision to eat a healthy diet.
We all want to lose those extra pounds quickly and without much effort. A fad diet might get the pounds off, so you can fit into that dress for your reunion. However, quick-fix diets don’t usually work long-term. Losing weight and maintaining it for the long haul, involves a change in lifestyle.
Making a change in your lifestyle means making a change in your habits.
And making a change in your habits means making more conscious choices throughout your day.
Often you aren’t even aware that you have a choice, because you just operate on autopilot.
But if you continue to make the same choices and do the same things—well, you’re going to get the same results.
Just like with your diet, taking care of your posture involves being aware that you’ve choices when they come along.
Making numerous conscious decisions throughout the day—and every day can seem onerous at first. Especially if your life’s been operating on autopilot.
So, my advice is always to start out slowly — if you want lasting change.
I’m currently trying to lose a few extra pounds. To do so, I’ve decided to very specifically watch my alcohol intake. I really enjoy a nice cold beer (especially on a hot summer day) or a glass or two of wine when I eat dinner. And I often don’t think twice about having some alcohol with my meal.
The key thing here is I often don’t think. The decision has gone on autopilot.
So, I’ve chosen to be aware of those moments when I choose what to drink with my meal, whether at home or when I’m out, and make a very conscious choice.
I can choose to have a ½ pour instead of a pint of beer, or one glass of wine instead of two, or forgo the alcohol altogether for seltzer water with lime (which also feels like a treat).
My advice to start out slowly also goes for taking care of your posture.
Start with one thing that you’re going to pay attention to and make choices around that.
Because your head is so influential on your posture it’d be a really good place to start.
And because so many of us are using our smartphones so much of the time, being more aware of how your head is relating to your phone would be a really good place to start.
Each time you touch your phone realize that it’s an opportunity to make a choice.
A choice to drop your head down toward your phone.
Or a choice to position and support your phone to help maintain a good head-spine relationship.