Posture is learned initially from watching our parents move and imitating them. Then as we get older our daily habits of movement contribute. Bad or incorrect posture leads to pain and fatigue so regaining the alignment and muscular engagement to support your posture can be a great aid in improving how you feel everyday. Our posture not only has a tremendous impact on the health of our bodies but also on the way we present ourselves to the world. Working to improve your posture can be an amazing pathway to leading your most vibrant life.
Good posture means that your bones are properly aligned and your muscles, joints and ligaments can work as nature intended. It places your vital organs in the right position so that they can function at peak efficiency. Good posture additionally contributes to the normal functioning of the nervous system and leads to more positive energy in your body.
How does your Dailey Method practice help you with improving and maintaining optimal posture? Throughout a Dailey Method class you are taught to first ALIGN your bones in a way that allows for optimal stability and mobility in your joints. Neutral spine alignment is emphasized throughout the practice as this is the most functional position for your spine to be in. The natural curves of our spine allow us to distribute and carry weight more safely and evenly, and we have the best access to our deep core muscles when our spine is in a neutral position. Practicing this position in class will translate into healthier posture and more fluid movement outside of class as well.
In addition to spinal alignment, we focus on skeletal alignment that will produce optimal results in the prevention of osteoporosis. With proper alignment we encourage the breakdown and building of bones in exactly the places where osteoporosis is most common: your hips, ribs, spine and wrists. You’ll notice that your Dailey Method teachers are very picky about how you stand (feet placed hips width distance apart and parallel), how you carry your ribcage (floating directly over your pelvis with no flaring or thrusting of your ribcage forward), and how you align your wrists in exercises such as weight work or whenever you are pulling off of the ballet barre (neutral wrist). By focusing on proper skeletal alignment first, you are setting yourself up for successful muscular engagement and fluid movement in and out of class.
Additionally, there are certain muscles in the body that are active all the time. They keep the body erect and are known as postural muscles, or core stabilizing muscles. They are found deep in the body, particularly in the pelvis, abdomen and the length of the spine. They include the calves, hip flexors, pelvic floor, deep abdominals, chest and all the muscles along the spine, from your lower back to the muscles in the back of your neck. They are responsible for establishing and maintaining an upright posture and behave much like a corset to hold your upper body in place. After we guide you in aligning your bones in class we then cue you to stabilize these deep postural muscles to support the alignment and teach you how to hold your body in this upright, aligned and deeply engaged position. Think of the cues you hear in every class “broaden your collar bones, draw your ears back over your shoulders, breathe your ribs back over your hips, lengthen the sides of your waist”. All of these cues are taking you into better alignment and allowing the proper postural muscles to engage to support that alignment. If you feel yourself rounding forward or closing your body off during the day just imagine yourself at the ballet barre and stand up tall and beautiful like you do during your practice. The more cognitive energy you put into it throughout the day the more of a habit it will become.
Finally, your posture tremendously affects your attitude, how you present yourself to the world and how you truly feel emotionally. Try this exercise:
- Stand up straight, open your chest, lift your jawline, open the palms of your hands to the ceiling and announce “I’m so sad!”
- Now round your upper back, narrow your chest and drop your chin and announce “I’m so happy!”.
Pretty amazing isn’t it? How your posture can actually speak stronger than your words?
Stand up, Shine out and be Vibrant!
— Jill and Kerry