By Nic, Studio Founder
“Pull your shoulders back and down”, “engage your core”, “sit up straight”… we’ve probably all heard these kinds of cues when it comes to finding ways to improve our posture. But let me let you into a little secret: our posture is not something which is consciously controlled - that means you can’t think your way to better posture. By looking to control our body’s position with these thoughts we unknowingly often just create more tension and stiffness in our body which ultimately leads to more postural problems and therefore increased body discomfort.
It might be interesting to know that your pelvis is twisted, or your shoulders are rounded, or you have an increased curve in your lower back BUT the truth is this is not information your brain can actually do anything with. In my experience when people try to correct these issues by dropping one side of their pelvis, standing in a different way or holding their shoulders back, they start to experience more, not less problems.
So what is posture?
My posture is genetic. MYTH! Posture is not genetic.
We may walk or move in a similar way to a family member but this is, mostly, a learned behaviour. We watch those around us as we grow up and our posture adapts to what we see.
TRUTH! Your posture is an evolving medium.
Your posture has changed throughout your life and can continue to change. It is not fixed and it is not set. This means you can change your posture, no matter what your age.
Your posture is more than just how you stand. It’s is a product and a reflection of your life: the beliefs you have about yourself, if you’re a shy or confident person your posture will reflect that. If you’ve always wanted to hide your big boobs, your posture will reflect that. If you’re really tall and feel conscious of that, your posture will reflect that. Plus our lifestyle also impacts our posture, if we have a desk job, or stand for long hours our posture will adapt. So how we think, how we feel and how we live all impact our posture. It’s far more complex than simply thinking about standing up straight.
Your nervous system thinks that the way you currently move, stand and sit is the most efficient it can be. Efficiency is something our nervous system constantly strives for. But often it’s not moving in the most efficient way, and this is where Pilates can help to re-educate your nervous system so that it simply finds better posture and with regular movement practice, these changes can stick.
Pilates, especially the way we teach it at Soul, is primarily about feeding the nervous system with information so that the body can find more efficiency and therefore more ease in movement.
We want to teach your body to make the easy things easy. To create strategies for moving well so that at the end of a session you notice that your posture has changed, not because you’re trying to hold yourself differently, but because the information you’ve fed it during a session has provided the system with a change that just is. Tuning into these changes is what helps the nervous system ‘pick up’ differences so that they start to stick far beyond your class and into your everyday life. This is why more frequent practice helps to make these changes more permanent, quicker.
Nic is the founder of Soul Pilates in Bristol. Nic has created a thriving equipment and mat studio bringing together the Soul philosophy of movement, mindfulness and full body health. She is Comprehensively trained with Polestar Pilates, a Runity Pain-Free Running Coach and a Reiki practitioner. Her passion for movement and feeling awesome in your body, right now, is the inspiration behind her studio philosophy having come to movement following a corporate career which left her burnt out, in pain and with poor digestion.
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