Weekly musings, 5/13/18: Change and posture
I was working with a client recently, watching him as he rested supine on the floor. His mid-back was flat against the ground, his head looked comfortable on the small blanket. His knees pointed straight up towards the ceiling, parallel.
This wasn’t always the case. When I first began working with him, just bending his knees was enough to cause the his left hamstring to send twinges of pain. His feet would angle in, and his weight would primarily be on his right side. His middle back, near the junction of the thoracic and lumbar vertebrae, would hover off of the ground. His neck would appear strained, no matter how much I propped him up.
Slowly, with consistency, strength, and awareness, his resting posture changed. It didn’t just change in supine, but in standing as well. As he felt more of himself and became aware of his patterns, he learned to shift to places that were more comfortable.
The curious thing is I never once told him to hold himself a certain way at rest, or during movement, for that matter. Instead, I made suggestions, asking him to feel certain parts of himself or place load in different aspects. It started with feeling his ribs when he breathed and when he reached, and moved quickly to how he used his feet.
When you shift awareness and try loading your limbs a little bit bit differently, you feel different parts of yourself. The sensation usually shows up as muscular work, since you are suddenly placing a demand on your musculoskeletal system that is different. The sensation reminds you there are options for moving.
What if you stopped trying to sit or stand a certain way and instead just let yourself be in a comfortable place? What if instead of trying to correct resting posture, you acknowledged that improving your general awareness of your body and your habits during movement were enough to change your physical self, including your resting positions? Let go of managing your resting posture and see what happens- you might be surprised.