One of the most important understandings of our posture is how much it is designed and assembled by the brain. Posture is an incessant neuro-muscular activity that occurs whether we are standing, sitting, or lying down. The muscular habits of our posture reveal themselves even in our sleep.
We tend to think that our brain conforms to the structure and parts of our body. This is only partially true. Most people view posture as a static alignment we hold in the trunk. The body is seen like a set of bricks stacked up. However, what we usually call “good posture” often reveals rigidity in the trunk, spine, and ribs that requires considerable effort to maintain. This effort becomes too difficult for many people to maintain and so they seek opportunities in which they can find relief in other postures, including more collapsed postures, which are hard on the spine. Both rigid and collapsed postures make it difficult to breath easily and create stiffness or disjointed sloppiness in our movements.
The greater truth is that the body must conform to the habits of the brain. For example, while we stand, feedback from our eyes and our vestibular system strive to maintain a horizontal position for the head. This is true even if our spine has extreme curvatures of lordosis or scoliosis. Our brain will try to move our spine to maintain a horizontal head position unless we are practicing a sport skill or a particular dance.
But where in our brain is our posture? No one has found a specific location in the brain for posture. This is because posture is distributed throughout our brain and creates greater meaning for all movements we perform. If you want a to hit a golf ball there is an assumed position in which you are standing. First, there must be an orientation for your position. (Probably the golf ball and where you are hitting it.) Within these layers of orientation and position lie our postural habits and finally the specific whole body movement of hitting the ball.
Through the movement lessons of the Feldenkrais Method and the Change Your Age program, we can learn to create and discover the impossible and make it possible. Those who participate in the upcoming Change Your Age workshops and training program will alter their posture and expand their repertoire of movement by altering the interconnections in their brain. The secret to changing your posture is to change HOW you perform movements. This is the art and science of learning. Enjoy the lessons in this issue and remember to move with ease and pleasure.