Monday, December 8, 2008

Posture by Tim Gunn

In the book A Guide to Quality, Taste and Style, Tim Gunn discusses posture and its the first description of correct posture that I can understand without a doubt in my mind that I'm doing it right!! Between Tim Gunn and my Feldenkrais class I am becoming more aware of how I carry myself and have been working on rewiring myself to do it right. So I am quoting it here for all to learn.
"The Shoulder Fallacy
Everybody has been ordered to "Put your shoulders back" by a mother, teacher, or drill Sergent. And how do we comply? We push our shoulders back with all our might. This position is sustainable for the moment it takes to march out of sight of the authority figure.Once we are alone again, we release our shoulders to their habitually rounded position and slink away. What a tragedy! No one wants bad posture, but the idea of maintaining that uncomfortable "shoulders back" position is unrealistic and fat from pleasant." ....
Although adopting correct posture habits takes time...... The first ironclad rule may seem strange, but here it is: Forget about putting your shoulders back."

Here Tim gets into what shoulders should be doing instead of going back- however its my feeling that people with serious nerve and tendon issues that stem from their shoulder girdle should not be pulling shoulders down and opening up the collarbone. The tension that is carried there may not want to be fussed with so soon and a flare up could be inevitable. So, I'm skipping it. Sorry Tim!!

"Getting Aligned
Imagine a model skeleton hanging in a very chic laboratory. The skeleton is held together by wires and a pole that travels form its base, through the cavity between the pelvic bones, along the spine, and up into the skull. Try standing in front of a mirror and imagining yourself suspended in the same manner. Yes, it seems a bit macabre, but a helpful exercise nonetheless. Does your pole travel gracefully up into your skull? Or does it pole out of your neck because head juts forward? Is the pole knocking into the back of your pelvis because you stand with your stomach thrust out? Is the pole too long because you allow your ribs to sag into your diaphragm, shortening your torso? The best way to make sure that your skeleton is giving its all is by remembering that just as in clothing, the line is what is important. Nothing on your model skeleton is crunched together or sticking out at the side. The skeleton looks relaxed, ready to samba or hit a tennis ball.
The body is engineered to function n the most efficient manner possible. That means that aches and pains can be avoided if the skeleton is given plenty of room to work. It also means a youthful , attractive silhouette really should have little to do with age. For some reason, many American women insist on foreshortening themselves by allowing their ribs to sink into their pelvis, and their heads to hang forward heavily. ... How does one go about getting things to line up? By starting with the pelvis.
One of the most helpful pieces of advice on the subject comes from a wonderful book called Your Carriage Madam by Janet Lane. Though published in 1934, it is not in the least bit dated, perhaps because the temptation to slump is eternal. Ms. Lane suggests that in order to bring the pelvis into proper alignment, one should imagine slipping between two tables at a crowded restaurant . Instinctively, one tucks one's bottom under and draws the navel to the sine. This is the proper position for one's pelvis. Since French bistros are usually packed and their tables are only inches apart, one can think of the proper pelvic alignment as the 'bistro position'. If one is familiar with pilates, it is also immediately recognized as the 'scooped' position that is the backbone of that fitness method. This ever-so-slight pelvic tilt keeps the bottom from jutting out and flattens the stomach. Not only does it make one look slimmer and taller, it provides support for the lower back. The change it makes to one's seated posture is tremendous. Next time you are seated at a desk, try slipping into bistro posture. It naturally bring the spine into contact with the chair and makes it far easier to pull those shoulders down. All this means less fatigue..."

1 comment:

Jack said...

Absolutely on the shoulders back stuff. Also see: and

take care