Why good posture is not about sitting up straight

Asana is a steady, comfortable posture.
— Patanjali Yoga Sutras 2.46

So you might see a guy sitting on a train hunched over his iPhone with a whole lotta hunch-back of Notre Dam-esque action going on and thinking to yourself, “wow, that guy has bad posture.”

And in that moment, sure he might. But arguably, if he’s going home and say going for a run or laying on his lounge room floor on a roam roller for 20 minutes after he gets home, then this guy you’re judging is perfectly within his rights to sit that way.

The point is to keep moving and changing your posture regularly throughout the day. As humans we’ve been conditioned to look a certain way and act a certain way in specific circumstances. Does…“sit up straight at and don’t put your elbows on the table!” sound familar to you?

In a yoga class you might hear from your teacher cues that help to promote excellent posture…”Tuck your tailbone towards your heels” or “actively draw your low ribs in towards your naval..” but for me these cues aren’t so much about holding yourself upright or looking perfect in the posture - it’s about drawing your awareness to how gentle shifts like these in the body can propagate for you a deeper awareness of your physical body and how your prana (vital life force energy) moves through it. It’s about finding comfort in a posture which for many might be physically challenging on body and breath.

If there are 20 people sitting in a room, not one person will be sitting with a “perfect” posture. What you are more likely to notice however is that over a certain period of time each person in that room will shape shift and change the way they are sitting to accomodate movement.

One of my teachers, Jen Crescenzo knows a lot about this stuff. A LOT more than me is for sure. And in my former role as Head of Community for Upwell Health Collective - a state-of-the-art musculoskeletal health and wellness centre in Camberwell where I teach yoga every Saturday (book here), I got to sit down with Jen and chat with her about why in fact posture really has nothing to do with the way you hold yourself.

Watch the video by clicking the image below. It will take you through to Upwell’s website where the video is hosted :)

Lydia 💛