We all know that posture is important, but sliding into poor posture is so much easier than creating and maintaining good posture!
Poor physical posture leads to a weak spine, slumped shoulders, a forward hanging head, and a host of back and neck pains. It’s easy to fall into: slumped in front of a computer at home and at work, slumped on the couch, head down to check our phone. But a strong spine gives us so much in return:
- Ensuring muscles are being used effectively and efficiently
- Reduced low back pain and less tension in your shoulders and neck
- Fewer headaches
- Increased energy levels
- Decreased risk of abnormal wearing of the joints
- Increased lung capacity
- Improved circulation and digestion
Mandy has a short video below to help you avoid the physical posture pitfalls by strengthening your upper back, neck & shoulders.
It’s also easy to have poor psychological posture. We feel like we’re carrying the weight of the world and let that accentuate the slump. Deadlines, to-do lists, sick parents to care for, being educational and emotional support for kids, not to mention spouses and friends during a worldwide pandemic. It can all feel like a lot and make you want to just curl up like an armadillo.
Buddhist teacher Joan Halifax has advice: strong back, soft front. Having a strong back means cultivating your equanimity and resilience, while a soft front keeps you open to things as they are, without longing or anxiety. She says,
“All too often our so-called strength comes from fear not love; instead of having a strong back, many of us have a defended front shielding a weak spine. In other words, we walk around brittle and defensive, trying to conceal our lack of confidence. If we strengthen our backs, metaphorically speaking, and develop a spine that’s flexible but sturdy, then we can risk having a front that’s soft and open, representing choiceless compassion. The place in your body where these two meet — strong back and soft front — is the brave, tender ground in which to root our caring deeply.
Brene Brown took those works and expanded it to: strong back, soft front, wild heart in her book Braving the Wilderness. She also discusses it in this 20-minute episode of her podcast. Both are highly recommended!
I hope you are able to stay open, authentic, and vulnerable while having a strong back to maintain boundaries, integrity, and accountability. It’s a balancing act for sure, but the reward is great.