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A Posture of Openness

By August 2, 2021Pilates In Holland

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.


Author Renee

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