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“Mom Said Sit Up Straight”

February 27, 2014 Mary S. Wallis

Good posture enhances health. Proper posture in the technological age seems to be forgotten. When I was a little girl, sitting at the long dining table during a home-work session, my mother inevitably would breeze through saying “sit up straight Mary”. I would complain while adhering to her admonishment. However, as I watch people in restaurants texting, family members cradling their device, and patients receiving a treatment, I see postures that resemble Gollum.
People are becoming more bent over. They complain of neck pain, back pain, eye strain, and shallow breathing. Digestive issues grace my clinic door in record numbers. I can go on further with maladies that may be related to poor posture. But I will stop here.
I too have to be reminded regularly to adjust my posture. Especially when I am concentrating at my computer. And so I am writing this reminder to us all. The role posture plays in our health is vast.
In the 1800s, anatomy books pictured women’s anatomy differently from men’s due to corsets. The pressure from the constriction caused the organs to move out of normal position.
When we habitually practice poor posture: our diaphragm tightens as it cannot go through full range of motion; our digestive organs are cramped impeding digestive flow; our spinal muscles change allowing a restructuring of spinal bone alignment and pressure on spinal discs. By not taking full diaphragmatic breaths, our cells are deprived of oxygen.
In the Oriental philosophy, the abdominal region is considered the Hara. The Hara is where energy begins and returns to after traversing the body’s energetic system. When our Hara is toned we experience better physical, mental, and spiritual balance. Thus the focus on core strength these days.
Mindfulness is the first resource in regaining balanced posture. Tools to help bring one’s attention to better posture can be in slightly tighter clothing. A post-it note positioned strategically can be a gentle reminder. Setting an alarm at fifteen minute intervals while at your computer or on your device can be a good reminder to “sit up straight”. A necklace that often gets played with can be your cue to check in on your posture.
Folk lore speaks of attributes to certain minerals that are said to help the spinal alignment. Tiger Eye, Hematite, and the fossil Orthoceras have all been stones used in aiding healthy spinal alignment.
Make the commitment today to pay attention to your posture and improve your core strength. You’ll breathe easier, digest more fully, and feel more vital for having done so.

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