By Tara Adkins, Primal Movement Teacher
Our current lifestyle doesn’t facilitate a healthy posture. It’s not something that’s really taught anymore. We know we should have better posture but don’t know how. We sit most of our day. We sit in chairs that don’t take the human form into consideration.
We’re told to strengthen our core but are given exercises that only shorten the stomach further, without any focus or awareness that the core is not just the stomach but instead something that’s 3 dimensional. It wraps all the way around and travels up through the center of the body. The placement of the ribs, hips, and even the head are all essential to unlocking this mystery of how to improve posture.
We don’t really teach specific exercises to improve posture. We focus more on functional movement. Personally, the key for me has been the practice of Primal Movement. Through this practice we learn to have amazing posture without effort and force.
I remember trying to stand up straight and it’s exhausting! Also, it only works when you think about it. On the other hand, if you do Primal Movement practice regularly you will start to stand up straight with ease. It becomes simple! Second nature. We train ourselves during class and that begins to seep into every aspect of our daily life.
I went from the worst posture of my life (nursing and carrying babies over the span of 5 years takes a huge toll on your back) to the greatest posture of my life. And best of all I never have to say to myself “stand up straight”, it’s automatic!
Untucking the tailbone changes everything. Most of us are very rounded, hunched over and collapsed. The head shoots forward. The ribs compress down, squishing the belly and end up resting way too close to the pelvis, which rounds the low back.
In every pose of Primal Movement practice we are taught to keep our spine long and curvy. We build muscle in that shape, so when practice is over, we still have the support needed to maintain a curvy, healthy posture. We’ve built the muscles to carry us. It’s something we can now do without thinking. I really love the hour long practice but more importantly I LOVE what this practice does for me off the mat. In everyday life. It’s absolutely priceless.
If you look at a profile silhouette of the average person today and you had to guess their age just from the shape of their body, my bet is that most people would appear much older than they actually are. But if you rewind back to the age of your grandparents, that wasn’t the case. Look at photos from a century ago (with the exception of the 1920’s when it became stylish to round the shoulders forward and hunch over) and you’ll see a much different posture that you do today.
Still not convinced? Take a look at indigenous cultures from around the world. Those who work to hunt and gather food and water. Those who spend very little time sitting. Notice the shape of the butt and hips. Their silhouettes look quite different from ours. Most of us have tucked the tailbone downward, eliminating any natural curve in the low back and flattened our butts.
Our butt contains the largest muscles in the human body. That’s why it’s called the gluteus maximus. But most of us have no idea how to access those muscles to our advantage. Once we tap into this we can start to shift the hips into a healthier position. We work to tone the weaker posterior muscles creating a lifted butt, longer open belly and a lighter more lifted rib cage. This process may take a while (I’m still strengthening, lengthening and toning to this day) but you start to feel results rather quickly, after just a few classes.
You can also look in an anatomy book or just Google what a spine should look like. Most of us know the shape it’s supposed to be, but how many of us can keep the spine long, decompressing the discs that rest between each vertebrae? When those disks begin to compress downwards we lose in every way. Dealing with back pain, bulging or herniated discs is no way to live through life. Every move can become painful when we’re not honoring the natural shape of our spine.
Are you ready to make the move to better posture? We’d love to help!
Several of our teachers have extensive experience in primal movement and conducting classes for people of all ages and abilities. We are on a collective mission of getting back to our roots, our primal origins, and honoring the knowledge that it all comes down to space; how we explore it, occupy it, move through it. Private instruction is also available to you, anywhere in the world you may be.
If you have any questions you need answering before signing up for a class, please feel free to contact us, and someone will get back to you promptly.