Let’s get one thing straight. You’re back.
I meant to say your back, obviously.
While I’m thrilled to have you back and reading my blog, I also want you to pay attention to your posture.
Did you know that sitting and reading are some of the easiest ways to develop bad posture?
According to a survey, as many as 70% of people spend six or more hours each day sitting down.
Another study showed that excessive and bad sitting behavior had adverse health effects on office workers.
Poor posture leads to a host of health problems, including chronic pain, muscle imbalances, fatigue and indigestion.
Stand up straight and stop slouching.
Turn these habits into a lifestyle because good posture will benefit your mind and body in amazing ways.
With Great Posture Comes Great Power
As a lifelong martial artist, I understand the significance of posture and balance in the various fighting arts.
For instance, elite karate practitioners adopt a fighting stance that strives for power. A straight upright body that is supported by a strong vertical base grants power, speed and accuracy to execute offensive techniques.
While it is a universal trait across pugilistic disciplines, great posture carries over well into professional settings too.
Our own body language influences how we feel about ourselves and how others perceive us. A shoulder wide, chest out and upright position expresses power and confidence.
Even animals like gorillas use power postures to intimidate and scare away would be intruders.
By simply adopting a better posture, you will feel powerful and better about yourself.
Stay Straight, Think Straight
Researchers found that students who sat up straight were able to focus better and think clearly.
The study tested 125 San Francisco State University students – half slouched and half in an erect position – to mentally subtract numbers for 30 seconds. They reversed positions and repeated the task.
Later when asked to rank their task difficulty, students found the math test to be significantly more difficult when slouched. Those who were anxious about math reported that they felt less capable of calculation when slouched.
Dutch behavioral scientist Erik Peper explained that the students in the slumped position shut down and were unable to think as clearly. This was even more pronounced in the students who expressed anxiety about math.
Poor posture affected the students’ feelings about their ability, and when combined with initial anxiety, resulted in a worse performance overall.
A Straight Path To A Zen Mind
A staple in my daily routine, meditation helps me to set aside my worries and ease into a Zen state.
I’ve found that assuming the right posture during meditation is crucial to reach the desired state of enlightenment or Zen.
Japanese Zen master Daichi Sokei once wrote “If someone should ask you what true Zen is, you don’t need to open your mouth. Instead demonstrate the aspects of zazen posture.”
A straight back with open, relaxed shoulders, followed by crossed legs joins the body and mind.
Too often, we are drawn into compromising habitual postures from our daily tasks. Good posture allows you to release those energy contractions by straightening and relaxing your spine.
Consciously practice the lengthening, feeling and relaxing of your spine. It will break the habitual patterns of bad posture and give you a more efficient path to a Zen mind.
Straight To The Point: Good Posture
After this body of research, what exactly does good posture resemble?
Sitting up straight might check some of the fundamental rules, but there hasn’t yet been a scientific consensus on ideal posture.
Besides, how does one consistently maintain an optimal angle, even if there is one prescribed?
The common pain points associated with excessive sitting in a bad posture are the lower back, neck and shoulders.
Positions that help to combat those afflictions should be the ones we adopt for good posture.
That means not rounding your spine unnecessarily or hunching forward.
Pull your shoulders back and keep your back in a neutral position without slouching.
In this posture, the vertebrae in your back are nicely aligned.
This takes a lot of pressure off the spine and back muscles, preventing back and neck strain in the long run.
The way we stand, sit and walk has more implications on our physical and mental well-being than we think.
Let’s take advantage of this information and start living a healthier and happier life today.