Your destiny may or may not be written in the stars, but your history is written in your posture. Broken hearts, dashed dreams, lost innocence. Cues to every one of those relics of the human experience are bound up in your posture somewhere. We can see them.
A client was carrying her lost father in her left shoulder. Her father used to take her by the arm to cross the street, and the muscle was still holding on, years after his death. It manifested as an asymmetrical gait and shoulder pain. It was the physical manifestation of an inability to commit to a man. As we released it, through a gentle tug, her life transformed. She was married soon after, and her shoulder pain vanished. We wouldn't have known it was there, without this gentle tug that changed her life.
Hearts that are broken either armor up and puff out, or lean back and shrink, to avoid further pain. I sometimes touch a heart and feel an ocean of sadness. The way to clear that is to pass through the ocean, not to try to bypass it. It doesn’t have to burst through all at once… it can trickle out. But most of these postural cues have to do with unresolved or incomplete past experiences.
When the heart falls back, the body compensates. Usually, the pelvis falls forward. If you think of what it may mean to lead life from the pelvic center… what comes to mind? One pattern that I notice is that when people lead with the pelvis, their relationships tend to begin on a sexual note, and accessing vulnerability is sometimes a challenge. Lasting relationships are a challenge. A simple correction of the posture often has dramatic impact on these types of patterns. Sometimes after a few adjustments, a client will come back and tell me that they’ve met someone way outside of their usual pattern.
The feet turn out and the arches collapse when stability is lost in early childhood. Perhaps the connection to the original homeland was lost, or the world reared it’s head and turned out to be an unsafe place. People associate this with a genetic predisposition to a certain structure. (eg. I have my mother’s feet). We’ll get into why that is disempowering in another post. It is not genetic, though it can accompany a learned worldview. (I see the world as my mother saw it, and my body reacts accordingly). Lifting arches is a simple practice, and as the body relearns to stand, the bones shift and adjust.
Knees turned in slightly often refer to a sexual trauma; the body is unconsciously guarding the core. From this position, it is difficult to be fully open to new love (though possible to be open to disconnected sexual encounters). Sometimes the sexual trauma did not involve touch, but just something as subtle as a word, a gesture, or a look from someone.
When any of these pieces of the equation move, the entire constellation moves. Meaning, adjust the feet, and the pelvis, head, and heart will need adjustment. For convenience, I refer to the 3 body centers, head, heart, and gut. They are physical and energetic.
The head often falls forward during walking, and the gaze falls to the ground. This can symbolize the disconnection from the body, and encourage an ego-based way of viewing the world. It is the absent-minded professor, roaming the halls, living life theoretically rather than experientially. Tuck the chin in slightly. Let the eyes look into the distance… the future, while walking, and the patterns shift. Living beings come into view again. The heart engages.
Sometimes, we don’t know what message our posture is sending until someone tells us, but it is sending out a message that people are picking up on. If you’re standing in a collapsed way, chances are you’re negating your own actions and your own message. Leadership suffers. Intimacy suffers.
Correction of the posture often reveals the history. It brings what was unconscious to consciousness. A little caveat: what most people consider ‘correct’ posture is anatomically inaccurate and unsustainable.
So what is an empowered posture? It is a way of standing so that the life force can flow freely, and directed as desired, toward effective, meaningful action.
A few tips:
The feet are parallel. The knees are soft and unlocked. The toes are spread out on the earth. The knees are centered along the leg. The spine maintains its natural curve. The pelvis, heart, and head, imagined as 3 spheres, align when viewed from the side. There is general symmetry, right to left. The head floats over the heart. The muscles are relaxed. There is no effort required to stand in the way we were designed to stand. We are fluid beings, not a precarious stack of solid bones.
Discover your empowered posture; dramatically enhance the quality of your life.
Be courageous enough to meet the moment with your whole body. Find the places you have been hiding or ‘leaning out’, and reveal yourself and lean in.
Evolutionary leap, delivered.
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