To find perfect posture you must get a little ape like—even though such a concept goes against almost every postural instruction of the last millennium. Our arms are supposed to hang from their sockets with very little restriction. They are free swinging and designed to have lots of room to move.
Instead most people tend to lock their shoulders in unfortunate ways and for good reason. “Take your shoulders up and back”, is the go-to teaching for everyone from mothers to coaches to drill sergeants. As the last post shows this instruction interrupts a good breathing pattern and it messes with the alignment of the arms and shoulder girdle.
Human Movement Potential by Lulu Swiegard, a book I have mentioned before, has had a big influence on what I teach. One line from her chapter on the arm changed the way I looked at people forever.
Under any circumstances, holding the shoulders in a particular position will only reduce the flexibility of the shoulder girdle. Lack of flexibility of the shoulder girdle always interferes with both flexibility of the spine and freedom of movement of the ribs in breathing.
Go ape– let your arms hang freely.
Breathing fully, the subject of the last post, connects nicely with free-swinging arms. The instruction to lower the front of the rib cage to access a deeper natural breath also releases the arms from their habitual locked position. You get two positive results for the price of one.
You owe it to yourself to explore the nature of your own posture. Maybe it is perfect—but maybe you have habits that aren’t exactly serving the optimal functioning of your body. I’ll tie the last few posts together in the next one, connecting a relaxed butt to a full breath and freely hanging arms in the attempt to find perfect posture.