Poor Posture and Slouching – A Double Edged Sword!

by Jane Torvaney, Physiotherapist, Scotland

We all know that poor posture and slouching is not good for our posture – our spine is in a poor position and at risk due to the pressure going through it, our feet tend to dangle and don’t support us. Our chins poke forward, our shoulders roll inwards, our chest and internal organs get crushed when we slouch and therefore can’t work freely. If you try this yourself you can immediately feel the impact it has on your body.

Not a very loving way to treat ourselves!

But do you ever think about how you relate to other people when you slouch? Or how others relate to you when you slouch?

Recently I was working with students who were on study leave. We were talking about stress, relaxation and self care in the lead-up to their exams. I was sharing some supportive sitting positions with them and explaining why our sitting position is important.

As I talked to the pupils, I asked them to feel and observe what was happening when I changed my position. I slid down in my chair, adopting a slouched position while I continued to talk. For me, it felt awful – not only did I lose connection with myself in a physical sense I also lost the connection I had made with the students. I could feel my expression had changed, the words I used and even the quality of my voice was affected. Sentences no longer flowed and words lost their rhythm. I had to work really hard to remain focused on what I was saying. Everything began to feel more difficult and I had a sense that if I continued like this I would soon feel like giving up.

The students in return shared that they felt uncomfortable. They began to feel a little agitated and distracted, finding it difficult to concentrate on what I was saying. One student said that it felt as if a barrier had been formed between myself and the students. Another shared that she couldn’t be bothered listening any longer.

When I corrected my posture everything adjusted and settled back again.

This simple exercise confirmed to me that the importance of posture goes far beyond the physical, as does the responsibility I have in how I choose to sit, stand and move around. It goes far beyond just taking care of myself. As I have discovered, it is actually something that can affect a whole group of people who are in my presence.

How I do these things has a two-fold impact – both on my physical body and on how I relate to others.

If I choose to slouch in a chair for instance, I begin to shut myself off from others. In turn they get to feel this and may too choose to shut off. Thus the opportunity to connect and communicate openly is diminished simply by choosing how I sit.

Likewise, if I choose to sit, stand and move gently in a way/posture that supports me and allows particularly my chest area to remain open, an opportunity to connect with others is there.

Through my posture I am saying I am here, I am present and I am with you.

Inspired by Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine

475 thoughts on “Poor Posture and Slouching – A Double Edged Sword!

  1. I have come to realise that when I choose to not hold my posture is when I have disconnected from myself not wanting to deepen my awareness or feel what is going on around me, resisting the call to surrender more deeply to settle and still my body.

  2. How we hold and move our bodies has a huge effect on our mood, our thoughts and our energy levels. So simple but it works everytime – move in a different way and feel the shift.

  3. Its amazing how I always seem to come upon this blog when I am slouching ! Thank you so much Jane Torvaney for being at my back and reminding me yet again to sit up and feel the beautiful curve of the spine in its natural position, returning and the vitality and clarity returning.

  4. How we hold our body speaks volumes. Change your posture and you will immediately feel an overall change in your body, and how you feel about yourself and others.

  5. It’s so easy to write this off as ‘good posture – good impression; bad posture – bad impression’ but the depth you are bringing to this reveal its profound science and it really fascinates me how much we communicate through the movement of our entire body, and because we all have a physical body, there is constant communication and interaction between each and every body.

  6. What a great example of the fact, and confirmed by these students, that when we are in disregard of how we are sitting or standing the energy that is reflected to those in front of us has an “I don’t care” energy in it. But in stark contrast when we are very conscious of our posture, sitting or standing in a way that lovingly supports us, we are saying “I am saying I am here, I am present and I am with you”.

  7. Our bodies are constantly communicating, every movement we make is clocked by others, it is far more powerful to move in a way that supports our bodies to be more present and open to others.

  8. “Through my posture I am saying I am here, I am present and I am with you” . . . so very true! So what are we saying when we are slouching? Our body never lies.

  9. It was an interesting observation that when you compromised your own posture Jane it made the students feel agitated and distracted and they struggled to concentrate on what you were saying. This made me wonder how often in our day when we rush and compromise our own posture just how much it is affecting not only ourselves but others equally.

  10. I love this simple example Jane highlighting the responsibility we have in the way we hold our posture has an impact on ourselves and everyone around us. It makes sense how allowing thoughts in like giving up reconfigures our whole way of being and we move in a false way thereafter until we become aware of what we are doing, usually when our body communicates very clearly that something is out of balance.

  11. Sitting in a loving and honouring posture is so simple and lovely to do but honouring our body is not something we are all generally good with as shown by our relationship with alcohol and how we keep drinking even after proclaiming the next day with a hang over that we would never do so again. Feels like there is more going on here than meets the eye

  12. A simple demonstration in how we hold ourselves is reflected in how open and connected we feel and also how we are felt by others.

  13. It truly is amazing to consider that each and every movement we make reflects how we feel about ourselves and how open we are to the world also. I love exploring my movements and find even the smallest shift, like the way my feet are positioned or how I hold my pen can make a huge difference for how I feel and it’s amazing what our senses and awareness share with us too when we explore our bodies in this way.

  14. Knowing we need to have good posture and actually feeling what ‘good posture’ is from our bodies are two completely different things. I loved that you introduced feeling the effect of posture on the students themselves and how this affects other people. This is not something we consider normally but it’s happening and affecting us all the time.

  15. We don’t like to hear this but we are driven by one energy or another, and for this there are only two sources we can choose. One way of choosing which source will run our body is our posture. So our posture can and does determine the quality of our thoughts. When I slouch I know I will have negative thoughts.

  16. I can remember my Nanna being particularly insistent that as children we maintain a good posture. As a child I was not ready or willing to listen to her wisdom, thinking that what she offered was ‘out of date’ as no one was holding their bodies as Nanna did that was my age. I now wish that I had have honoured her wisdom for it held much more than I gave it credit for at the time.

  17. I totally agree Jane, when my family and I sit down for a family meeting, if one child decides to lay down or is sitting in a very slouchy manner, the group gets affected. We always make sure that our bodies are ready to listen and receive and it is very obvious when one of us cuts off from the group, as it is clear in the way we are sitting.

  18. Such a simple example but such a powerful lesson of the power of posture, or you could say the consequences of any movement in our body. And how wonderful that your students were so aware of what was happening to them as a result of how you were moving; a lesson that if lived has the power to change so much in their/our lives. It comes down to the fact that everything, including movement, is energy and therefore there is always an energetic consequence to how we move and that consequence is our responsibility.

  19. I was at a presentation yesterday that presented Esoteric Yoga, in a chair, it isalso called the yoga of stillness and I could feel in the stop of the stillness I hadn’t been fully embracing how my body could naturally adjust. It was interesting to observe how taking the time to stop and observe our own posture how we naturally want to adjust and it requires no difficult thought processes, it is quite innate. It need not be an over correction, but a simple lifting of our body posture to allow more care in how we sit. It is all about the awareness we bring to our bodies, all of the time, no perfection, just being open to allowing that our bodies do know best and just need to allow through that awareness to constantly adjust to the most supportive posture. Simple but very profound.

  20. It’s amazing how much we can observe when we explore our movements and how they in turn propel us forward with purpose or hold us back in protection. When we even change our movements slightly it is so beautiful to see what we learn and unfold in the process. Movement is the breath of life and can support us to be ourselves in full everyday.

  21. “the importance of posture goes far beyond the physical, as does the responsibility I have in how I choose to sit, stand and move around. It goes far beyond just taking care of myself.” It’s pretty amazing to open up to the responsibility we have for the quality of our movements. We get to feel that it affects not only us, the people in out presence and the rest of humanity, but everything everywhere, on the planet and to the farthest parts of the ever-expanding universe. Slouching anyone? 😉

  22. A great example of the deeper impact slouching has on our body and people around us and how we are communicating so much more than we realise. Bringing a deeper awareness to how we hold ourselves is not only empowering and confidence-building we show by reflection a truer way of being with our body.

  23. Not long before I read this article I was playing around with my posture and so a timely read. I agree and this is something we all know. I remember at school the ‘sit up straight’ call was very deliberate and while it felt at times like a concentration camp the message though twisted was similar. When you are truly holding yourself, you are more open to hear and truly see what’s in front of you. It’s not that you should hold yourself up or push yourself to being a certain way but more be aware of how you feel and what your thoughts are when you have yourself sitting or standing in certain situations or your body in certain configurations. Checking in with your body isn’t a now and then thing but more a constant feeling of how you are feeling and appreciating whatever comes next.

  24. Such a great blog Jane. It says so much and you have said it all so simply. It is amazing how when we connect to our true essence that life just flows, there isn’t a push or drive, when we follow an impulse and take action from there, it creates the space for all to love ourselves and others.

  25. Through the awareness of our bodies and the way we express ourselves we have the ability to communicate more than what we fathom to understand, it is our responsibility to hold a certain quality of movement in order for our soul to work through us for the good of all.

  26. A beautiful blog – reminding me of the way I sit, walk, and hold myself steady when I stand. It means a lot what you share – as it reveals that we are so much more than what we think we are, and that with how we use our body a lot is communicated and transferred. So it makes sense that in fact we have a responsibility how to be in our vehicle(body) and how we treat it – as our presence has a grand effect in and on our surrounding.

  27. A change in posture can completely change the course of our lives but it is why we chose to move and hold ourselves differently that really counts. If we change our posture to ‘put on a confident front’ others will feel this disconnection. If we choose to adjust our posture to support our bodies and connect to the people we share life with this will also be felt.

  28. What I got so clearly from reading this today, is how much is exchanged between people without us being aware, and then when we bring our awareness to it, we see how much we are actually feeling. That interaction between you and the students of slouching/non-slouching, happens all the time and we would all be feeling the lack of connection and presence/and then the connection and presence, but we dont take the take – like you did – to bring our awareness to it.

  29. Each time I read this article I am reminded of the responsibility we all have to support our bodies so we can hold them in the expanded way they require, to not only function with ease, but to bring an energy of presence to our world.

  30. Wow Jane this is beautiful. As a teenager I remember adults angrily reacting to my slouchy ways and this only made me want to slouch more! If someone explained things the way you have here I feel it would have made a big difference.

  31. It is great to hear about the responsibility we each hold in supporting ourselves we naturally support others whether it be our posture or just simple being aware and continually making this choice.
    Thank you for sharing Jane – a simple, profound and proven teaching.

  32. What a great example to show your students that how we position our body, how we move has a big impact on those around us, ‘If I choose to slouch in a chair for instance, I begin to shut myself off from others. In turn they get to feel this and may too choose to shut off. Thus the opportunity to connect and communicate openly is diminished simply by choosing how I sit.’

  33. I agree posture has a massive impact on how we feel and express. Knowing how many people have poor posture this is a very interesting study to make more broadly available, it might just solve some of the communication issues we have with each other. And it goes beyond sitting, it is also about walking, standing, sleeping… everything really!

  34. I know how it feels when I slouch, I loose focus on what I’m doing, I feel sleepy and I don’t comprehend what I’m reading… same goes for when someone else is slouching I feel a disconnection between us.

  35. A great sharing thank you Jane, our posture and movements do affect ourselves and everyone else, which brings responsibility to ourselves in how we move and hold our body.

  36. Jane, thank you for the great reminder about how important posture is, because not only does our posture affect ourselves, it also affects those we are with when we allow our posture to slip into a slouch, because we are switching off from ourselves and those around us.

  37. I love the link you’ve uncovered between posture and our relationships; we communicate with our body all the time, and body position is one of the easiest things to read about everyone in the world.

  38. Through my posture I am saying I am here, I am present and I am with you. Wow, through our posture we communicate so much, especially the truth of who we are and in that how much we can hold another. Gorgeous reminder.

  39. I am constantly adjusting my posture. I seem to ease back into a slouch every five minutes or so. In order to sit up straight it does require strength in certain areas and I am doing some abs work at the moment to see if it will support a weakness in my back that does get very achy. I agree that the way we hold our bodies, whether sitting, standing or walking has a big impact on us and the people around.

  40. Sometimes when I am at work, I find myself feeling quite uncomfortable in my chair. My legs might be crossed, or I might be sitting slightly off from the computer screen and I might feel a twist in my back etc. I wonder how this happens. It feels like an indication of me slowly losing connection with myself while working and ending up putting my own body in a compromising position. Something worth observing.

  41. Wow Jane, awesome blog. The example you shared is great. It really highlight the importance of being present with our body, check our posture and be aware of how we express also affect others. Our posture and the way we move is a form of expression, so it makes sense that our verbal express is affected by our physical expression, it’s all connected.

  42. In connection we are all looking for presence. Presence between ourselves and others is the glue of connection, we need not do anything, yet presence is felt and it inspires openness.

  43. Building awareness of our posture and the effects on self and others is so important for it has a huge impact on the relationship that is there – whether there is openness or whether we are shutting someone out, everything is felt and responded to accordingly. Once aware of the choices we can use our movement and posture to shift any unwanted energy and completely change what is happening. To carry ourselves in love, holding integrity and responsibility in all movements is an amazing way to live.

  44. This is such an awesome example of how “poor posture” affects not only us but those around us. And it sure was a most important lesson for not only the students but for you as well; a most valuable snippet of wisdom for you and them to take into everyday life. It is has certainly been a most timely reminder for me too.

    1. Absolutely Ingrid, I am inspired too by Jane’s blog to consistently check my posture throughout my day. It would most definitely make a huge difference to the quality of my day.

  45. You have shared a great exercise Jane that highlights that our posture and the way we hold and move our body really matters and either supports us in opening up and connecting with others or separates and isolates us communicating to people to stay away.

  46. Such a simple and powerful example of the power and reflection of our movements in our bodies for us and all around us.

  47. Makes me wonder why posture is not held as of just the same importance to the “big” topics we learn in life like science, physics, business or even the simple sending of an email. If our posture effects the quality of the end result then surely it is wise to bring quality of presence as a foundation for all these other aspects of life?

  48. Our body and it’s movements communicate everything, sometimes our words match that but often they do not. So really what this reveals is that we may well be listening to what someone is saying but even before this, we are reading their body and it’s movements and we are observing if someone is ‘walking their talk’ so to speak. The said thing here is that often we do realise this and we allow the words spoken to take precedence because it may be what we want to hear. But really we end up falling for the worlds greatest sales con rather than discerning everything.

  49. “it is actually something that can affect a whole group of people who are in my presence.” I’d go so far as to say it affects even those who are not in our presence, for every movement we make is felt by the All, both one this planet and to the farthest reaches of the ever-expanding universes. No pressure! 😉

  50. mmmm great to consider all of this. I know I have experienced it but thought I didnt do it any more, only to find myself aware of slouching as I read your description and self-corrected my body position! We are forever students of our own bodies!

  51. You raise some really great points in this blog Jane about posture and slouching, I know when I slouch the type of thoughts I have are very different to the quality of my thoughts when I sit or stand in a supportive posture and I agree we are far more open and accessible to others when we choose this way.

  52. It is, actually, this simple isn’t it Jane… I offer similar reflections to clients and students all of the time – and have not found a single person who doesn’t relate to what you’ve shared here.
    If I speak with you and I am slouched, and/or my head is turned to the side/slightly up or down, for example – you don’t have the opportunity to receive all of who I am… and this is always felt. Our posture reveals reams about our relationship with ourselves, and our willingness to truly express who we are and let others in. The simplest of adjustments, when we are aware, makes a tremendous difference.

  53. We are communicating far, far more with our body movements and the angles of our posture than we are with our words – this is worth paying heed to consciously, both in relation to ourselves and our own expression, and through that which we are constantly receiving and observing from others. Beautiful observations and sharing here Jane, thank-you.

  54. Thank you Jane, I had not considered how slouching puts pressure on and crushes the organs. Lots to explore here regarding posture.

  55. This blog gives me a moment to stop. If something as simple as our posture can make such a huge difference in how we communicate, what else in life are we choosing that reflects either our openness and willingness to connect with the world, or not. Maybe how we dress, what we wear, how we walk, how we drive, how we clean our teeth. My feeling is that if we do anything in life without first being connected to our quality we leave ourselves, and everyone else short of seeing and feeling the magnificence we all have to share.

  56. I too have come to understand the importance of posture. In only a few minutes I can go from feeling average to truly feeling beautiful and whole just by the way that I stand. This is the beauty of being in and with the body.

  57. The change in your relationship with the students as your posture changed is very confirming to me that everything is energy, and that we can manipulate and are in fact masters at manipulating it because there is the choice to simply not sit properly which can affect the flow of communication / energy throughout the whole room. Showing the great responsibility for eachother that we all have and can simply apply just by choosing to take care of our bodies.

  58. I have noticed that it’s often my attitude to something that can lead to a change in posture and then I can get drained and become very tired. Changing my posture, eg sitting up, not dragging my feet or not slumping in my lumbar region when walking has a very powerful effect and I have experienced that it also changes my mood.

  59. Its such a great and simple exercise to try out, and how quickly we can loose connection just by slouching in the chair and give the impression we do not care.

  60. I particularly like this blog and the truth of it which I have found is easily verifiable having tried it myself.

  61. It is probably easier to talk to someone who is open in their body language than one who is more closed. I certainly got the feeling reading this how important it is to be open in how I move, not just in how I sit or stand in my posture. Thanks Jane, for an awesome share.

  62. Thanks Jane, such a simple thing to be aware of on a daily basis, especially how our posture and movement effects all around us, including ourselves.

  63. Thank you Jane, I had not considered the energetic responsibility to self and others from taking care of my posture. I plan to experiment with this over the next week or so and feel the difference.

  64. “Through my posture I am saying I am here, I am present and I am with you.” What a beautiful lesson not only for the students who were sharing this day with you, but for me and everyone else who reads this very inspirational blog. For others to feel that we are with them 100% when we are in their presence is such a gift; a gift that is actually everyday normal and not just for special occasions.

  65. What an awesome exercise to do! I feel every teacher should do this with their students and have a discussion around it, it is something that is really tangible and can be felt and as you say affects us all.

  66. Communication is not limited to the words we say – it’s how we say them, how we move, how we care for our body and what hurts we maybe holding onto. Everything is being communicated through our bodies and nothing is hidden, even if we think we can hide. The way we walk and sit or stand is saying it all.

  67. This tells us everything – everything we are not, and everything we are – simply when we change our movement/posture. This quote carries it all: ‘Through my posture I am saying I am here, I am present and I am with you.’
    Thank you for sharing.

  68. This is such a good reminder of how much our posture and the way we move affects us not just physically but energetically too – I love your example of the change in how you and your class students felt as you slouched and sat up.

  69. Posture and movement communicate more then we may appreciate. The experiment with your students Jane is evidence of the power in our movements, and whether we react or respond. It affects our ability to connect with one another and also the thoughts that flow through us.

  70. Thank you Jane for bringing this to our awareness. We are constantly communicating to each other and not only through words. What is far more revealing is the way we move. Through our movements we can feel the quality of that which we have surrendered to. Have we given up or are we engaged in life, are we confident with who we are or do we lack self-worth, are we forcing our way through life and onto people or are we allowing and open? Our movements, if we are willing to observe, reveal to us the degree of truth we chose to live with, offering us the opportunity to make changes to embrace and live more of who we are, with all that we are with. As it is through our movements that we can return to bring and live our truth in any given moment.

  71. The moment I started reading this I was aware of my posture and immediately corrected it. What a bad habit to slump…and it’s incredible how a slight change in position can open you up to being so much more present. Blows me away every time.

  72. Jane, this is really helpful to read, ‘Likewise, if I choose to sit, stand and move gently in a way/posture that supports me and allows particularly my chest area to remain open, an opportunity to connect with others is there.’ I have been much more aware of my posture recently, I have noticed that sitting at a computer I can tend to lean in, which doesn’t feel good for my back, my chest or for my connection with myself, so when I feel this happening I am bringing myself back to sitting upright, I then notice how I am much more confident in myself, clear and my body feels good, not achy or strained.

  73. This is the type of science experiment that brings forward a known truth. Let’s apply more experimentation to our choices and honestly evaluate the results. If we did so our inner knowing would reignite, simply because we are offering ourselves a choice. That choice? To be honest.

  74. Wow Jane, I have always known and appreciated the importance of good posture but did not join the dots that our posture could and, indeed, would actually impact on others.

  75. This is a profound reminder of the power of posture… and of choosing to take responsibility for our expression through consciously focusing on allowing our body to be the foundation that will support this best. As you have shown the impact or blessing is undeniable depending on what we choose.

  76. Simple yet incredibly profound. I am extremely short and my feet almost never touch the ground. I often find myself slouching and I can feel that I use the fact that nothing is built for my height as an excuse. Your blog reminds me that my posture is my responsibility and I feel inspired to start paying more attention to it and to play with different ways I can physically support myself.

  77. It makes absolute sense to me that the more open and solid we are in our posture and movements, the more open and solid we are in our connection with ourselves and all others equally.

  78. And I’m totally with you on that one – I feel that when I slouch, and it can be super subtle, I feel a bit more withdrawn and not really “there”. And also it can be a way to hide our true selves and a true presence.

  79. I did not realise nor appreciate for many years just how much the way we hold ourselves has an effect on everyone around us, that is, until I learnt to be more consciously present with myself which developed my awareness and sensitivity in how I was choosing to open up or to shut myself off from truly connecting with others.

  80. Mmm fascinating Jane, I will investigate this further as I can completely see how this is the case with my engagement but had not expected it to affect others as well, but it makes perfect sense.

  81. It is amazing how we are able by manipulating our posture to influence our presence not only with ourselves but also with the people we are with. Bringing more awareness to this aspect of our humanly lives brings back a responsibility to who we naturally are and with that presence can contribute to the good in our world.

  82. The way we move and position our body can either be in accordance with the Universal order we belong to, or it can oppose it. What this means is that our bodies belong to a geometry that speaks a harmony and symmetry we each know to the depths of our being. Choosing to move counter to this harmony, although very common, is very unnatural and therefore strikes a note of discord that is deeply felt by us all whether we choose to be consciously aware of it or not.

    1. Sure we know this very well but comfortably move our bodies in such a way that makes us unconscious about this fact which make it possible to live our self created lives in disharmony with the order to which we belong.

  83. Wow, how powerful we are in our movement and how great an impact we have on others and our own body, in the choice we make to hold our body in. I have been finding in myself that the straighter the back the more open and connected I am to myself and for energy to flow through me. But also open to receiving energy.

    1. That every angle of our movement is either in harmony or not in its reflection is amazing to feel. As Jane has shared it is our responsibility to be aware of this and the affect we have on each other. We are expressing far more that in our words alone.

  84. I love this Jane, the simple act of how we position our body affects our relationships with others, and your experiment proved beyond doubt the importance of holding good posture. What I am learning through connective tissue exercises with Kate Greenaway is that this holding of good posture is not a hard straightening up, just a gentle alignment with how our bodies are naturally made to be, by staying open through the chest and heart and being tender in how I move. Quite a change from the unforgiving patterns of movement I had adopted through my life before coming to the work of Universal Medicine.

  85. I often get students when I am teaching them to slouch but I haven’t taken it to the level you share here with the impact on how they feel if I were to be slouching, I will give that a go. I find it fascinating that how we are sitting, standing will impact how we feel.

  86. Slouching feels as such a disregarding behaviour and often it is accompanied by an indifference especially in classrooms where students show their lack of interest in this way and cover up how they feel not met by the teacher.

  87. This is a great revelation Jane and so simple to try out for oneself, who would have thought that when we slouch with the idea to give ourselves a break and take it easy, we actually give ourselves a hard time.

  88. The wisdom of this blog offers us a way of being that not only honours ourselves, but all those we are in contact with. The way we hold and move our body reflects who we are for the world.

  89. Thank you Jane, this is a great, very real example of how the way we use our body has an impact on the way we express ourselves, as well as the quality of relationship we then can form with others.

  90. How we hold our body has a significant impact on how we feel, as this is often a subtle shift over time it may not be so obvious and therefore go undetected. Its a great experience to experiment with ones posture, allowing for back straitening throughout the day and some stretching and then see what you feel in your body and disposition as a result.

  91. Jane the first thing I did while reading your awesome blog was to bring myself in a good sitting position – I only can agree that: “Through my posture I am saying I am here, I am present and I am with you.”

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