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

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

  1. ‘Through my posture I am saying I am here, I am present and I am with you’, is wowser of a statement. To me it feels you are open to anyone, it’s also saying I am here for you whether you accept or not accept what I am offering. I will not change my standards for others, and that absoluteness will remain within me…

  2. It’s intreresting to think how our body posture affects people all of the time, even if we are not in direct communcation with them.

    1. Our body posture may not be a direct communication but it actually is, in that it’s communicating an expression that we all can read and in that we reciprocate back.

      There’s more to communication than our voices, it is in our every movement.

  3. Body movements and their quality in particular are key communicators in how open we are and how connected we are willing to be with another and the world itself.

  4. Slouching really is a ‘killer’ of relationships – it so does make it hard to connect to and maintain a conversation and be with a person, whether I am the one slouching or whether it’s the other person that is doing the slouching. There is something really ‘off-putting’ having a conversation with someone who is slouching as all the body signals are saying ‘go away’ or ‘I want to be left alone’.

  5. Jane thank you for a gorgeous and simple sharing – whilst I was reading this blog I suddenly became very aware of my posture and how I was sitting, and though I was not slouching, I could feel how even the smallest corrections are now supporting me so much more to stay focused and alert. Now my challenge is to take this awareness through my day!

    1. Henrietta the way I sit while working at the computer is something I am paying attention to. I’m finding that gentle exercise is supporting my back muscles which supports my whole body to be more erect and not slouch over the keys of the computer. Exercising has become part of my daily routine as I can feel the benefits of the movements over time have supported the core muscles of my body which has changed the way I hold myself and move completely.

  6. If I bring a focus to my jaw often I can tell if it’s clenched or not. Letting go of my jaw can help relax my whole body as the rest follows suit. Great if in a tense moment I can bring myself out of the tension.

  7. Jane, this is so beautifully simple and a breath of fresh air to read how the way we are with our bodies affects all of us. I would have loved this – and the understanding of what energy I am choosing to express in the way I move and hold and take care of my body – to have been taught to me when I was at school and university.

  8. Our posture, and movements affect not only ourselves, but equally 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.’

  9. One thing I hadn’t realised about the importance of posture Jane was the impact on the organs, it makes sense that when we scrunch up the body everything is pressured physically and may be unable to work as freely.

  10. Interesting discussion Jane, and adding to this couch potato discussion or if we potter around / become a pot head, we end up slouching as we have no purpose and claiming the space I am sitting in and feeling the purpose of this discussion has changed my posture so thank your for the inspiration.

  11. A slouch is not natural to our body, it is a leaned pattern formed through and in reaction to our life experience. Putting the body in a placement and movement that feels natural and supportive to us is like saying ‘I will not let anything outside of me affect the way I am.’ Pretty powerful front-footing.

  12. Wow Jane, a simple exercise that taught you all so much. I bet that ‘lesson’ stayed with you all for a long time.

  13. There is so much to discover about ourselves and how we use or misuse the body, actually we could say slouching is abusing our body and then we are not yet talking, about what you’ve shared Jane, the effect on others. Connecting to our body and choosing the posture that says ‘I am here’ is the responsibility we have, towards ourselves and equally to otheres and it is actually quite simple.

  14. Love this reminder that we are always communicating, through how we hold and move our bodies. In every moment we are reflecting a specific quality to the world.

      1. This is something we are not taught but is vital to the way we communicate with ourselves and all others.
        We are transmitters of energy which energy we chose to move shows in the way we move.

  15. We can support ourselves enormously simply by becoming aware how we hold ourselves and then support ourselves in strengthening our bodies by bringing attention to these areas be it through exercise or just in the momentarily awareness that lets us already move in a different way.

  16. I love this Jane, is it highlights the power we have access to through the way we command our bodies to be positioned. The way we hold ourselves communicates volumes as the way we choose to hold ourselves calls for a specific quality of energy to move through us even in just sitting or standing.

  17. ‘Through my posture I am saying I am here, I am present and I am with you’. Gorgeous, so simple and powerful just by bringing attention to our posture, which is how we hold truly hold ourselves.

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