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

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

  1. 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.”

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

    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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

  28. “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.

  29. 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.

  30. 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.

  31. 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.

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

  33. 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.

  34. 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.

  35. 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.

  36. 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.

  37. 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.

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

  39. 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.

  40. 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.

  41. 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.

  42. 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!

  43. “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! 😉

  44. 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.

  45. 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?

  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. 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.

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