One-Minute Practice: Standing into Length

From childhood we are admonished to “stand up straight.” We learned to pull our shoulders back, lift our chests, and then try to hold that position.  But this position is unsustainable! Because it is hugely inefficient. So we drop down, let our muscles collapse and our bones compress down again.

We need to think about and practice “good posture” differently.

To explore a new way of standing, try un-doing some of the holding and compression.


Feel your feet resting on the ground. Move your weight around, feel weight on the front of your feet, your heels, then the outsides of your feet, the insides. Now let your weight be evenly distributed on all parts of your feet.

Allow your ankles, knees, and hips to be movable. Not locked. So your legs can go into movement at any moment.

Bring your attention to your head/neck joint—way up high, between the ears—and think about allowing this joint to have a little more space. Invite your skull to balance delicately. You do not have to hold your head up with your neck muscles. Your skull will balance. The more you can un-do your neck and jaw and face muscles, the freer your head/neck joint will be.

As your head/neck joint stops pressing on your spine, think about allowing your spine to release into length. Your spine is made up of bony vertebrae and cushions (vertebral discs) in between. If you let your spine lengthen up toward the sky, your discs will have a little more space, and you may sense yourself getting longer.

Think of your spine as your central axis. The tiny muscles close to your spine are your core muscles! These core muscles are activated when you stand in gravity. You don’t need to do anything to get them working, but you can un-do the larger muscles of the back (like the traps and lats—they are not necessary for standing upright.) The more un-doing you can allow, the more space you will create internally, and the more length and mobility you will feel.


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