Effortless Great Posture &
Balanced Yet Fully Functional Structure
Where Does Better Posture REALLY Come From?
Would You Believe … Water Pressure?
Little children almost always sit and stand perfectly upright, with a nice vertical line, and they’ve never been to a yoga or Pilates class. …
You, on the other hand, and most other people, start looking like the guy on the right here, unless you work really hard at maintaining so-called Great Posture. But most of us have to work hard, keep vigilant, and keep reminding ourselves to sit or stand straight.
But do you think those little kids are thinking much about their posture? Are they sneaking off to strengthen their CORE when you aren’t looking, so they can have great posture?
NO, you say? … So if little kids can do it, why can’t YOU?
The answer is surprisingly simple, though not exactly easy, to accomplish.
The Answer is little children still have the Natural Forces built into the human body at birth still fully functioning. They have not done the things, yet, that start the usually slow, insidious process of over-powering or interfering with their built-in by nature, internal postural & structural forces.
And sometimes, things happen that speed the process up quite a bit, such as an accident.
The Natural Forces of Better Posture & Alignment
Here are the forces that keep us upright:
- Fascial Bags & Bones
- Water Pressure
- Soft Tissue Actions
- Righting Reflexes
- Micro-doses of Musculo-Fascial Tension
Here’s the Quick Version of the story:
Gravity is NOT the Enemy of Posture
Many, if not most, of us think of life as a constant, life long battle with gravity. We think in order to maintain better posture, we must stay vigilant to constantly fight gravity. Because gravity is always trying to pull us DOWN, right?
Well, that’s only HALF the story.
If you take a brand new, unsharpened pencil, and stand it up on end (eraser end pointing UP), the pencil will stand there, all by itself. That’s because gravity is pulling equally on all sides of the pencil simultaneously. The pencil will stay vertical until some outside force causes it to lean over. When it leans over, gravity will start pulling on one side of the pencil more than the other, and it will fall over.
So, as long as you are standing vertically, in a straight line, gravity will pull equally on all sides of YOUR body, too. In that case, gravity is working with you and for you, not against you. But if you lean slightly into the field of gravity, unless some of your muscles tighten up to counteract the force of gravity, you too, will fall over.
Spacers Keep You LONG, Not Squat
You might be familiar with the fact that the body has many soft tissues that are, essentially, bags made of soft tissues. Many of these tissues, called fascia, are very bendable and resilient. Each of your body segments is a “bag” of fascia. These bags contain your muscles, organs, glands and nerves.
Left to themselves, all those soft tissues would just lay on the floor in a pile. So nature came up with the idea of bones. Bones are long spacers which keep each of your body segments long instead of squat. Your bones are a major part in what gives your body dimension, rather than just lying on the floor in a pile of soft tissue.
And by-the-way: Bones are like pencils. If they are standing up on end, and are vertical in the field of gravity, gravity will hold your bones from falling over. Other bones are like spacers, keeping one bone from getting too close to other bones.
(Yes, I’m over-simplifying a little here. But the principles are quite valid, so stick with me here, please!)
Fluid Movement, Buoyancy & the “Skyhook”
Now, we know that bones are not actually stacked on top of each other. There are joint capsules maintaining some space between bones. The capsules contain synovial fluid, providing lubricant and a padding to keep bones from rubbing against each other.
And each of your fascial bags contains a large percentage of water, too. The water pressure within those bags is like air in a balloon. If there is enough water in the balloons, they will maintain pressure, outward in all directions, including upward.
So, the water pressure within your body literally creates a buoyant, upward force, depending on what your other body components are doing.
If you’ve ever wondered why they call it “Fluid Movement,” now you know.
One group of researchers said, somewhat in jest, that the human body is something water invented so it could walk around.
And if you’ve ever been in a yoga or exercise class where they mentioned a “skyhook” lifting you upward, and wondered where that skyhook actually was, now you know. That feeling of being lifted upward is not something “up there” pulling you skyward. It is the water pressure within your body buoying you upward, skyward, when everything is fully functioning and in harmony.
Soft Tissue Actions
What holds all this stuff together? … Mostly, the muscles and fascia, with a little hep from the ligaments.
First, the Fascia, also called connective tissue, is the material forming all the “bags” containing your muscles and bones. They are literally the sheaths containing your muscle fibers. These sheaths converge at the ends of your muscles to form tendons, which deliver the pulling power of your muscles to your bones.
Fascia also form your ligaments, which connect bones to bones, usually across and close to the joints. The ligaments are what keep your bones from moving too far in any particular direction. Ligaments are NOT a big player in holding most your joints together, except in the vertebrae of your spine and plates of your skull.
The tension levels in your muscles are the primary forces holding your joints together. But as you’ll see elsewhere on this website, if your muscles are too tight, too chronically contracted, they will actually create excess joint compression, which is not a good thing.
This one, tensegrity, is a little more complex.
Years ago, a a very smart guy named Buckminster Fuller invented the geodesic dome. The geodesic dome is, essentially, a structure of triangles, nature’s strongest structural shape. The geodesic was, at the time, considered the strongest structural shape known to building science.
Then, Fuller took it a step further, inventing a tensegrity structure. Except, he didn’t actually invent it. He discovered the principle, then applied it to building structures. Soft, tensional elements interacting with more-or-less rigid members create a very resilient, flexible structure, yet very strong.
The principle was similar to a geodesic dome, using more-or-less triangular shapes in his structure. And the principle exists in nature, especially the human body. Your bones are the more-or-less rigid elements, and your musculo-tendinous units are the tensional elements. Working together, they maintain a very strong yet flexible system. Adding the hydrostatic pressure, your water balloons, to the structure makes it a marvel of bio-structural engineering.
Now, your nerves come into the picture. Your nervous system is constantly monitoring your body, especially at all the joints. It also monitors your overall balance, mostly through the ear canals. It’s a complex system, but when your body get’s even slightly off the centerline of balance in the filed of gravity, your sensory nerves send signals through your central nervous system to the muscles.
Micro-Doses of Neuro-Musculo-Fascial Tension
Your muscles, then, can alter the relationship of your bones and body weight to gravity. In ordinary circumstances, this only requires very small amounts of contraction, even micro-doses of tension to the muscles. Except when you are laying down, your neuro-muscular units are operating in fairly constant and varying cycles of contraction/relaxation.
However, the more tense your muscles are, the more tonused up they are, the more energy and force the righting reflexes need to exert to maintain stable posture. Your own body provides it’s own resistance — C.E.M.&.N.T. — to standing and sitting upright. Learn more about C.E.M.&.N.T. (Chronic, Excess Muscle & Nerve Tension) Here.
And that should be your First Big Clue: Unless highly traumatized very early in life, or even before birth, the muscles of little children have not yet accumulated enough psycho-neuro-musculo-fasical tension to interfere with their posture much at all.
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Thank You for Reading,
David Scott Lynn (DSL)
DSL: Your Hi-Touch Up-Link to the Inner-Net
Inner-Net: Your Psycho-Neuro-Musculo-Fascial System