The good news is that it can be a lot easier than sucking in the stomach; it’s just a case of checking your posture. But contrary to popular belief, this doesn’t mean trying to stand stiff and up straight. A natural, upright posture should be effortless and can knock five pounds off your appearance instantly.
Try the following tips in front of a mirror and see for yourself.
- Visualise a thread attached to the top of your head is pulling you up. If you struggle to think of the thread, just get a sense of the floor beneath your feet pushing you up instead. If you can do both, imagine your body is like an elastic band being pulled at both ends – but don’t tighten your lower back.
- ‘Open up’ a little in front of your ankles and let your weight drop into your heels.
- Now imagine you have a sheet tucked under your hat and under your heels and you want to stretch the sheet without tightening. You’ll find if you can relax while doing the thinking this will help you to lengthen and grow taller.
- Visualise your stomach coming back and up into your torso – but don’t suck it in. When standing most people collapse into their body and apply downward pressure resulting in the stomach being pushed out. For example, if you take a jelly baby in between you thumb and forefinger and press – see what happens to its stomach. A lengthening spine and upright posture creates space in your torso and prevents the squeeze on your lower abdomen with the added benefit of making your appearance better!
A good posture has many benefits. These include improved breathing, muscle tone and better co-ordination. Obviously it’s better to lose five pounds in the long run, and a better posture can help you achieve freer movement for exercising.
Posted by Roy Palmer, Alexander Technique Teacher at our centre.