What are the advantages of good posture?
From an aesthetic point of view, those with good posture appear taller and slimmer than others.
Having good posture gives you confidence in yourself.
In our modern times it is normal to spend several hours each day sitting in a car or in front of a computer screen or else to carry heavy suitcases when going on holiday. It is not surprising therefore that many have back problems. Some of these problems can be corrected with better posture.
A good posture helps the correct functioning of the internal organs and with breathing.
Those with good posture rarely have digestive problems since the stomach and intestines are not subject to unnecessary pressure.
Before beginning a Pilates class, you should have the best posture possible. This is called “neutral”, alignment of the hips with the vertebral column. Stand with your feet parallel and the width of your hip bones, the weight of your body evenly distributed on both feet. Put your hip girdle into neutral by drawing your navel towards your spine and tucking your tailbone (coccyx) slightly under. Lengthen your spine and draw the top of your head towards the ceiling.
Lift your ribcage and draw your shoulder blades towards your hips. Let your arms hang down the sides of your body. Your chin is parallel with the floor, your neck lengthened. Look at an imaginary horizon and slightly bend your knees (relax your legs).
In profile, your head should sit directly over your shoulders, thorax, hips, knees and feet. A plumb line should fall on the centre of your ear, your neck, your arm, hip, back of your knee and on to the heel. Try to keep this alignment in your daily life.
The stability of the upper chest (thorax) is dependent on the upper abdominal muscles. Lie on your back and raise your arms overhead. It is the upper abdominals which prevent your upper back and ribcage from rising from the floor.
The stability of the rest of the torso is dependent on the lower abdominal muscles. Lying on your back raise your legs from the floor (either one or both). It is your lower abdominals which prevent your back from stretching too much or arching.
It is through the muscular strengthening of Pilates that you will control your abdominal muscles without effort and without the need for pulling in your stomach unnaturally. You will be able to maintain a good posture automatically without the need for tensing your muscles.