The spine: the backbone (literally) of your entire body and being. Sending hundreds of conscious and subconscious nervous impulses every second to every part of your body allowing you to move, breathe, pump blood through your heart, LIVE. It’s no wonder why people care so much about having a healthy spine. Which is why I know that most of us have been told, or have thought for ourselves, that we should sit or stand up straight. But I’m here to tell you today that standing up straight is bad.
Because we shouldn’t be standing up straight, we should be standing up TALL.
Standing up straight typically has the connotation of standing with a neutral spine. Neutral spine means supporting your spine to rest with its natural curvatures (lordotic or convex curve of the cervical spine, kyphotic or concave curve of the thoracic spine, and a lordotic and kyphotic curve of the lumbar and sacral spine respectively).
But this only paints a half, two dimensional picture. So usually when you’re standing, you think to stand up straight by pinching your shoulders back so you’re not hunching. But there’s so much more to posture than that.
Standing up TALL allows you to start your posture from the ground up, in all planes of motion.
Having just neutral spine doesn’t mean from a side angle only. It means from the front, side, back, and every angle in between. And the only way to accomplish this is to stand tall.
Your feet are firmly planted on the ground about hip width apart, toes pointed forward or at an angle no greater than 30 degrees, your knees are slightly bent just so that they aren’t locked, your hips are even and space is created in your lumbar spine with tight glutes and core, your thoracic spine is promoted into a healthy position by a conscious contraction of your posterior chain (behind/back of your body) bringing your shoulders down and back forcing you to puff your chest out, your arms are resting to your side and palms facing inward toward your body, your head is rested directly on top of your body so a straight line can be drawn from the top of your head, through your neck, and down in between your feet.
Now you are standing straight, but you’re not quite there yet.
How to do stand TALL?
Well in this correct postural position, pretend that line running from the top of your head to your feet is actually a string. And imagine that the string is attached to a pulley above you. Now, slowly pretend as if someone is pulling that string, forcing you to be lifted up off of the ground, while remaining in this posture.
Stand up and do this with me right now as you read this.
Do you feel the SPACE that has been created in all of your joints and each and every vertebrae? Do you feel the energy that is harnessed through a firm rooting in the floor? Seriously. Actively do this right now.
But here’s the catch, you’re still not quite standing tall.
Because the final component to good posture and standing tall is the way you will now carry yourself in this position. To truly stand tall each must now feel empowered with this postural vitality to carry on with your life and command your presence wherever you walk or sit.
When you stand up straight, you’re simply straightening your spine.
But posture is power. When you stand TALL you become confident – your character changes. You’re in charge and you are a presence, a force, and someone that people notice as you stand, or walk by.
Good posture allows your nervous system to be more efficient, promotes good health and increased vitality as you age, and can be significant in reducing injury.
Standing TALL allows you to become confident. A force that will drive you through your journey to become the strongest, healthiest, and happiest you can be.