“Keep doing what you’re doing.”
They’re good words to be told when leaving the osteopath: No ‘but,’ no ‘however,’ just keep it up.
When I started ballet as a raw beginner a little over two years ago, a key motivator was my posture. Sitting at a desk all day for work, I knew I was falling into the trap of desk posture. I was becoming hunched and lazy.
It’s not that I wasn’t aware of the importance of posture, the difficulty was that good posture required a conscious effort – a conscious effort that faded as soon as I was distracted by the next email that appeared in my inbox.
Good posture had to become something that I did automatically.
Weighing up my options to take up a new form of exercise, I decided that dancing ticked a number of boxes: it was fun, it was active, it didn’t require daylight – and good technique required good posture.
With posture correction now in my criteria for choosing a form of dance, I decided ballet was the direction I wanted to go.
It still didn’t come automatically. It was still something I had to work on. But gradually, I went from sitting straighter at my desk the morning after class, to sitting straighter at my desk for the next two full days after class.
I now walk straight the whole week after class, right up until I walk in the door of my next class when that good posture is once again reinforced in my muscle memory.
I feel like my default posture is straight and no longer something I consciously focus on doing.
I still have my off days, those days when I’m just exhausted or dejected. But those hunched days are no longer the norm.
There’s a strength to walking taller, walking straighter. My muscles feel engaged and my body feels activated.
My mind does too.
We often associate good posture with confidence and sometimes I think it’s possible to trick ourselves into that mindset too.
I walk with confidence, therefore I am.