Active Consciousness Newsletter -- July 2012 Posture: A Gateway to Self-Awareness Most people in the modern world tend to have poor posture. I'm sur


Active Consciousness Newsletter -- July 2012


Posture: A Gateway to Self-Awareness

Most people in the modern world tend to have poor posture. I'm sure that part of it is our general detachment from our bodies. We spending most of our days sitting in front of computers, TVs, on couches, in cars, or on punishing assembly lines. Perhaps if we were more in touch with our bodies, with nature, and with the natural functions that our bodies evolved to perform, our posture would be better.

I remember how sad I was as I saw my children's wonderful child posture slowly deteriorate as they grew older. Slouching at their computer or while watching TV, I constantly tried to get them to "sit up straight!" To no avail, unfortunately. Gradually, this seems to happen to most of us.

Unfortunately, the ultimate results of chronic poor posture include chronic body pain and even internal organ dysfunction. This is a blind spot of conventional medicine, but is well understood by chiropractors. I recently went to see my chiropractor, who I love because he doesn't focus on cracking the back or neck (quick fixes) but rather, on exercises, posture, and other self-empowering ways to achieve a healthy body structure. Over the years, he has repeatedly stressed to me that my chronic bad neck posture -- a forward neck position (see photo) -- would cause me problems. Lately I've been experiencing some of them, and have been using every little tingle and twitch as a reminder to keep my neck back and my chin down. Maybe I will finally break this bad habit!

One fascinating read about posture is F.M. Alexander's book, The Use of the Self. Many years ago I took lessons from an Alexander teacher on the "Alexander Technique". It is a form of posture therapy that is popular among musicians and actors, since it is so important for their craft to maintain good posture. It was recommended to me by a voice teacher I had many years ago. So I am well-aware of the benefits of good posture. But the benefits of those lessons, while remaining in my mind, have lost their impact on my body.

Have you ever considered that body posture pertains not only to our bodies but also to our psyches -- our feelings, our thoughts, even our energy bodies? As I point out in Active Consciousness, the spiritual teacher G.I. Gurdjieff was well aware of the relationship between posture and the self. As he said, "Every race... every nation, every epoch, every country, every class, every profession, has its own definite number of postures and movements... A man is unable to change the form of his thinking or his feeling until he has changed his repertory of postures and movements."

If you think about it, posture is a key aspect of body language. As Gurdjieff points out, we can even read people's nationality or profession or social class from their posture. We may not be consciously aware of it, but these kinds of impressions are deep within our unconscious awareness. What messages are you conveying to others through your posture?

Gurdjieff would often require his students to take on unusual postures and hold them in order to feel the effects on their minds and feelings. I decided to use my neck issues as a vehicle for exploring this very thing. I soon discovered that posture, thought, feeling, and sensation all have an intimate relationship with one another. When I was in a particular mental state, I tended to assume a particular posture. And when I changed my posture, my internal feelings and thought processes immediately changed as well. In other words, I discovered that posture is a gateway to self-awareness!

My teacher Gary Sherman has been emphasizing this point to his students for years. As he points out, aligning with the central core of our bodies can also align us with our inner Selves. During my awareness experiments with my neck, I noticed that when my neck is in the forward position, I have the sense of leaving my body energetically to meet or to perceive others. I feel ungrounded or uncentered with my Self. I also feel a bit more insecure, fearful, or anxious. It evokes the feeling within me of being an anxious or pleading child.

However, when my neck is in the correct position, centered over my spine with my chin down, I feel completely different: energetically centered in my body, more connected to my inner Self, more confident and assured, mature, and relaxed. Aaah. Not only does my body begin to feel better physically, but the rest of me does as well -- my thoughts, my feelings, my sensations, and my energy bodies too.

Why not experiment with posture as your summer Self-awareness project?


Have A Glorious Summer!

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