Monthly Archives: June 2015

41 Can You Fix My Kid’s Posture in Three Weeks?

I don’t work with children a lot but I do occasionally.

One August I got a rather frantic sounding e-mail from a local parent asking me if I could fix his son’s posture in the next three weeks, before school started. It was a matter of great concern, he wrote.

My first response when I am contacted by a parent wanting to bring their child in to see me is to ask, “Have you spoken to your child about coming in to see me?” I will agree to work with the child if (1) the parent gets a buy in from the child to at least try 2—3 lessons with me and (2) the parent allows the child to be part of the decision whether or not to continue past the initial lessons.

Half the time we don’t get past this initial interaction and the child never comes in. When the child does come in it is usually very obvious that it is the parent who needs the lessons more so than the child.

As a parent you are a model for your children. Kids, especially at a very young age, learn so much by imitating those around them.

father and son pointing

Kids learn a lot by imitating those around them

Adults understand modeling behavior as a way to teach their kids to do things like saying please and thank you, not using profanity, looking both ways before they cross the street, cleaning up after themselves.

But do you think about being a model for your children in terms of posture and Use?

If you don’t understand your own posture and Use, or even know what constitutes good posture and Use, how can you expect to be a good model for your kids? You are never too old to learn and to make changes – if you want to.

So if you are a parent and are really concerned about your kids’ posture start with yourself.  Be the best model you can. This will go a lot farther than constantly prodding your kids to “stand up straight!” That advice from your parents didn’t work well for you, so why do you think it would work for your kids?

Picture credit: Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

40 A Leaning Nation

sketch of tower of pisaI observe people. A lot.

I have always enjoyed people watching, even as a young child. As an Alexander teacher I am trained in the art of observation of self (and others). So, it’s hard not to observe people. Occupational hazard, I guess.

Some students ask me when I am out in public, if I am constantly judging people’s posture and Use. I’d say I am more of a curious observer than a critic. I wonder a lot at what people do with themselves and why. People and their Use are an endless source of fascination for me.

One thing that I have observed a lot recently is how most people don’t stand on their own two feet. Instead they lean.

couple leaning on luggage

Fig A: we can come up with an endless variety of ways of leaning on things!

They lean on anything they can. Walls, partitions, countertops, luggage, tables and chairs. And if there is nothing to lean on, they lean on themselves.

woman standing with weight in left hip

Fig B: a common habit of leaning on yourself-collapsing down into one hip.

 

woman standing next to broken down car

Fig C: another common habit of leaning on yourself-leaning back and sitting down into your lower back.

I have my own hypotheses about why this is so. One is that as adults when we sit, which most of us do most of the time, we don’t practice sitting upright and balanced, supporting our own torsos. When we sit down, we lean back against the back of the chair, or lean to the right or to the left supporting ourselves on an armrest.

Because we spend so many hours sitting and leaning we take the same leaning behavior into standing as well.

We get good at what we practice.

I go to a local Chipotle restaurant about once a month. I have been to a many Chipotle restaurants over last few years. Like most chains, the interior of the restaurants are quite similar. And in this chain they tend to have a low wall, about 3 ½ feet in height that people snake around as they wait in line.

What I enjoy a lot about going to Chipotle (besides the food) is watching how people wait in line. I’d say most of the time about 75% of the people are leaning against that low wall in some way or another. And the variations of leaning seem endless. And some are quite creative! The remaining 25% that are not leaning on the wall are leaning into one hip or the other, or are standing with their knees locked, pelvis thrust forward and literally are leaning back and down onto their lower backs.

Observing others is often helpful when learning to observe yourself. Watch how other people stand. What percentage are leaning on objects or on themselves? How do they lean? Do you observe any of these habits in yourself?

Picture Credits: Image of Leaning Tower of Pisa courtesy of TeddyBear[Picnic] at FreeDigitalPhotos.net; Fig A: Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net; Fig B: Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net; Fig C: Image courtesy of Witthaya Phonsawat at FreeDigitalPhotos.net