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POSTURE: A Tall Tale about Fitness, Back Discomfort and Wellness.

Posted Sep 12 2008 9:25am

By Lesley Powell, Director Movements Afoot

The past month I have been working with my family members with back problems. Unfortunately none of the medical profession addresses their posture. When a car’s wheels are out of line, it affects the entire mechanism. The same concept about misaligned posture will affect all movement. When a body part is stuck, the body organizes around that. It is important to rule out certain medical conditions, such as herniated disks and nerve pain. Exercise can make certain conditions worse without medical attention.

When a client comes to me with back discomfort , I look at their posture and then how they use their legs. When the back is misaligned, most times the legs are not able to do their job. A lot of people use their backs to lift their legs and shift them forward. One client to walk upstairs was leaning her torso forward to propel her forward. The legs and pelvis should shift the body forward up the stairs.


Awareness is key. Teaching your client how they to sense their body is very important. Their brain thinks that their poor posture is okay. One needs to retrain how their body thinks and sends messages to their muscles and bones. Posture is dynamic. It is not a fixed position, but a constant organization around gravity.

An awareness exercise is not about quantity but about quality. Do not perform these awareness exercises fast. Find time to become aware where your sacrum is in space in standing.

  • Stand with your legs parallel.
  • Place your hands on your sacrum.

    Your sacrum is a triangular bone in the back of the pelvis.
    The tailbone is at the end of the sacrum.

  • How is your sacrum facing?

    The top of the sacrum should be level on a horizontal line. The bone should feel as if it is standing up in your pelvis. When the sacrum is out of line, you will feel the bonerotated and/or unleveled.

  • Move the sacrum to be leveled and upright inside your body.

    How does this make your legs and back feel? Where does this place your head?

  • See if you can bring this awareness in your day while you wait in line, talk standing to someone, brush your teeth, etc.



  • Stand with your legs parallel and place your hands on your sacrum.

  • Move the sacrum to be leveled and upright inside your body.
    How does this make your legs and back feel? Where does this place your head?

  • Stand on one leg and keep the sacrum fairly quiet?

  • Repeat to the other side.

When the legs are weak, the sacrum will rotate and/or unleveled a lot. Use the wall until you have developed the awareness and strength to stand well on a leg. Increase the length of time on one leg when your form is great. Standing on a block will challenge balance more.


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