The Origins of Posture Part 2

I really enjoy the time I spend in Bendigo with Josh and Aaron. The reasons are simple. Both are exceptional practitioners who have a world-centric view of treatment and training. They are authentic and open, and want the best for themselves and those they are interacting with in their clinic and broader network.

I am pleased to offer some considerations on this second perspective of the origins of posture.

My first point would be that the people I talk with one on one and in classes is that they have no clear idea of what good posture is, and certainly no means for practicing or embodying good posture because of this lack of clarity around posture.

As Josh outlined in part 1. The Prague School of Rehabilitation have spent decades observing and experimenting with the functional norms making up infant development in healthy and pathological contexts. This mapping of healthy and pathological development has allowed a very clear picture to emerge of what constitutes ‘functional ideal’ while also allowing clarity on dysfunctional patterns arising from brain lesions in cerebral palsy babies.

It turns out that the patterns that adults exhibit when they have on-going movement difficulties and chronic injury are identical to those in babies with brain lesions. In other words the patterns of ideal and dysfunction are not arbitrary and can be understood within the framework of developmental kinesiology in functional and pathological contexts.

The other area where posture gets confused lies in the domain of aesthetics, image, and cultural conditioning. As Josh pointed out in part 1, the aesthetics of ballet are non-physiological, and have arisen out of an historical view of standing out and being different.  The consequences of these aesthetic changes take time to understand, and will differ based on the quality of the stabilising and motor systems of the individuals performing them.

Baryshnikov vertical 'perfection'

The field of gravity is non-discerning and the upright organism can only be pain-free in a long-term sense if the sensory mechanisms which are tuned to gravity are aligned to this evolutionary intelligence.

The proprio-sensory, vestibular, optic, exteroceptive, interoceptive, mechanoreceptive, respiratory and stabilising apparatus are all linked to our most basic perception, which is the sense of up and down. Therefore ideal posture is our living perception of gravity which integrates body, balance and vision.

The ideal version of this cannot be ‘my opinion’ and indeed, all good practitioners, coaches and teachers who are linked to treatment, performance and optimisation are using observation that is linked to this understanding.

Our difficulty in being able to live from an understanding about what constitutes ‘living posture’ lies with limited and conditioned perspectives on what good posture is.

Intrinsic posture of the child that is not yet contaminated by 'mixed messages'


The 'uncontrived posture of the Nuba tribesman

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