This year has taught me that change is inevitable, constant, and natural. The way the seasons shift from one to another. The way our bodies grow, strengthen, and wear. The way we move from one place to the next. The way relationships weave throughout our lives.
Change is inevitable. But we get to decide how we choose to engage with it.
As we get older, change inevitably affects our bodies. Not all of the things that change in our lives are within our control. But the physical actions you take can positively or negatively influence the changes that happen naturally over time. If you choose not to evaluate your posture and you sit hunched over at a desk for long periods of time each day, your muscles will adapt to that position: Overstretched in some areas and shortened in others. Your body will physically lay down extra connective tissue where it thinks you no longer need access to range of motion (if you don’t use it, you lose it). This changes your body’s mobility and elasticity are a response to how you move. Isn’t that amazing?!
How often do you check in with your posture? Just the act of noticing is a huge success. Take a moment to check in with your body. How are you sitting or standing? How does your posture affect your breath? What does it feel like to make subtle adjustments?
Noticing your posture in the studio is the first step to creating better habits when it comes to studio ergonomics. If your studio practice requires you to sit in a chair for long hours, either at the bench or computer, then it is important to sit well: Sit toward the front of your chair and position your knees directly over your ankles. Adjust the height of your chair so your thighs are parallel to the floor. Then sit up tall, keep your chin level, keep the back of your neck long, and relax your shoulders. Even though good seated posture is important, remember that sitting for long periods of time without breaks can result in pain and discomfort in your back, neck, and shoulders. Remember to get up and walk around to add some variety into your day.
Even the smallest actions create change. Little adjustments help to teach your body how to create new patterns and build strength in areas that might be lacking. Every single time you make an effort to improve your posture, you’re re-training your muscles to learn to sustain that structure.