Aidan O’Mahony won Dancing With The Stars. The girls were better, all but Kerry people would agree. But the footballer did make great improvement from day one to becoming the ultimate winner. He probably made the greatest difference on his journey. “Zero to hero” as judge Julian said. https://youtu.be/MxKr-I0FuO8
A lot of the talk during the show was of posture. In the beginning, Aidan’s posture was stiff and his performance wooden. But he would have been admired for his posture on the football field as a multi medal winning All Star for Kerry.
So, what is this posture thing so often talked of? If you have good posture wouldn’t it transfer from the football field to the dance floor?
Maybe it is our interpretation of posture. Often it is defined in the way we hold ourselves. And while that is not completely untrue, it is misleading. In finding a frame for dancing or taking a free kick, you want to find the space in your joints and as you balance and focus on alignment. However, “holding” is the misleading part. Muscles are meant for movement. If we hold our muscles, we fail to be flowing as we move.
You, the viewer, have become an expert on posture while watching dancing shows, team games or athletes. If a person is not flowing in their activity you see it, you know it. You know when it works and when it doesn’t. You might not know how to make improvements but you can recognise who is performing well and who isn’t. Sit in a football stadium and listen to the experts around you speak to all the faults they see in the players. We are wonderful armchair experts.
To recognise posture complaints in yourself may be more difficult. It is hard to notice internally. When the dancers were told to improve their line or frame, the tendency was to put it on. Put a frame on their posture and tighten up. Rather than allowing the frame to come from inside, soften the muscles and direct the activity. When the intention for the movement comes from inside, it is free and fluid. this improved over the weeks as they learned to go inside to find their resources.
Posture is after all how you feel inside, moment to moment.
If you feel good, you will move well. Look at how much Denise was enjoying herself last night. If you are overthinking, hurting or sad, your posture and movement will reflect that. If you are comfortable and know what you are doing, you will use your body in a way that is elegant, free and fluid. Look at Aidan on the football feel which is his home. He flows and is comfortable on the ball. Give a ball to judge Brian and see how he does with it. He may surprise you because he does know how to move. He might not do so good if several 15 stone footballers are coming at him.
Posture is changing shape. In dancing, you are constantly changing shapes, to every beat of the music and all the milli-seconds in between. In sport your attention is constantly changing to the process of the game and being in the moment. It is changing in connection to the movement of the ball, connection with your partners, opposition and environment. Life changes moment to moment and so do you.
So, what is the right posture? A question I get asked thousands of times
How can there be one right posture? How can a dancer, sports person, human being get through life with one posture? Just know if you are holding, that's not it.
Let me put it this way. It depends on what you are doing. Good and useful posture is using the minimum amount of muscle tension, and energy, for the job in hand. It is connecting to what you are doing and thinking. If you are thinking of the next step you are already using too much tension. If you are clear and in this step right now you are here and in it. You have the power of now. It is mindfulness in action, in the zone, connection. That leads to excellent performance.
Bad posture is out of balance, excessive muscle tensions, rigidity, jerky movement and poor performance.
Posture is part of what is happening right now. If you are looking at your phone reading this, notice the posture you are in and if it is stiff or free. If you are sitting at a computer how is your posture? Can you know from your own senses or do you need a reflection, to tell you if your posture is good or bad?
Posture is essentially balance. If I am out of balance it may be because of poor posture. Habits of holding that have set into my muscles, and my thinking. If I understand how I am designed to balance and move as a human being I can invite myself to use less muscle tension and be more in myself. It depends on what you want.
If you want to be in your whole strength of your full person to spin a lady above your head, you need good posture and balance. You can get away with a lot when you are not on camera. If you are regularly sitting at a computer all day the reason to improve your posture might be to free yourself of back pain, or neck tension. Or your wish may be to improve your confidence and how you stand on your own two feet in the workplace.
Posture can be a goal but I find if you replace the goal of good posture with a passion, it incentivises you more to take care of yourself. After all, the body and mind you have are yours. No one else drives you. You are the one to move you around. You are the one who feels good and bad in your body. Aidan improved his dancing posture and enjoyment of dance so that he could win Dancing With The Stars. A compelling incentive to prove himself to the naysayers. He is a competitor after all.
I’m not saying Aoibhin and Denise didn’t want it as much as Aidan did. They were truly brilliant and inspirational in their commitment to every dance, every long line and trusting lift. They all brought their best game last night. And you can see and feel and know the joy of dance and the connections the whole group made on their DWTS journey. It was a beautiful thing.
So to those who wish to improve their posture. What is the real reason you would like to improve your posture? What incentive do you need to feel good in yourself? What goal will move you to make the changes to live more presently in your body and mind? To put you back in the driving seat of the vehicle you live in. Because that’s what we’re really talking about. Do you want your vehicle (body) to move well and look good?
Think about it.
Alexander's technique offers tools for life. Not just for posture.
PS Individual lessons to explore your unique postural habits can be made by appointment.
Contact me now 087 6503523
Photos and clips thanks to RTE
I am Fiona and I am exploring themes of meeting resistances and allowing ways through. The constant weeding, recognising the stuff that's in the way to live easier.