All things with the ability to move – animals, plants, buildings, vehicles and the earth – adapt to their environment and outside forces, which change or modify their alignment. A seagull sets its wings for a glide in the sky and a bird dog points to guide the hunter to a downed prey. We pose our body in yoga, competitors in the Miss America competition posture for appearance, football players present a stance at the line of scrimmage and race runners ready for the starter’s gun. An animal suffering defeat at the paws, claws, teeth or hooves of a rival undergoes a postural change when injured or reduced in rank. The bent front wheel of a bicycle impairs performance and safety.
In the search for water and sunlight, the growing pattern of plants is altered and their size is determined by the space where they are confined to grow. Cypress trees on the edge of the Pacific Ocean grow at a slant, shaped by the constant force of the wind. The Leaning Tower of Pisa has an alignment problem.
Human beings are no different. Our body is constantly being shaped by habits of stance, sleep position, repetitive movements, emotional tension and furniture in the workplace, home and public environments. Every second, our body is affected by forces that alter its structure, shape and ability to move, leaving impressions in our physical body about their impact.
Active posture reflects our physical organization as a human form, deciding our ability to be alert, stay focused, move with ease or flee from danger. When misalignment is present in any part of our anatomy, it can and does affect how we move, communicate, perform and our health.
Our posture is always changing for the better or for the worse. It depends greatly on living and working environments and the postural habits we practice.
Diane Whitacre, Structural Anatomist, RT ©2017