Rules for Perfect Posture
What’s “right” today may be “wrong” tomorrow

Do You Think You Have Bad Posture?

We all have ideas about how our posture should be (back straight, shoulders down, stomach in) and what constitutes “correct” movement (engage core muscles or never twist). We acquired a lot of these growing up. As an adult we continue to gain more from physical therapists, chiropractors, yoga teachers, etc.

These ideas can lead us to feel badly about ourselves for not living up to them. I hear people daily chastising themselves for doing perfectly normal or benign things such as slumping in their chair sometimes or not standing with their shoulders back.

Are Your Ideas About What’s Right Helping or Hindering You?

Too often we adopt ideas about what’s correct without question, especially when they come from someone trusted, like a doctor. You may not pause to consider the information may be outdated, an opinion not fact, or that it doesn’t make sense for you.

The reality is that there’s no one-size-fits-all way to sit, stand or move. Even for you, there’s not necessarily one way to be all the time—it will change based on what you’re doing, the space and position you’re in, whether you feel good or are in pain, etc.

What If You Threw Out the Idea of Right and Wrong?

1950s Chiropractic Beauty Contest
photo by Wallace Kirkland/LIFE Magazine

If you’ve been delinquent in correcting your posture or movement lately, I say, “Hurray!”

Firstly, trying to fix ourselves in this way is highly ineffective. Plus, artificially putting yourself into the position you think you should be in often creates more problems and pain. And, as with this 1950s chiropractic beauty contest, what’s considered right today may be wrong—or just plain silly—tomorrow.

Of course, if you find that sitting a particular way or doing certain movements are helpful, by all means do them. But if you do them because it’s what you’ve been told to or read that it’s supposed to be good for you, consider asking yourself a few questions. For example, “Do I feel a positive difference when I do it?” or “What is it that I want or am trying to accomplish by doing this? Is this the best way for me to get that?”

Woman giving thumbs up
Experiment to find what works for YOU

It’s Only Right When It’s Right for You

If you aren’t experiencing benefits (or what you’re doing is causing pain), it may be time to reconsider what you’re doing. I encourage you to question—or throw out—any ideas you have about what’s right and wrong. Instead, be open to a variety of possibilities and experiment to find what is best for and moves you in the direction you want to go.