Have you heard claims that good posture is important for staying pain-free?
Or that good posture is important for health?
Believe it or not, research doesn’t actually support these widespread claims. As it turns out, posture is overrated!
We discuss the connection between posture, pain, and function with our special guest, the amaaazing Todd Hargrove(!!) in episode 25 of the Yoga Meets Movement Science podcast.
For now, here’s a quick look at Todd’s statement that “posture is overrated”.
In the yoga, fitness, and therapeutic worlds, it’s commonly taught that it’s important to stand and sit with a tall, stacked spine.
This alignment is believed to be optimal because it’s supposed to minimize stress on our tissues.
In addition to “good posture” in static positions, we also often learn that there’s one optimal way to align ourselves in our movements.
one right way to squat
one right way to bend over to pick things up
one right way to flow through a vinyasa
As we mentioned, these ideas about good posture/optimal alignment are generally based on the belief that they minimize stress on our tissues, which will keep us pain-free and healthy.
Now, this type of reasoning would make sense if our human bodies were like machines.
A well-functioning machine needs to shut down all possible variability so that it’s always moving in the exact same pathway every time.
If a machine’s movement is at all variable, that’s a sign of dysfunction in the machine.
If there’s any play in a joint, for example, it must be tightened down or that joint will wear down.
But the human body is NOT a machine! The human body is a living, biological organism.
And organisms and machines respond differently to movement and stress!
In a living organism, movement is supposed to be variable.
Every step we take is carried out in a slightly different way. Every heartbeat occurs at a slightly different timing than the one before.
And so on!
Not only that, but while machines wear down when stresses are applied, living organisms adapt and grow stronger in response to stresses!
When we narrow our movement possibilities with rules about “the one right way” to stand, sit, squat, etc., we effectively put ourselves in “movement jail”.
In contrast, when we increase our movement options – and allow for many possibilities in our posture and our movements – we thrive!
There’s SO much more to say about this rich and nuanced topic, and our hugely knowledgeable guest Todd Hargrove says it all in episode 25 of the Yoga Meets Movement Science podcast!
Tune in and listen today. We hope you enjoy this engaging and important discussion for the yoga community!