“What Is Good Posture?”
This question is Moshe Feldenkrais’s title for lesson #1 in his book Awareness Through Movement, which he wrote to introduce his method to the masses. (Here’s our collection of recordings of these foundational lessons.)
His answer from the lesson introduction is simple, precise, and probably not what you’d guess:
Good upright posture is that from which a minimum muscular effort will move the body with equal ease in any desired direction.
Notice that Moshe’s definition isn’t a description of a position. Instead it focuses on efficiency and potential for movement.
This points powerfully at the purpose of The Feldenkrais Method: to learn to act and respond in the world with freedom, confidence, and ease, instead of compulsion, struggle, and suffering.
Moshe also tells us what the alternative to good posture is: most people habitually and unknowingly counteract gravity with voluntary muscles, instead of organizing their bones for the anti-gravity task. This ties up major portions of our musculature, so all our movements become pointlessly limited.
He ends his lesson introduction on a powerful, compassionate note:
[Physical or emotional] Pain that undermines confidence in the body and self is the main cause of deviations from the ideal posture. Pain of this kind reduces the individual’s value in his own eyes.
Check out “What Is Good Posture” below to explore how learning more sensitive, efficient movement in gravity naturally leads to less pain, more confidence, and better posture!
Everyone can review many more of Moshe’s principles of posture in the free lesson notes tabs of “What Is Good Posture.” Patron-level donors can study my audio rendition of this important lesson.
If you’re not a Patron, or you wish to prepare for this challenging lesson, we’ve included five free lessons for better posture below. It’s an unordered list, so follow your curiosity and try one, or try them all!
This post first appeared as a monthly featured free lessons newsletter. You can join our mailing list here.
Lessons for Better Posture
Enjoy the link between better breathing and better posture, as the floor you lie on becomes a metaphor for gravitational plumb
Free your hips, get to know your sitbones, and discover more upright mobility in chair-seated
Learn to better sense and regulate your whole axis – head spine, and pelvis – as you move
Practice the deep hip folding used in the “What Is Good Posture” lesson
Feel Moshe’s answer for yourself!
Everyone can study Feldenkrais posture principles in the free Clarifications and Curiosities lesson notes tabs of “What Is Good Posture.”