By Courtney Balestier, Allure
Are you standing or sitting up straight right now? You should strive to be, since having good posture is an indication of how healthy you are mentally and physically. I asked Lindsay Newitter, who teaches the Alexander Technique, a method of holding and moving the body without tension, to give us some advice on how to achieve better posture.
"Posture has physical, mental, and emotional components, and poor posture is a reflection of how we respond to the world around us," says Newitter. Here are four tips from her to get you upright:
1. Start at the top. Tense neck muscles pull the weight of the head down through the body, but if your head is aligned over your spine, that releases pressure. Tap the top of your skull and imagine that spot aiming up toward the ceiling. To avoid "text neck," don't drop your head to your phone. Move the phone up to your face without lifting your shoulders.
2. Don't go too far. People have heard the tip about tucking your shoulders into your back pockets, but that's an exaggerated movement. Open the chest, but don't lean back or strain to pull your shoulder blades together.
3. Sit smarter. At your desk, use a flat chair with a straight back, and sit so that most of your back is in contact with the chair. Your feet should be on the ground (or a footrest) and your thighs parallel to the floor or angled slightly down. Be aware of the ground beneath your feet, the chair against your back, and any environmental noise. This will keep you from straining forward, which makes your chin jut out.
4. Watch yourself. Periodically, stand in front of a mirror: If it seems as if your body is compressing down and in, try to make small adjustments so it feels as if you're releasing up and out.
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