I like this illustration for The New Rules of Posture so much that I’ve begun using it as a logo for my work in general. It depicts one of the characters in my book as she cleans a chandelier. Here’s the story with its “posture moral” at the end. What I’ve called “posture zones” are muscular and connective tissue structures that lie roughly perpendicular to the body’s vertical mid-line. When we’re under stress—even a pleasant stress like Alison’s excitement at discovering an Art Deco treasure in her new apartment—one or more of the posture zones tightens in order to keep the body stable. The posture zones are like valves whose closing deforms the body’s mid-line and in so doing distorts posture.
In the drawing, Alison works with her arms raised while balancing on a wobbling stool. To feel stable she tightens her buttocks muscles, closing her pelvic floor posture zone. When her back starts to ache, she tries exchanging tension in her buttocks for healthier tension in her deep abdominal muscles. That feels better, but she wants to get the chandelier polished before her partner comes home. She’s working with a toothbrush, scrubbing the grimy patina from the fixture, staring hard at intricate crevices of dirt. Her arms and neck are aching and her calves burn. Every time the stool tilts she clutches it with her feet.
In a book about posture (!!), Alison has read something about using the feet like ears, to listen to the ground. When she tries that, softening her ankles, the wobbling stops bothering her. Grounded now, she takes a breath and realizes that in her urgency she’d stopped breathing. Relaxing for a moment, she un-furrows her brow and takes a look around. She’d lost sight of the rest of the room, not to mention the rest of her life.
The chandelier isn’t going anywhere. There’ll be plenty of time to finish the job. Finding healthy use of each posture zone helps Alison re-orient her body for a freer expression of her midline. Finding comfort in her body helped her see her task in perspective. Ease in her body matters more to her than a room full of chandeliers.
Browse throughThe New Rules of Posture again. People tell me they get more out of it every time, and I'd love to know what you think--you can comment below.