Posture Principles – Posture is How You Balance Your Body
Balance – The 2nd Posture Principle
(2nd of 5 Posture Principles by Dr. Steven Weiniger)
Q: Which Of These Postures Is Balanced?
A: All of them. If you’re posture isn’t balanced you’d fall down!
HOWEVER, how well you’re balanced is a different question. Posture is quite literally how you balance. There are inﬁnite combinations of possible alignments of the joints a body can use to balance. However, there are far more combinations that result in a body falling down.
Your posture and your body motion are not symmetrical, but as long as you are not falling down, your body is balanced. If you are standing, your posture may be distorted, and your muscles may be working harder than they should be to hold you, but you are mechanically balanced. Our bodies would fall forward without muscles pulling us back.
Keeping your balance is unconscious most of the time, but constantly staying upright has very real effects on the Contracting, Connecting and Control motion systems.
The Contracting System: Standing and Shifting muscles work together and in a miracle of coordination choreograph together to balance the body for smooth motion. Weak posture commonly begins with the combination of tight and short standing muscles coupled with weak, overstretched shifting muscles.
The Connecting System: The bones of the Connecting system form our framework, and are held together at joints by ligaments. Joints are ﬂoppy by themselves, so we contract our muscles to stabilize them as we move each joint through its normal range of motion.
The Control System: The entire Control system—the brain, spinal cord and the nerves—are constantly working to keep us upright. In order to balance, our brain integrates information from three major sources to know where our body is in space, and to control it moment by moment as the center of balance shifts with motion:
1. The eyes (visual sense)
2. The ears (vestibular sense)
3. Muscle and joint position sensors (kinesthetic sense)
If the input information from the three sources doesn’t agree, our balance suffers as the brain tries to find what is level.
The brain assumes we are balanced when we sense equal stress on both sides of the body. When there is an injury, the body will compensate and move differently to avoid pain. Over time, the body will adapt. Even if there is no continued pain, unbalanced patterns of motion persist. The human body still MUST balance to stand. So, the brain adapts and adopts new muscle and joint positions. We believe we are standing straight because our brain is being told by our senses that we are balanced, even though the mirror shows we are not.