Our emotional muscles
The human stance is very efficient amidst the animal kingdom. Our postural muscles work together effortlessly to support our spine and keep our body upright.
THE DRAWBACK OF THIS INCREDIBLE EFFICIENCY IS THAT IF ANY ONE MUSCLE ALONG THE CHAIN OF SUPPORT FAILS TO FUNCTION, THE WHOLE SYSTEM DECLINES.
Let it be that way long enough and it will have a devastating effect. Postural misalignment lock muscles into chronic tension and weakness, restricting our movement and stressing the joints, often creating inflammation, wear and tear and causing pain: arthritis, bulging discs, frozen shoulders, and hip and knee pain are some examples of postural misalignment. It can result from unresolved injuries but also from long-standing emotional stress and trauma.
Our postural muscles work differently from the global muscles (i.e. your thighs or your biceps or your superficial abdominal muscles – your six-packs). Our Postural muscles sit deep in the body and are the stabilisers of our joints and spine. These muscles are trained unconsciously during infancy. When you see a child progressively train their postural muscles to stand upright within their first year or so, you can see how effortless it is, they breathe happily, and there is no need for mum to train their muscles with weight lifts or complicated exercise regimes. In fact, our postural muscles are trained through intention!
Courtesy of our human fundamental emotions Desire and Fear. This innate programming is what makes us move towards what we want and move away from what we fear. A child looks at her mother’s smile and starts moving towards her, maybe with a hand, an arm, a foot, or a leg. He hears pleasant noises and it is a movement towards, an extension, a twist, an attempt to roll over… They are very “psychological” muscles in a way! I call them our emotional muscles In fact researchers in the science of “embodied cognition” have proven that “’to see and decide is, in effect, to plan a motor response,’ “(scientific America By Samuel McNerney on November 4, 2011)
A bit later in life, it is easy to discern people’s moods by simply looking at their posture! For instance, someone feeling depressed won’t stand tall and strong, and it’s hard to feel down when you’re standing tall.
Most of us have an idea of what “good” strong posture is, but how to achieve it is the issue. Straightening your spine and trying and hold it there always proves impossible! we get tired and without even realising it we go back to slumping.
The Novato Institute for somatic research and training says: “On a mechanical level, posture is more than a position. It is the dynamic balancing act of a group of postural muscles working together to keep our body upright”
Our postural muscles don’t need much muscular effort to reconnect with those muscles is inner work, a work of awareness, listening, and feeling the muscles at work. They are 500 times more “intelligent” than our global muscles in that they respond to our intentions! They are also very enduring. The only effort required in retraining them is our willingness to listen and reconnect.
Your psychological mindset is crucial in this inner work… We are embodying our psychological landscape.
Posture is the embodiment of our unconscious, no more, no less. Postural or post-injury pain becomes “chronic” when our healthcare providers do not recognise the intricacy of this complex issue and use the knowledge that is in accordance with obsolete and tired principles.
In the end, you and only you can control your muscle patterns and change your mindset. You simply need guidance and be carefully trained on how to do it. It is a journey of transformation that will change your life, not just your bad back or your bad knee.