Sunday, February 21, 2010

Posture - more from Kathleen Porter

I think I have mentioned her book before.


Jim Hansen said...

Intersting- the pictures help tell the story!

Hans Hageman said...

This post had me sitting up straighter! There is a definite correlation between these posture issues and dysfunctional breathing patterns. Another good book is Esther Gokhale's "8 Steps To A Pain-Free Back."

Brad Reid said...

Excellent and informing.

A personal anecdote. My father had us learn handstands when we were children, then handstand push-ups. He explained to us that a handstand had little to do with strength, everything to do with lining up the body so that it was supported by a "column of bones." So, that was exactly how it worked out, that once the column position was mastered, standing on one's hands required little more effort than standing on one's feet.


Calvin said...

Hey Chris, thanks for all your efforts on your blog--always a reliable source for interesting reading.

In todays post, Kathleen does a nice job showing what good postural alignment looks like; although, not much on how to achieve it (I recommend her book for more info). There are many reasons for poor posture and sore backs; that said, I'll wager improper sitting contributes a large part in our modern world. Just imagine how many hours a day/week/year/lifetime most people spend seated, and I'll add seated poorly! Starting around the 3:15 portion of the video, notice the all-too-common tucked pelvis position--which is almost impossible to avoid in most office type chairs--at least comfortably for any length of time. The solution for healthy seated posture is multifactorial--I'll just mention what I consider the most important here: first, seating needs have the ability to be variable, in other words: dynamic (and I don't mean recline). Next, it must allow the femur angle to open up (knee lower than hip) for preventing the psoas from becoming too tight--remember: tight psoas = curved spine. And lastly, good posture and alignment can only be accomplished sitting with your weight anterior of the ischial tuberosites (sit bones)--just like Kathleen's video--imagine a straight line.

How to find a chair that not only allows these posture benefits, but encourages them as well? My solution is an original Balans Variable chair--this design is the absolute best for extended seated posture health. Actually, it's almost impossible to sit with poor posture while using this chair. Here's a link showing these features: I purchased mine (an original) on eBay--money spent that I consider a damn good long-term investment, and for about the price of a pair of disposable outdoor footwear.

As a second-best option, sitting on a exercise ball is still better than any office chair, b/c like the Balans you have many dynamic options, versus static with most chairs---just be sure that you use a large enough (tall enough) ball to allow the femur angle to open up thereby promoting psoas health, thereby a straighter spine. Also, with an EB, you can you it to do lots of other exercises/stretches during sit breaks.


Chris said...

@ Hans - I have Esther's book. It is superb

Chris said...

@Brad - that is interesting.

Chris said...

Calvin - thanks. I have Ageless Spine and it is a good book. Similar to Esther Gokhale's but subtly different.

Al said...


I own both books as well. I like them both and both have their strong and weak points.

Ageless Spine seems a much more relaxed approach concentrated on alignment rather than muscular force, but lacks the polished appearance and instruction of Esther's book. I know jean Couch has a DVD and I'm interested to see how that is.

The one quip I have with Esther's book is her emphasis on thoracic breathing over diaphragmatic breathing. I just don't get that. It is well known and documented that deep diaphragmatic breathing encourages better resting respiration rates and reduced SNS activity.

Which book did you like better.

I also find it curious that both Esther and Jean Couch are in Palo Alto. Competition?


Chris said...

I think I preferred Esther's book to be honest. Both are good and similar but I think Esther has a bit more depth.

I think someone told me that they both studied under Couch

Perez is another name that comes up. Check this:

Anyway, someone commented on a previous post I had about posture that these writers are doing for posture what Weston Price did for diet. Interesting thought

Maya said...

Perez, a French woman, was one of the pioneers in anthropologically-based postural re-education.

Esther Gokhale studied with Perez for 5 years. Couch actually studied under Esther for a year (you've got it backwards Chris), about 12 years ago, and with Perez for a very short time.

Chris said...

Thanks Maya

willismorse said...

FM Alexander ("The Alexander Method") came to very similar conclusions, apparently operating in anthropological vacuum. The Alexander Method also brings to the table a very well thought out system of neurological retraining, so that good posture like this becomes automatic.

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