A regular school day in BSGE includes around 285 minutes of sitting, not including a gym or yoga class. Within that time, how we sit in our navy blue with a slight tint of green chairs is a topic that is very much overlooked. So, just what does a “good posture” look like, and why is it so important?
According to the American Chiropractic Association, posture is defined as “the position in which we hold our bodies while standing, sitting, or lying down.” Good posture, also called “neutral spine,” is when the back has three natural curves. The neck and lower back should curve slightly inwards, while the upper back should turn outwards. When your back curves properly, your muscles are more efficient and less likely to be strained, your bones and joints maintain their proper alignment, and your ligaments become less stressed and less prone to damage. However, when these curves are too slight, too exaggerated, or in the wrong direction entirely, your posture is poor and can have negative consequences on your health, causing back injuries and pain.
Good posture looks slightly different depending on if you are sitting, standing, or lying down. Sitting, it involves uncrossed legs, flat feet, knees below hips, a straight back, and forearms parallel to the ground. Good posture when standing is knees slightly bent, legs shoulder-width apart, arms hanging naturally, shoulders pulled backwards, and a straight neck. If you are lying down, the way to keep good posture is to be on your side or back, rather than on your stomach.
Members of the BSGE family have mixed views on the importance of good posture. Ms. Jackson, as can be expected from a yoga teacher, emphasizes it greatly. In her classes, she constantly sees students slumping when they sit, with exaggerated rounding of the back and shoulders. It hurts them in her class, because deep back bends are much more difficult when your back usually bends forwards.
In addition, outside of her class it harms breathing, digestion, and a person’s mood. Ms. Jackson said that bad posture “can change your self-esteem…It doesn’t show to someone else that you have confidence.” Yasmine Lalkaka ’17, who pays close attention to her posture, echoed this sentiment, explaining that good posture helps you “project an air of confidence and determination.”
However, some people place nowhere near as much value on having a good posture. A student who wishes to remain anonymous explained that he isn’t concerned. It’s more comfortable to slouch a lot of the time, and few activities require a straight back. Common ones like playing video games don’t. Even so, keeping a good posture will help you later in life. As for how to do that, Ms. Jackson said it best: “It’s really just about keeping mindfulness of the upper body.”