Guiding Our Children by Empowering Them
Almost every parent has experienced the frustration of telling their child to “sit up straight,” only to see them sink back into the same familiar collapsed heap within minutes, if not moments. This is because the way we’ve all been taught to “correct” our slouching posture—lifting the chest up and pulling the shoulders back—requires a lot of muscle tension to maintain. In no time at all, we, too, like our children, are struggling against collapse.
What if there were an easier, more natural way of sitting “up straight,” that was truly more comfortable and required no effort? It turns out, there is such a way, and it is discovered by all well-developing babies when first becoming upright. This same upright posture that babies discover is also the secret to those legendary women in the world who carry enormously heavy loads on their heads without strain. Moving with ease and gracefulness, these women carry water jugs, rocks, bricks and wet laundry as if it were a pile of feathers on top of their head. Just like very young children, these women have a
pelvis that is “parked” at just the right position to support a fully lengthened and aligned spine. The spine, in turn, carries the head, a heavy bowling ball-like structure that balances on top of it. And should one be carrying a heavy load on one’s head, then the the bones below—the feet, the legs, the pelvis, spine and skull—aligned in relationship to each other along the vertical axis of gravity, all work to carry the load, tethered into place by a strong core.
Tucking the tailbone under, even a little bit, “unparks” the pelvis and changes the dynamic support of the entire structure. The head, no longer carried from below, now bears down on the spine, compressing it and triggering a whole chain of gravity-fighting events.
Learn more about parking your (and your child’s) pelvis in my soon-to-be-published book, Healthy Posture Babies and Children. Read more about natural skeletal alignment and why it matters so much here.
Kathleen Porter is a posture and movement coach. She is the author of Natural Posture for Pain-Free Living: The Practice of Mindful Alignment (Inner Traditions, 2006 & 2013) and Healthy Posture for Babies and Children (July 2017). She has traveled the world researching and observing populations who live in naturally aligned bodies and who move, work and age with ease. She is the creator of UpRightNOW, an online program she is developing for adults and children alike, and her company Natural Posture Solutions manufactures several small posture aids.
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