Have you ever noticed the way a person carries them self and had a “sense” for the way they feel? You may be right or wrong, but we know the way a person’s posture is held is molded by their activity or lack thereof. In addition, the position of their skeleton is developed by habitual posture. In the psychotherapeutic realm this has been related to self-proclaimed emotional states and research has supported that a more upright posture actually shifts hormone levels for the better.
So what governs this positional manifestation of movement and emotion? Our connective tissue and the nervous systems orchestration of how it forms. There are likely more factors involved which we have yet to discover, but we do know that the collagen in our fascia (connective tissue) lays down along lines of tension as fascia develops and regenerates. This decreases pliability of fascia the farther we are off alignment in our skeleton. So if we form a body position to match the way we feel, we truly develop a body that speaks our emotions through form.
In private practice with clients, I often hear them mention an increase in tightness/discomfort in their bodies and can correlate this with a period of emotional stress. Life’s demands have sidelined their opportunity to engage in self-care practices so the negative patterns underlying their stress response affects everything from their pain levels to digestive health and beyond. The result is a change in tension in places that compensate for true alignment and it causes pain. These pain signals then confirm with the nervous system that we need to be in state of constant readiness which keeps the old patterned responses in play.
The good news is that we can unravel these postural patterns. With a combination of releasing the mis-aligned posture, strengthening in the new and being aware of our positional tendencies, we can feel our way into the posture that supports the emotional states that are more functional for us. One big caveat is that we never disregard the tough emotions that arise as we unravel our other ways of being. It’s truly about being present to each experience to transform the way we show up in our body and our emotions.
One possible way to begin is by practicing rhythmic breathing. (read Power in the Rhythmic Breath). To continue on the path to transforming our emotions and our body, find a practitioner to help you discover your healthy alignment by touching in and out of the old patterns. At times this can be where our body presents pain and at other times, this can be a quiet area of the body that holds the key to unraveling poor function. Many yoga teachers, personal trainers and pilates instructors are trained to understand alignment, strength and somatics which encompasses the health of the whole form. Give your body and emotions that opportunity to heal and feel more comfortable in your own skin.