Clouds In The Head

Project 1 my posture
26 January, 2013, 6:27 pm
Filed under: Daily maily
Project begins: The "before" picture. Please don't kick sand in my face.

Project begins: the “before” picture. Please don’t kick sand in my face.

This year I have a bunch of projects I want to achieve. Some of them are simply to do with our home – eg we have to re-fence the house paddock before we let the neighbour re-agist cattle in June. Some are to do with writing and filmmaking – eg working with Scott Patterson on a couple of features, editing Russell Workman’s book. Some to do with my loved ones – I’m in a band for some reason, possibly, maybe. And some with me personally – starting with improving my posture.

And I’m doing them all yogically! (Which the word-completer thing changed to logically.) About which more soon.

Project 1 is my posture. Since my teens I’ve had a slouch, a hump, a Quasimodo-like Igoresque creature on my back. My neck protrudes forward, my adam’s apple is like a rock in my throat. My lower back over-sways, my C7 thrusts backwards. My shoulders are rounded, my chest a little sunken, my arms start from sockets that are further forward than they ought to be. It’s a wonder I’ve ever managed to get so many chicks.

I’ve worked on it sporadically for years. From Colin at the Powerhouse telling me to tighten up my buttocks, to others (possibly mothers) telling me to push my chest out. My yoga teacher wife has tried various fixes too. Sacrum back, drop your shoulderblades, lower ribs back, lift your chest.

I haven’t been religious about it though and a few days ago I discovered why. My Love has often suggested practising Tadasana (the mountain pose – feet together, stand straight, that’s more or less it (!) for this core yoga pose) against a wall. I’ve tried it, tried taking what I learn from it into my yoga and into my day. But it’s never felt “right”. Never made me say “ah”. Until last week, when a simple movement of the pelvis/hip girdle made me say “ah”.

I tilted my front pelvis down, without lifting my sacrum or back pelvis, without thrusting my cock forward, and then lifted my torso out of that place. My front body and sides I lifted from the front pelvis. My back body I lifted from my  back pelvis. My whole body changed perceptibly according to My Love.

I’ve been doing it ever since. Not all the time. You don’t change the rotten habits of a lifetime overnight. (The dream cure would have been a simple adjustment and then my whole spine going click click click into a brand new macho alignment that can’t revert to its old horror-movie shape.) But when I remember, and make the adjustment, stretching my sides up, I find myself taking a breath that is shorter and more constricted, and then another breath that is full and fantastic and seems to reach sections of my lungs that had been boarded up for years. Or something. Finding words for this new sensation is not easy.

And I walk different. More of a swagger, with a bit of a clomp. More male. Bit like Jackie Chan. Slower. And my arms are different. They hang from the sockets in the middle of my body (side elevation) rather than forward and always gripped. They’re just there. And my head sits differently.

But it’s early days. Sometimes I think I’m doing it and My Love says “Posture!” and I have to make the adjustment again and find it again. I’m not quite sure what to do when I’m seated, especially on a sofa. Running is different. Breathing differently is confronting. Looking down at a kitchen bench while standing is a brand-new activity – how do people do it, what’s the mechanism, do I tilt from my jaw hinge or push out my neck?

But I feel like a breakthrough has been made, which is why it’s Project 1. I’ll keep the planet (I think there’s about 4 of you) informed here about progress.

References: Georges Perec, Species Of Spaces. Donna Farhi, Bringing Yoga To Life. 


2 Comments so far
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Thanks, John. I will watch your progress with interest. I did warn Donna about people like you, but she never listened to me. I hope you are all well. Now take a deep breath .


Comment by David Simpson

Actually Donna’s annoyed that the article implies that she was giving dreadful advice for years, when in fact she reckons I wasn’t following her advice. So it goes around. She won’t listen to you. I won’t listen to her. You won’t listen to me.


Comment by John O'Brien

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