As you may recall, there were some major complications with my birth. I was born with a crooked spine (congenital scoliosis), I was bow-legged (still kind of am) and my feet pointed inwards when I walked (couldn’t even do it now if I tried).
My parents weren’t having any of it.
My early childhood consisted of going to physical therapy, which I was convinced was gymnastics class, so you can imagine my disappointment when I found out that I wasn’t competing to be on the Soviet Olympic team. I remember being taken to saunas where people put hot jars on my back. I was also constantly being reminded to point my feet out when I walked.
But what really stuck out to me in my childhood was walking around with books on my head, which I whole-heartedly believe is the sole reason for why my posture is almost impeccable. Like seriously, if having great posture was a competition, I would so win it.
If carrying books on top of your head was a competition, I would win it--and I’d win it in six-inch stilettos.
Although I was too young to understand why I was forced to do all of these things as a child and viewed carrying books on my head as more of a game than posture therapy, I’m now really grateful that my parents took the time and effort to help me straighten my spine as much as possible so I could avoid future back problems. Some of the people I've known with chronic back pain are absolutely miserable to be around, so I’m thankful that I don't have that to frown about--too much frowning can lead to premature wrinkles.
My spine is actually the most flexible part of my body now, and although it's still noticeably crooked, I’ve haven’t had any back problems since, well... since I was born, I guess. I can fold myself like a book and can reach far beyond my feet.
Standing and sitting up straight isn't just for my posture's sake. It's actually really uncomfortable for me to slouch. My back starts to hurt, and sitting up super-straight is the only position I'm comfortable in.
One of the my favorite benefits of usually being in an upright position is that apparently I appear to be taller than I actually am. I'm only 5'5" but get constantly told that I seem much taller. Those same people usually say it's because I'm intimidating. I think it's because I stand up straight.
To keep my back flexible and in an effort to maintain great posture, I practice a lot of yoga. I also stretch my back often by bending down to touch the ground, old-school gym class style, as well as regularly move through upward and downward dog.
Look, I hate to sound like your mom, but sitting and standing up straight can save you a lot of future back problems, you’ll look more confident, and people will think you’re taller. They may even find you a little bit intimidating even, but I think people only find me intimidating because I also suffer from chronic “bitch face” (another article for another time.).
So, do you have scoliosis? Posture tips and tricks? Other back problems? Marci was just telling me how her doctor says her posture has been all but ruined by her boobs. (A blessing and a curse!)