Become a More Confident, Graceful, and Powerful Person by Improving Your Posture Through Dance
For a lot of us, our modern lifestyles have made it easy to sit and slouch. Sitting hunched over prevents us from having strong posture–or the posture that uses the least amount of energy to align our bones and muscles and hold us upright.How does bad posture affect our lives and how do we fix it?
Symptoms of bad Posture
Bone spurs, back and neck pain, a potbelly, headaches, and reduced lung capacity are all symptoms of bad posture. But the less obvious consequences of slouching include changes in mood, confidence, motivation, and stress levels.
Pretty bleak. The good news? There are ways to develop better posture at any age in any condition.
Dance: Posture Therapy
Dancers are notorious for having good posture, but you don’t have to be a ballerina to look graceful and confident. Many forms of dance give you the tools to improve posture and balance. More importantly, learning to dance is just plain fun. Dance is social, a mood booster, and low impact. Ballroom dancers in particular know that posture is key to have a good connection with a partner.
Dance Exercises for Good Posture
Dance helps strengthen muscles and increase flexibility that help prevent poor posture. Don’t consider yourself a dancer? You don’t have to be. Many people learn social dancing just for fun and develop good posture along the way. Here are some exercises that dancers use to develop a better posture:
- Spine extensions. Imagine there’s a string running from the top of your head down to your toes and somebody is pulling on that string. Body awareness is the first step to helping improve your stance and helps in any dance.
- Arm ups. Starting with arms at your sides, lift up as high and as far back as you can. Make sure shoulders are as far away from your ears as possible. This helps stretch and open the rib cage and bring shoulders into the proper position in your dance frame.
- Chin tuck and Jut. While keeping your head level, jut your chin out then tuck it back as far you can. This strengthens the cervical retraction muscles and keeps your head and neck in the right place when in dance position.
- Shoulder circles. Roll your shoulders forward then backward. This “resets” your spine and shoulders throughout the day and improves flexibility for arm styling.
- Shoulder blade squeezes. Squeeze your shoulder blades together then put them in your back pockets. This engages your latissimus muscles and helps you feel your partner’s lead or follow.
Why You Should Work On Your Posture
Posture is not only important for physical health and grace, research shows that improving posture through dance may improve your mood and outlook on life too.
Posture Affects Mood
The way we carry ourselves has a huge impact on how others perceive us and how we perceive ourselves–on or off the dancefloor. Not only does it look “bad” or “weak” to slouch, posture affects how we feel about ourselves.
A series of experiments published in Health Psychology found that sitting in a slouched, defensive position makes it easier for negative thoughts and memories to appear while sitting in an upright position makes us more resilient to stress and promotes more positive thoughts. Your posture tells your brain that you’re confident, and that will affect your attitude when walking into a meeting or asking somebody to dance.
What Good Posture Can Do For Mental Health
50% of communication is nonverbal, which means the defensive posture many of us have adopted has closed us off to new experiences, ideas, or relationships. If we take the time to stand up straight we can feel more alert, happier, and less anxious about any social situation we find ourselves in.
Dance give us an avenue to explore movement and body awareness while also giving us the tools to feel confident, powerful, healthy, and happy though good posture!