The word deportment sounds like it hails from another era, one where ‘naice’ young ladies were taught what to do when they meet the Queen! But would you believe me if I were to tell you that good deportment is the most effective beauty treatment you’ll ever come across, that it could knock years off your age and it can have a profoundly positive effect on the physical, mental and emotional aspects of your life?
In today’s world of convenience, our computers, smart phones and sedentary desk jobs conspire to keep us slouching throughout the day so that the muscles that hold our shoulders back and our spine in an anatomically correct position become weak. The result? Headaches, back pain, shoulder/neck pain – all caused by bad posture. Constantly stressing the spine and the soft tissues that support the spine, causes permanent structural changes, a compromised ribcage and damaged joints, leaving us prone to injury and long-term problems like arthritis.
Have you noticed that people with good deportment/posture project elegance, grace, poise and confidence. It also helps them to look youthful and vibrant too! The right posture is a delicate balance of a straight back, properly aligned with the head, with the chin neither too low or high. The feet are somewhat apart (the weight of the body should be evenly distributed across the balls of the feet), the stomach in and held, shoulders back and down, arms to the side. When you are in the right posture, it should feel almost effortless to maintain the position. This ‘perfect posture’ is formed by training, exercise and maintained by habit.
The good news is it’s easy to correct your posture; there are a growing number of deportment classes available, including on line versions, alternatively there are plenty of techniques and exercise classes that will help bring your body back into alignment, flattening your tummy and adding inches in the process. The Alexander Technique teaches you to improve poor posture and move more efficiently whilst Pilates exercises focus on strengthening the core-stability muscles that support the lumbar spine. Yoga is excellent for posture; regular practice increases your body awareness whilst strengthening your core and developing your balance at the same time.
We can also be more mindful of our posture in everyday situations. If you’re not actually paying attention to sitting straight or walking tall and making a habit of it – it’s easy to let yourself slump down. If you’re at work, make sure you’re sitting comfortably in a chair that supports your back and that your screen is at the right height. Carrying a heavy bag on one shoulder (or a baby on one hip) can force your body to move unnaturally which in turn, leads to pain in the knees or hips. Try to spread weight evenly so your core takes the full weight and not just one side.