And while you probably don’t give your posture too much thought, how you carry yourself can affect so many things, including the impression you make. “Knowing how to stand with your spine tall and your shoulders open gives you a greater sense of confidence,” says Eden Hinton, director of Eden Pilates in Toronto. Plus, think about your wardrobe. “Fashion and great style isn’t just about the right choice of clothing, it is also about how something works on your body, and how you feel in it. Great posture is integral here. When you stand with good alignment clothing looks better on your body,” she says.
So how does your posture measure up? Hinton shares how to learn more about your alignment:
1) Start by rocking back and forth, from the balls of your feet to your heels, and then from side to side to get a sense of what it feels like to have the weight evenly placed through both feet: ball of the foot and heel and from right to left foot.
2) Now with your weight evenly distributed between right and left foot, take a look at yourself facing a mirror. “If I were to draw a vertical line through your reflection (we call this the “plum line”), the line should run from the centre of your forehead, through the centre of your nose, right down the center of your chest and belly button and land right between your two feet,” says Hinton, adding that the shoulders and hips should be in line with each other.
3) Next, with your weight evenly placed between the balls of the feet and the heels, turn to the side to examine your profile in the same mirror. “The vertical “plum line” from the side should run through the ankle, up though the side of the knee, hip socket, corner of the shoulder and finally through the centre of the ear,” says Hinton.
Look at how your plum line measures up. You should think of the sections of your body as “building blocks” stacked one on top of the other over your feet, says Hinton, with knees centered over evenly weighted feet; hips over knees; ribs over hips; shoulders, neck and head over ribs. “Lift the crown of your head to the ceiling to energize the spine and let your shoulders relax open and down your back,” she says. Also, don’t think of good posture as having a straight back. “We want to see the natural curves of the spine; we don’t just want them exaggerated,” says Hinton.