By Edie, The Salsa FREAK!!
Nope. Cant do it. Not without surgery or a crow bar.
A lot of you are probably saying Yea, right Edie. Look at you. You had a good family gene pool.
Ha! Seriously folks, I NEVER used to have great posture. People that knew me when will attest to the fact that I used to be so bent over that it looked like I was born a natural hunch-back. In fact we have a full history of hunch backs in our family! I remember my grandmother with her cane, not being able to walk nor stand straight. She developed a huge hump on her back from over 60 years of slouching.
And then I saw myself. Working at a computer all day, hunching at my car, my desk, my paperwork, my garden, cooking, eating It was getting worse. I looked tired, worn out, and twenty years older than my actual age. Teenagers are starting to look this way as well. WHAT IS GOING ON??
This is NO JOKE. You HAVE to read this story
IT ALL CAME TOGETHER IN ONE DAY.
At the age of thirty, I started dancing Salsa and was having a ton of fun with it. Someone showed me a video of my dancing and I was MORTIFIED at how I looked. I ‘ know where to hide. My father saw it and the first thing out of his mouth was, You need to hold yourself straighter. I took another look, and he was right. I never realized how hunched over I looked compared to other dancers. I had no idea how bad my posture had become. You see? my dad continued, They look normal they have better posture than you. Your dancing looks ridiculous. You should do something else with your time. He never held back and always had a way with words.
A few days later, he bought me a Posture Brace. I guess he felt sorry for me. Try this. He said as he tossed it over to me. So I did. The next day, I put it on underneath my clothing and went to work. When I got there, you will not believe what happened. Virtually ALL of my colleagues started up with the following comments:
"Edie... uh... have you lost weight?"
"Nice hair! Did you color it?"
"You look great today! What did you do?"
"LLLLLLUUUUUVVVVV the new outfit girlfriend! DEFINITELY your color dear... " (she hadn't realized that I had worn that outfit countless times already in the past)
"Did you start working out?"
"Are you taking vitamins?"
The comments started pouring in. They were awesome and I was glowing. It seemed every time I wore that Posture Brace someone had something random to compliment about me. It was wonderfully odd. They had NO IDEA, that all I was doing was walking, standing, and sitting up straighter. My Posture Brace was constantly reminding me to hold myself straight - and it NEVER quit.
When I wore it my posture was endlessly, ceaselessly, and perpetually straight nonstop. What was unusual was that it didn’t hold me straight by pulling on my shoulders. In fact, I rarely felt it. It only REMINDED me so I had to work my back muscles super hard at staying straight FOR EVERY MINUTE OF THE DAY. THAT in itself was the only painful part about it. Keeping my back straight with my OWN MUSCLE STRENGTH for HOURS at a time was a BRAND NEW experience for me. No one had ever told nor taught me to do this with my own self - ever.
The first day I wore it, I was actually sore for a few days after. I hated it at first. I quit wearing it for a while, and noticed my posture reverting back to where it was before. So I tried it again. It was the ONLY thing that worked. What gave me incentive to finally get serious about wearing it for at least eight hours a day, were the compliments from colleagues at work, and my Salsa dancing. I started to skyrocket on that dance floor. My balance improved, my spins were shocking even me, I looked HOT, and life was good.
Your New Mom
I remember as a child being told and sometimes even POKED by my mom to stay straight, but it only lasted a minute or two until she wasn’t looking.
This Posture Brace is a CONSTANT reminder not just a nudge or poke.
CONSIDER THIS YOUR NEW CONSTANLY REMINDING MOTHER.
At first it was NOT comfortable AT ALL. After wearing that thing for 4-5 hours straight, I just wanted to RIP IT OFF!!! I had no idea how bad my posture had become. I was so badly dented, that I forced myself to wear it for several months as a reminder to hold myself straight CONSTANTLY- even while sitting down.
Having that thing on while working on my computer REALLY MADE ME AWARE of just HOW BADLY I needed it. After about a week, I noticed that I no longer had neck and upper back strain. I used to have a pain between my shoulder blades like you would not believe from my head hanging over my keyboard at the computer all day. A regularly-scheduled $60/hr massage is all that would help. When I started wearing my posture brace the pain completely DISAPPEARD. I had more energy because I realized my lungs were no longer squashed from hunching, and were filling up with more oxygen throughout the day. The compliments kept pouring in, and my self-esteem soared through the roof.
Self Esteem and Deep Psychological Insecurities
I’ve also discovered that Posture and Self-Esteem are directly correlated. I don’t know why, but for some reason my deep psychological insecurities when speaking to people would make me start slightly hunching over. When I was introduced to someone, I actually caught myself starting to curl my shoulders forward. I couldn’t believe it! Why am I doing this? I thought to myself. I had no idea. Why do we do the things we do? We don’t even realize it! Why am I this way? I didn’t realize this about my character until I started wearing my posture brace EVERY DAY. My Posture Brace was what finally made me AWARE of my true character and deep insecurities.
What you will learn about yourself.
Hunching over while being introduced or talking to people had become a horrible HABIT and I never realized it nor understood why I did it. Were my own insecurities destroying my back? Was it my low self-worth? If I stood up straight around others would they think I was stuck up or holier than thou...? How ridiculous is that? Where did that come from? Is this how I demonstrate humbleness? It took some pretty profound soul-searching to figure out why I created this unusual pattern of behavior. Believe it or not, my Posture Brace played a major role in exposing and freeing my deep insecurities (I will tell you what Ive learned about using something physically present in this physical world to release your spiritually caged inner child in a later article its life-changing).
Over time, wearing my posture brace improved my self-esteem one hundred fold. I was actually becoming more aware of how much more confident I was feeling over time. Today when I meet or talk to people, I don’t slouch. I feel as though they treat and talk to me with more respect now. Its the strangest thing.
For Women: Firmer Tighter Breasts
Some women believe that if they stand or sit up straight, their breasts will protrude too far out, making them feel awkward. Some heavier women I know are ashamed of how large their breasts are, so they purposely hunch over to inadvertently flatten/stretch their shirts to hide their breast size. They have unintentionally formed a bad habit of slouching because of their large breasts. Ladies, when you sit up straight, you allow more blood to flow and work the chest muscles to revive the natural stream of energy that maintains the firmness of your breasts. When you slouch and droop, SO DO YOUR BREASTS (and so does your life). They actually start stretching downward further being pulled by gravity. They become longer, droopier, and overall softer. I noticed this about myself. When I started wearing my posture brace, my breasts actually felt more healthy and FIRM over time. I could REALLY feel the change. It was awesome.
For Men: Confidence.
I'm here to tell you, nothing turns on a woman more than a guy with CONFIDENCE. When a man stands straight and tall, he commands an unspoken "Respect" that is only conveyed by the way he holds himself. His posture speaks VOLUMES of his character and inner strength. Women turn their heads to look when a confident man walks in the room. His great posture immediately grabs their attention and admiration.
Wear it at work.
The best is when I am on my computer. I’ve even changed the way I sit at the keyboard. My head is positioned over my shoulders not the keyboard. I no longer stretch my arms far away to get to the mouse (look at yourself right now). My back is straight up against the chair, my chair is pulled up under my keyboard, and my monitor is closer to my body. I have more energy throughout the day because my lungs are no longer crushed from slouching. I find it doesn't bother me anymore to stand and sit up straight. My back muscles have become stronger over time. I had no idea I was never working them to stay straight - ever. Now, when I see myself on film walking, standing, or dancing, I actually look normal. When I had poor posture, I looked frumpy, beat down, and insecure.
The compliments just keep coming
Just the other day I was waiting for my luggage at the airport and put my posture brace on after a long 12-hour flight (I use it now for energy it helps me breathe better). A woman came up to me and said, I can tell you’re a dancer. Its how you hold yourself. You look good. EVERY SINGLE TIME I wear that thing I get compliments. It absolutely blows my mind.
This Posture Brace is different than most
The posture brace I use and recommend is very light, small, and barely visible under clothing. It is less cumbersome and less complicated than other brands. Keep in mind that other brands will feel tight, hold you up, and do ALL THE WORK for you. You will think they are working, but THAT is the problem. THEY are working NOT YOU. It is YOU that needs to do the work to stay straight NOT THE BRACE. Other brands will cause your muscles to weaken (atrophy) over time. Our little posture brace forces YOU to do ALL the work at keeping straight.
How it works
It's the coolest thing. It fits underneath your clothing, and stretches across your back. It clasps at the back with a super strong Velcro for both of your arms. The straps loop around your shoulders and under your arm pits, forcing your shoulder blades to almost touch. If you hunch over, the straps will start keeping toward your neck. Your objective is to keep the straps at the edges of your shoulders. This makes you work your upper back and shoulder muscles every few minutes to keep the straps on the edges of your shoulders. The mere act of CONSTANTLY straightening your back and then every once in a while, re-adjusting the straps after you’ve slouched works your upper back and shoulder muscles like you would not believe.
Make sure you drape it over your office or work chair so you will be reminded to use it EVERY DAY. Wear it 8 hours a day for the next EIGHT MONTHS. You can wear it during dance practice and rehearsal too! However I never wore it at night dancing Salsa it really got in the way but I found myself having remarkably better posture at night because I was used to wearing it all DAY! This is the absolute BEST device that I know of, that forces YOU to do ALL THE WORK! This way, you are helping your SELF keep your own SELF straight.
All it does is "remind you" - it doesn't do the work for you. YOU must do all the work to keep straight. It is not very comfortable at first. The worse your posture is now, the more uncomfortable it will be to keep on correctly. But the discomfort will subside over time. It will get easier. Keep the straps at the EDGES of your shoulders, and do not let the straps creep towards your neck. You will find yourself adjusting it back to the edges of your shoulders many times throughout the day. THIS IS THE MAGIC of this device. You are CONSTANTLY moving it back to the edges of your shoulders, forcing yourself to work your back muscles over and over again all day long. Strengthening your back muscles in this way is the ONLY way YOU YOURSELF will get your posture back in line.
Refer to the online video-clip for instructions on how and when to wear it. Over time, it will get easier and easier to wear, and you won't need it anymore!
To this day, and as I am typing this, I still wear my posture brace ESPECIALLY when I will be long hours at my computer. The only difference between when I started and now, is that it is no longer painful to wear because my posture has markedly improved. I feel and look 100% better than when I started, and oh, by way Papa, I still dance Salsa and now don’t look half bad doing it!
Tell all your friends!!
Take care, and SIT UP STRAIGHT on that computer! Ha! Caught ya!
Posture Braces are available at http://www.dancefreak.com/posture-brace.php
See you in the Forums!
- Edie, The Salsa FREAK!!
Edie, The Salsa FREAK!! is one of the most recognized and respected Salsa Writers/Instructor/Performers in the world. In the past twenty years, she has traveled to 63 countries teaching the world to dance, and has been the first American to teach in 18 of those countries. She now lives in the high mountains of beautiful Colorado with her wonderful husband, Nick. You may contact her at www.SalsaFreak.com/contact