The New Rules of Posture: How to Sit, Stand, and Move in the Modern World

Overview

A manual for understanding the anatomical and emotional components of posture in order to heal chronic pain

• Contains self-help exercises and ergonomics information to help correct unhealthy movement patterns

• Teaches how to adopt suitable posture in the modern sedentary world

Many people cause their own back and body pain through their everyday bad postural and movement habits. Many sense that their poor posture is probably the root of the ...

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The New Rules of Posture: How to Sit, Stand, and Move in the Modern World

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Overview

A manual for understanding the anatomical and emotional components of posture in order to heal chronic pain

• Contains self-help exercises and ergonomics information to help correct unhealthy movement patterns

• Teaches how to adopt suitable posture in the modern sedentary world

Many people cause their own back and body pain through their everyday bad postural and movement habits. Many sense that their poor posture is probably the root of the problem, but they are unable to change long-standing habits.

In The New Rules of Posture, Mary Bond approaches postural changes from the inside out. She explains that healthy posture comes from a new sense we can learn to feel, not by training our muscles into an ideal shape. Drawing from 35 years of helping people improve their bodies, she shows how habitual movement patterns and emotional factors lead to unhealthy posture. She contends that posture is the physical action we take to orient ourselves in relation to situations, emotions, and people; in order to improve our posture, we need to examine both our physical postural traits and the self-expression that underlies the way we sit, stand, and move. The way we walk, she says, is our body’s signature.

Bond identifies the key anatomical features that impact alignment, particularly in light of our modern sedentary lives, and proposes six zones that help create postural changes: the pelvic floor, the breathing muscles, the abdomen, the hands, the feet, and the head. She offers self-help exercises that enable healthy function in each zone as well as information on basic ergonomics and case histories to inspire us to think about our own habitual movements. This book is a resource for Pilates, yoga, and dance instructors as well as healthcare professionals in educating people about postural self-care so they can relieve chronic pain and enjoy all life activities with greater ease.

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Editorial Reviews

Marie-Jose Blom-Lawrence
"I have long searched for a book that addresses the human body as a whole, and with clarity, guidance, and completeness. This book is a multi-faceted gem offering all of that and much more—I highly recommend it to teachers of movement and to anyone eager to learn how to become a better occupant of their body."
Judith Hanson Lasater
“Few things are as overlooked and yet absolutely critical to our health and well being as our posture. Mary Bond offers information, stories and tools for learning how to stand and move with ease and elegance.”
Hubert Godard
“At last, at any level of knowledge of the body and movement, everyone will have the joy of a discovery that can profoundly change our relationship to ourselves, to others and to the beauty of the world.”
From the Publisher
The New Rules of Posture is a good adjunct to bodywork of all kinds, from chiro­practic and osteopathy to Pilates and yoga. Read it thoroughly, let it soak into your experience—your body will thank you.”

“At last, at any level of knowledge of the body and movement, everyone will have the joy of a discovery that can profoundly change our relationship to ourselves, to others and to the beauty of the world.”

“Few things are as overlooked and yet absolutely critical to our health and well being as our posture. Mary Bond offers information, stories and tools for learning how to stand and move with ease and elegance.”

“I have long searched for a book that addresses the human body as a whole, and with clarity, guidance, and completeness. This book is a multi-faceted gem offering all of that and much more—I highly recommend it to teachers of movement and to anyone eager to learn how to become a better occupant of their body.”

“Mary Bond’s talent and expertise extended my professional dance career until age 52! Anyone who suffers from body dysfunction and pain must read her book. Actually, it should be mandatory reading for all institutions offering anatomy, kinesiology, and medical courses.”

"Recommended for anyone interested in the anatomical and emotional aspects of the movement of one’s body."

Marie-José Blom-Lawrence
“I have long searched for a book that addresses the human body as a whole, and with clarity, guidance, and completeness. This book is a multi-faceted gem offering all of that and much more—I highly recommend it to teachers of movement and to anyone eager to learn how to become a better occupant of their body.”
author of Anatomy Trains Thomas Myers
The New Rules of Posture is a good adjunct to bodywork of all kinds, from chiro­practic and osteopathy to Pilates and yoga. Read it thoroughly, let it soak into your experience—your body will thank you.”
Thomas Myers
The New Rules of Posture is a good adjunct to bodywork of all kinds, from chiro­practic and osteopathy to Pilates and yoga. Read it thoroughly, let it soak into your experience—your body will thank you.”
Bonnie Oda Homsey
“Mary Bond’s talent and expertise extended my professional dance career until age 52! Anyone who suffers from body dysfunction and pain must read her book. Actually, it should be mandatory reading for all institutions offering anatomy, kinesiology, and medical courses.”
Marie-José Blom-Lawrence
“I have long searched for a book that addresses the human body as a whole, and with clarity, guidance, and completeness. This book is a multi-faceted gem offering all of that and much more—I highly recommend it to teachers of movement and to anyone eager to learn how to become a better occupant of their body.”
Dede Archer
"Recommended for anyone interested in the anatomical and emotional aspects of the movement of one’s body."
Library Journal
Bond (Balancing Your Body: A Self-Help Approach to Rolfing Movement), who has a master's degree in dance from UCLA and trained as a structural integration practitioner, here argues that one's posture results from habits that have evolved along with life experiences. Not surprisingly, these habits lead to bad posture and chronic pain, both of which Bond aims to alleviate with a program for the daily renewal of posture. In Part 1, she instructs readers on becoming aware of postural habits, while in Part 2, she studies the body in relation to its core. Part 3 sees her investigating the use of the senses and how that affects one's perception of the world. Finally, in Part 4, Bond explores the body's movement. The book contains clear illustrations throughout and many exercises focusing on subtle body sensations. A good purchase for all libraries. Recommended for anyone interested in the anatomical and emotional aspects of the movement of one's body; good for all libraries.
—Dede Archer
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781594771248
  • Publisher: Inner Traditions/Bear & Company
  • Publication date: 2/15/2007
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 199,543
  • Product dimensions: 8.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Mary Bond has a Master’s degree in dance from UCLA and trained with Dr. Ida P. Rolf as a Structural Integration practitioner. She is a movement instructor at the Rolf Institute and teaches movement workshops nationally. The author of Balancing Your Body, she has also published articles in numerous health and fitness magazines. She lives in California.

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Read an Excerpt

from the Introduction

“Hi there,” said the pretty checker as she reached across the counter to scan my purchases. In an instant her friendly smile dissolved. “Oh, man! I’ve got to get to the chiropractor.” I watched as she twisted her torso this way and that, trying to relieve the pain without attracting too much attention. But she had mine. Why was an attractive twenty-something complaining about her body to a customer? True, it was closing time, the end of a long day. But it was only Wednesday and the new Target had been open less than a week. Her name tag said “Carmen.” Maybe she was in a fender-bender, I thought, and that’s why she’s looking for a doctor. But just as likely not. Just as likely it was the way she used her body that had her tied in knots.

As a movement therapist, it’s my job to correct the poor posture and poor movement habits that underlie my clients’ complaints and symptoms. People often consult with me as a last resort when conventional medical approaches have failed to give them relief. Sometimes it takes months of gradual change for someone to transform his or her posture enough to eliminate pain, but sometimes there’s a quick and easy fix. I wondered whether I might find just the right comment to set Carmen on the road to healthy posture.

If I was to say something helpful, I needed to hit the mark with my assessment and offer a solution that would work right away. Most people have little patience for complicated advice about body maintenance.

The pretty woman was tall, five foot ten or more, with long legs and a short torso. When the cash drawer opened, it seemed low in relation to her height. As she reached for my change, folding inward at the waist as she must have done dozens of times that day, my own body signaled, “Ouch!” There it was, I felt sure: low back pain. Carmen was among the eighty-five percent of Americans who experience back pain sometime in their lives.

The checker’s ill-fitting workstation—tall girl/short counter—was part of her problem, but I wanted to consider other factors before offering a solution. Sometimes poor eyesight or bad lighting makes people hunch over their work. Poor posture caused by poor vision can persist even after vision has been corrected. But no, Carmen’s neck seemed free, with no trace of the forward straining neck tension that accompanies faulty eyesight or faulty hearing.

I glanced at the floor. Only a thin rubber mat protected the checker’s feet from the concrete floor. Hard surfaces take a toll on the best of feet. But Carmen’s shoes looked sturdy. Barring foot problems that I couldn’t see, the shoes seemed supportive enough.

Okay, then, what could I observe about the young woman’s spine? As she stood, Carmen’s lower back looked balanced, neither overly straight nor overly curved. But could she freely bend and straighten it? When she leaned forward, there was a smooth release of back muscles that let her vertebrae separate slightly as they must to allow forward bending. So, no problem with her flexibility. Nor were her buttocks tucking under, a pattern that could fix her lower back in a bent position, that could make straightening a hazard. Seemingly her spine was as adaptable as it looked.

Finally I saw both problem and solution. Carmen was stuck in a pattern I usually associated with women over thirty, so it had taken me a while to notice: camouflaged within the girl’s tight jeans was a flaccid belly—not a fat belly, just an under-active one. I watched as she bent to retrieve a box of tissues that had fallen to the floor. She straightened, then reached down again for a shopping bag. Each time she bent down, her belly bulged forward. In healthy forward bending, the abdominal organs settle back into the abdominal cavity. Because Carmen’s abdominal muscles were lax, her organs fell forward, putting unnecessary drag on her lower vertebrae. She desperately needed abdominal support.

If only I could show this woman how to engage what I call the “inner corset.” In my mind’s eye she grew statuesque. I imagined her jeans fitting better, her chest opening, her shoulders relaxing, and her back pain a distant memory. And, with better abdominal support, Carmen might unexpectedly benefit from improved digestion. Emotionally, she’d be better able to contain her “gut feelings,” and have better boundaries to her relationships.

She’d bagged my purchases by now. It would take only minutes to explain.

But it was closing time. Shoppers, no doubt many of them also wishing for a chiropractic adjustment, clamored in line behind me, hoping to get the kids to bed before ten. I handed Carmen my card. “I can help you with your back,” I said, as the customer behind me jostled into place. The checker gave me a blank look. “Have a good night,” she said.

WHY HEAL YOUR POSTURE?

Such a picture is not unfamiliar, but it doesn’t have to be true. You can have a body that stands gracefully and moves effortlessly throughout life once you learn to use it the way it is designed to be used. It is never too soon, or too late, to heal your posture.

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Table of Contents

Foreword by Leon Chaitow, N.D., D.O.

Preface

Introduction: What Are the New Rules of Posture?

PART ONE: AWARENESS

1. Your Conscious Body
2. Your Body’s Internet

PART TWO: STABILITY

3. The Root of Posture
4. Healthy Breathing
5. Core Connections

PART THREE: ORIENTATION

6. Your Heart’s Messengers
7. Footprints
8. Facing the World

PART FOUR: MOTION

9. Healthy Walking
10. Articulate Living

Afterword: Explore the New Rules of Posture, Together

Appendix: Therapeutic Resources for Healthy Posture

Bibliography

Index

EXPLORATIONS AND PRACTICES

1. YOUR CONSCIOUS BODY

Your Neutral Breath
A Stressful Moment
Simple Pleasure
Walking Inventory
Your Best Foot
Heel Strike
Pelvic Mobility
Arm Swing
Spinal Mobility
Head and Neck
Stabilizing Actions

2. YOUR BODY’S INTERNET

Postural Sway
Fascial Continuity
Sacroiliac Rocking
Holistic Impact
Counterrotation of Pelvis and Chest
Curling and Arching

3. THE ROOT OF POSTURE

Pelvis Palpation
The Pelvic Floor Diamond
The Anal Triangle
Slouching
Supported Sitting
Bending Over
Perceptual Fine Tuning
Smart Reclining

4. HEALTHY BREATHING

Quiet Breathing
Active Breathing
Global Breathing Awareness
Breathing in Your Back
Inhaling Beauty
Exhaling Surrender
The Spaciousness and Weight of Breathing
Breathing in Gravity
Slowing Your Breath with Sound
Healthy Breathing, Healthy Posture

5. CORE CONNECTIONS

Activating Your TA through the Pelvic Floor
Activating Your TA from a Table Position
Activating Your TA Lying Down
A Shortcut to the Inner Corset
Flying Table
Bending Forward and Bending Down
Posture as Relationship

6. YOUR HEART’S MESSENGERS

A Tour of Your Shoulders
Closing Your Shoulders
Shoulder Expression
Leverage
Shoulder Blade Pulses
Handprints on the Wall
Serratus Shortcut
Seated Sphinx
Reaching
Wall Traction
First Aid for Your “Mouse Arm”
Sacred Touch, Living Touch
Two-way Touching
Lifting Something Heavy

7. FOOTPRINTS

Self-assessment of Your Feet
Your Foot’s Dimple
Relaxing Your Arches
Footprints on the Wall
Opening Your Feet
Alternating Pressure between Forefoot and Heel
Rocking from Stance Foot to Walking Foot
Stepping into Your Whole Heel
Help for Bunions
Aligning Your Legs
Shifting Sands
Sitting to Standing
Pushing the Floor
Sacred Ground

8. FACING THE WORLD

Jaw and Tongue Tensions
Nose and Palate Tension
Jaw and Inner Ear
Distinguishing Cranium and Face
Narrow Focus and Open Focus
Releasing Eye Tension
Receptive Eyes
Welcoming the World

9. HEALTHY WALKING

Stop and Go
Wall Traction Enhanced
Flying Table Enhanced
Hip Rotation
Counterrotation
Pelvic Gyroscope
Seated Spine Spirals
Initiating a Step
One Step
One Step with Rotation
Forget About It

10. ARTICULATE LIVING

Body Parts Art
Acceleration
Your Best Walk
Your Worst Walk
Walking Your Way out of a Funk

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 12, 2011

    Great book for body/posture

    I've used this book from the library off and on for years and finally decided to get my own copy. Her suggestions as to the underlying causes of bad posture, and resultant pain and discomfort, make sense. The exercises have helped me strengthen my core, improve my posture and gain renewed energy and vitality.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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