I used to slouch forward, a lot. Maybe it came from years of taking sitting posture in office environment. Maybe it came from my childhood survival mechanism to duck my head and get away with whatever troubles in present. I had been slouching so hard my lower backbone became off 10 degrees from the standard.
As I became self-employed and started to take proper care of my body, I became aware of my slouch and started to practice taking a proper posture. The big issue was that I did not know what “proper” meant because I had always been off the norm.
My chiropractor, dance teacher, rolfer all told me to imagine a string coming out of the dent in the back of my head to pull me upward, and at the same time my tailbone being pulled down by the gravity. My spine is pulled up and down at the same time, straightening me up and grounding me down.
Walking in the straight-up posture was awkward at first, and I felt like a puppet with an extra set of strings extending downward. But once I got the posture right, I started to experience an unexpected shift in my body conscious. It didn’t come from the back, though. It was my vision that had changed.
When I was living in the slouching form, my world was narrow and focused. I would always stare at something downward and nearby. I was perpetually living in microscopic mode with my near-sighted posture. Whenever I faced up, I would over-compensate by looking away, converting my vision into telescopic mode, pushing everything into a long-distance view. Microscope or telescope, that was the only option.
Straight-up posture distance was something new to me. Not near, not far, just straight ahead. I could see the far end of the road, and suddenly the microscope and telescope are connected. What I see in front of me is the gradation of reality, starting from the closest detail and continuing all the way up to the farthest landscape along the street. Gone are the microscopic or telescopic flat view. My world has turned 3D.
I look ahead and see everything. The world fills my peripheral view, allowing me to move my focus with a slight shift in my attention. Now I see the blue sky, the skyscrapers, the beauty of the trees along the street, the people walking by, and the small hole right in front of me, all at the same time. I might not be able to focus on everything, but I certainly can notice everything.
As the straight-up posture allows me to notice physical details, I realize that it also allows me to notice my mental activities clearer than ever. When I was slouching my mind was occupied by recent incidents and worries. When I was looking up my mind was occupied by dreams (fantasies) and plans for the future. In both cases, I wasn’t acknowledging one thing that matters most: the now.
By standing up and focusing straight, I do not ignore or pressure away my negative thoughts or movement. Instead, I make myself ready to listen to them.
Now I can walk proudly, being able to sense the world, both externally and internally, wondering how the hell I had been missing this simple pleasure.