Why you need a pair of Spinefulness sunglasses
A few weeks ago, I showed this picture of two men on a ferry in Mumbai to a friend who is new to Spinefulness.
I pointed out the deep hip creases of the man on the right, how they show that his pelvis is in a good position. His buttocks are back. That lets the bones of his spine stack, one on top of the other. His weight goes down his spine, so his muscles don’t have to hold him up. He has space everywhere in his torso.
In contrast, the man on the left rolls back on his pelvis. Instead of stacking, his spine collapses into a curve, and the weight of gravity goes through his organs, pushing his stomach out.
“Oh,” my friend said. “I would have thought the man in the pink shirt had better posture, because he looks more relaxed.”
Oh, how I wish that right then, by some magical sleight of hand through the Zoom screen, I could have passed her a pair of Spinefulness sunglasses.
Not that Spinefulness sunglass exist. Not yet.
But in my mind, I see magic lenses, like the sunglasses in the 1988 cult classic They Live.
Spinefulness glasses would impose gravitational lines on human bodies. At a glance they would show where the weight of the body falls – almost always forward – and whether the spine is a strong column, a C-curve, or a weak zigzag.
In They Live, the revealed truth is that aliens have taken over the earth. They’ve disguised their presence by transmitting a powerful signal that hides them from humanity. The link above will take you to a five-minute scene that pretty much explains the movie.
Without the sunglasses our hero sees ads for a Caribbean vacation. With them, he sees the words “Marry and Reproduce.” Without the sunglasses, that man browsing the magazine stand is a just a successful, power-suit-wearing guy. Seen through the lens of reality, he’s a metal-faced alien.
If you want more, Wikipedia supplies the full plot and what I suspect is the best line in the film, which our hero delivers to a group of aliens in a bank: “I’ve come here to chew bubble gum and kick ass, and I’m all out of bubblegum.”
There are, needless to say, no aliens perverting our posture, no transmitter we could disable. But we are, nonetheless, blind.
We swim in a sea of images that show hurtful posture as sexy, cool and relaxed. Open any magazine, watch any movie or TV show, search for fashion images on Pinterest, check out the lineup in your local coffee shop.
What you’ll see is the defining action of modern posture, which is to push your pelvis forward of the line of gravity. A forward pelvis is so cool that even mannequins in stores stand that way.
Pushing the pelvis forward tucks the buttocks under.
When we take this tucked pelvis into sitting, we end up sitting back on our buttock flesh, and not forward on our sitting bones.
Steve McQueen, the King of Cool, sits on his bike rolled back on his pelvis, with a hump in his upper back and his head turtled forward – and all we see are the chiseled features and the six-pack.
This image of a young boy is a stock photo. The photographer’s caption describes him as “ Cute curly-haired boy in swimming trunks.” And he is cute, unless you put on the Spinefulness sunglasses and see that hump in his low back. It signals immense pressure in the front of his discs, and serious back pain long before middle age.
In the absence of magic sunglasses, the best we can do is learn what healthy posture looks like, and how to imitate it, to learn, as senior Aplomb teacher Georgia LeConte writes on her website, “to see Aplomb in others and to feel it in ourselves.”
I’m close to launching my first online course, an introduction to Spinefulness. It will run on four Thursdays, November 12 to December 3, from 3 to 4 pm, PST. (Recordings will be available if you can’t attend at those times.)
If you’d like to join the waiting list, send me an email at email@example.com.