Your body follows your attention. And your attention is typically focused on what you are looking at. And what you are looking at is typically in front of you.
When you overly rely on your sense of sight over time it is easy to become focused on the forward dimension.
It is very easy to become unaware of the space that exists behind you, above you, below you, to the right of you and to the left of you.
Your body tends to pull forward because your attention is constantly encouraging you in the direction you are looking. That forward pull becomes your posture that you take into everything that you do.
I was taught in school that I have five senses—sight, smell, hearing, taste and touch. We actually have many more than five senses. But to keep it simple let’s start with these. Imagine that each of your senses had a volume knob. “0” would be no sound and “10” would be max.
When we overly rely on our sense of sight it is as if that volume knob is at a “10” and the other knobs are turned down or off completely. Practicing turning the volume up on these other senses up can be helpful in restoring a sense of your three dimensionality.
But why is this important?
Because you are three dimensional and exist and move in three dimensional space. Good posture is about being balanced in all three dimensions, not constantly being skewed towards one of them.
To simplify further let’s just take your sense of touch and hearing.
As you read this start to listen to the sounds around you. What do you hear? Automobile traffic, music, birds singing, the furnace fan, your dog snoring, the din of others’ conversation?
Start to notice what you are touching. Remember that you touch with all parts of your body. If you are sitting notice your buttocks and thighs on your chair, your back on the chair and your feet on the floor. Maybe you have a finger on your tablet or keyboard.
Next time you go for a walk try putting the smartphone away and take your ear buds out of your ears. As you look at the world around you, open up your ears to the sounds you hear all around you and be aware of the ground underneath your feet. Remember that you are three dimensional and exist and move in three dimensional space.
Image of volume knob courtesy of Salvatore Vuono at FreeDigitalPhotos.net; cartoon used under permission of DIRECTION Journal.