Your posture may not have been on your radar much until you stepped into that dance class or decided to work with a personal trainer. Then suddenly, it took center stage.
Even if you don’t dance yourself, you know that good posture is an important part of good ballroom dancing.
Good ballroom dancers don’t slump and slouch across the floor. They glide gracefully, with beautiful upright posture—at least that’s what they aim for.
One of my students takes ballroom dance lessons at a local studio. She often comes to her Alexander lesson and relates to me what her dance teacher has been haranguing her about most recently.
One week she came for her lesson and told me he’d been prodding her not to lean into her left side.
At the end of that lesson, just as she was about to leave, I watched as she reached for her large purse. And slung it over her right shoulder. The bag was not unsubstantial. Probably 12 inches x 12 inches and there was a decent amount of stuff in it.
Do you always carry your bag on that shoulder? I asked.
Yes, she said.
What’s happening to your left side when you carry the bag on your right shoulder?
She stopped to see what she noticed.
She noticed she was collapsing into her left side as she raised her right shoulder to support the bag.
(This isn’t an uncommon habit if you go out and observe people carrying a purse or a tote on one shoulder over the next week).
Do you think there might be a connection between your habit of always carrying your bag on the right shoulder and your tendency to collapse a bit onto your left side?
Maybe? she replied.
She carries this bag every day.
Often when your posture becomes the focus in a new activity you need to look outside of that activity if you want to have a lasting chance of improving it.
Even if you take up an activity that puts an emphasis on good posture and you work on it during that activity, you spend many more hours of the day doing other things—working at a computer, driving, absorbed in your phone, carrying your bag around.
Stop to consider all the hours you spend away from that new activity and how what you do during those hours might affect how you are at the new activity.
Yes, you can work on your dance posture by paying attention to how you carry your purse.
Don’t overlook the small things you do every day.
You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.
― John C. Maxwell