How Visualization Affects Posture

In a recent class taught in my Mindful Movement Series, I shared a lesson called Crossing Lines. The lesson involved measuring distances from one place on your body to another. For example the distance from the right shoulder and left hip was imagined and compared to the the distance of left shoulder and right hip. Could you imagine drawing a line in your mind to these points and then sensing where those lines cross?

Not an easy task, but interesting! The whole lesson involved creating and crossing lines all over the body. After the lesson we checked our balance by standing on one foot.

This is what one participant said about the experience:

“I noticed I moved differently as I walked to the car after the lesson. However I noticed the biggest shift the next morning … I carried my body differently – straight posture, shoulders back and felt taller …… amazing. After the class I felt that I did a mental workout, visualizing the connecting lines and crosses – never did I imagine that this re-mapped my brain in this way – absolutely amazing. BTW, my posture is still holding up” . Horst

Give this a try either sitting on the edge of a chair, or lying down:

Sense the distance from your Right shoulder to your Left hip. With eyes closed draw an imaginary line connecting the 2 points. Do the same from your Left shoulder to your Right hip. Now sense where the 2 lines cross on your body.

Use the same method of imagery to measure the distance between:

the hips to opposite knees,

from your knees to your heels,

(Here is an interesting one: draw an X under each foot by sensing the line from the big toe to the outer edge of the heel and from the little toe to the inner edge of the heel!)

your shoulders to each ear canal,

the back of your ears to the inner corner of each shoulder blade,

the shoulders from the back to each hip crest behind you….

Once you have spent time sensing these lines, clarifying the distances and feeling where they cross, (you will notice your eyes doing a lot of work to map these lines) test out how you feel by standing and walking a bit. You might find the change in spatial awareness surprising.

This what one student said about the lesson:

“I tried the crossing line idea with one of my higher level Parkinson’s patient.  She found it amazing how these imaginary lines helped her to line up her head and torso over her legs.  She was able to stand on one leg much better after that practice.” Winnie, OT

The lesson takes a bit of concentration but it is well worth the improvements in posture and body awareness. For the neurological explanation of imagery read this concise article The Functional Organization of the Nervous System by John B. Chester, MD.