Perfecting Posture: A Whole-Body Approach to Standing Up Straight


Let’s be straight about standing up straight.

We know it’s a topic that sounds like an old-school rehash of the traditional “sliding your shoulders down and back,” but we invite you to engage your senses and improve your body’s entire quality of movement through a holistic approach to posture.

Old-school posture advice and modern bodies aren't two peas in a pod

When demonstrating healthy posture, our clients sometimes squeeze their shoulders blades so tightly together it's like they're trying to trap tiny peas between their overly tensed muscles. This is obviously uncomfortable and not good for maintaining a healthy overall body position.

But with so much conflicting posture improvement advice--even from professional trainers--it’s totally understandable that this is the position to which you’d default. We think it’s time to reconsider how we define proper posture.

Pain shuts off critical
dialogue between your
brain and body.

First, we invite you to do away with the rigidity associated with a severely stiff spine and tired, tense shoulders. All this is doing, as we’re sure you know from personal experience, is creating painful pinching and pulling throughout your musculoskeletal system.

This pain actually sends signals through your nervous system that end up leading to problems sometimes more serious than slouching shoulders. Even worse, it ends up limiting your body’s entire movement and shuts off critical dialogue between your brain and body. As a consequence, you definitely won’t perform at your best.

Down and back doesn't just stay with your shoulders

In the video clip below, see one of our trainers walk you through the repercussions of conventional “down and back” advice for posture positioning:


As you saw, we advocate a more holistic approach to posture improvement, doing away with the “one size fits all” methodology. Try embracing your body’s natural, neutral spine alignment and allow your proprioception--or your brain’s understanding of your body’s spatial orientation--to guide you into “good” posture.

Tap into your natural sense of position

But if you’re not familiar with proprioception, we want you to know that it’s a much more individualized approach to not just posture, but your entire body’s movement through space. Such a whole-body posture philosophy re-establishes a lifetime of lost brain-body connections shut down through old injuries, aging, increasing sedentary lifestyles, and screen time.

It reconnects you to your own body’s natural positioning, emphasizing that posture should be a dynamic neutral concept--not a static state. This is a radical departure from traditional “down and back” posture techniques, allowing for realistic implementation as you go about your day and lets your body guide your spine into its individual and preferred natural spine curvatures. 

Improve your overall sense
of balance and well-being with
heightened sensory awareness.

This healthier quality of movement, based on feedback from your own body, will stimulate your innate brain-body connection and improve your overall sense of balance and well-being.

Consider our posture philosophy as the starting point for every single day. You wake up, you stretch, and you tune into your body’s natural desire to lengthen and strengthen. Then, as you move through your daily routine and into your workout, your brain is ready to engage.

Remember, posture—like maintaining healthy lifestyles—shouldn’t drain you, but refresh your body’s senses.


Lily is the chief movement officer for WAV and a lifelong athlete and student of movement. After overcoming injuries impacting her own body's neuromuscular system, she’s dedicated her life to helping clients realize the life changing benefits of optimized movement.

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