If I never mentioned it before, this is the posture to mention it. My spine is completely straight (instead of an S curve like a normal person) when looking from the side.
Many a time I’ve had people tell me that I have “awesome posture” when sitting and standing, none of them realising that this is because I’d spent all my growing years carrying a heavy bag and ensuring my back was flat against it at all times. I’d seen so many old people with hunch backs that I “never wanted to be like” and made sure my bag pulled my shoulders back and I would consciously make the effort to flatten my back against my folders and maths books when I walked to and from school which included tilting my pelvis forward so my spine was completely straight from head to coccyx. If I knew I would change the shape of my back forever by doing such a thing while I was growing, I would never have done it!
Now for the funny part. I used to pick up my bag with one hand only and ALWAYS the SAME hand… my right. If I wasn’t needing to carry my bag for more than 10 mins, I would only keep it hanging off my right shoulder. So now, I’ve got scoliosis in the upper back near the scapula which if you looked at my spine from front on, would mean my spine has a little S shape when it should be straight like a normal person! The impact on the rest of the body I’ve felt for a while, the shoulders, neck, head, hips and knees all adjust to compensate and sit ever so slightly higher or lower than the other. Unfortunately by the time I’d found this out, I’d already reached bone maturity and was told I’d just have to live with it.
Yoga has definitely helped me to realign so that my weight is more evenly distributed on both sides of the body but I can see the massive difference in flexibility from one side to the other and the inflexibility in my back when it comes to things like “rounding”. In my mind I’m rounded, my throat’s choked and my back is hurting but when I see these pictures I realise just how far I have to go!
Check out Tony’s posture to see how it’s supposed to be done!
Here’s our progress. Unfortunately we didn’t take pictures when we first started but following is an honest estimate of where we started (pictures on the left) vs where we are now (pictures on the right).
Dandayamana Bibhaktapada Janushirasana (Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee Pose)