When you have correct posture, your body efficiently resists gravity in the least stressful way on your physiological and structural systems. Posture is typically thought of as a static and statue-like position. How boring! In truth, posture is dynamic in nature, and managing it is a constant interplay between your moving body and the things you do with your body. Maintaining proper alignment while moving is a challenging balancing act. To have better posture in motion, you must keep your body correctly poised within each movement to minimize the friction on your joints. In other words, activity is not pulling you out of good aligned posture— whether it’s walking, bending over to pick up the newspaper, lifting weights, running, cycling, or doing yoga.

Good standing posture looks like this:

Good Posture_final2

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Excerpted from The Roll Model: A Step-by-Step Guide to Erase Pain, Improve Mobility, and Live Better in Your Body by Jill Miller. Copyright © 2014 by Jill Miller. Excerpted by permission of Victory Belt Publishing Inc. All rights reserved. 

Jill Miller

Jill Miller, C-IAYT, ERYT is the co-founder of Tune Up Fitness Worldwide and creator of the self-care fitness formats Yoga Tune Up® and The Roll Model® Method. With more than 30 years of study in anatomy and movement, she is a pioneer in forging relevant links between the worlds of fitness, yoga, massage, athletics and pain management. She is known as the Teacher’s Teacher and has trained thousands of movement educators, clinicians, and manual therapists to incorporate her paradigm shifting self-care fitness programming into athletic and medical facility programs internationally. She has crafted original programs for 24 Hour Fitness, Equinox, YogaWorks, and numerous professional sports teams. She and her team of 500+ trainers help you to live better in your body with an emphasis on proprioception, mobility, breath mechanics and recovery. She has presented case studies at the Fascia Research Congress and International Association of Yoga Therapy conferences. She has the rare ability to translate complex physiological and biomechanical information into accessible, relevant moves that help her students transform pain, dysfunction and injury into robust fitness. Jill is the anatomy columnist for Yoga Journal Magazine and has been featured in Shape, Men’s Journal, Good Housekeeping, Women’s Health, Yoga Journal, Self, and on the Today Show and Good Morning America. Jill is regularly featured on the Oprah Winfrey Network. She is the creator of dozens of DVD’s including Treat While You Train with Kelly Starrett DPT and is the author of the internationally bestselling book The Roll Model: A Step by Step Guide to Erase Pain, Improve Mobility and Live Better in your Body. Based in Los Angeles, CA, she is a wife and mother of two small children and is currently writing her second book.

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Kevin V.

In massage school, I learned the word tensegrity, which is a structural principle based on the use of isolated components in compression inside a net of continuous tension much like the way muscles pull on bones to keep them in a certain position. It is also called floating compression. Good posture is more than just a look, it is also a feel; and it feels like floating.

Anja

Growing up nobody really teaches us how to stand correctly – and then life happens to us the results of which we subsequently carry in our tissues. It might seem boring to practice standing in good alignment (Tadasana) but it can be a very challenging pose for some of us, especially when held for longer periods of time.

Caitlin Casella

I appreciate the approach to posture as a dynamic process. I was reading a study the other day that demonstrated how we present slight variations in the way we stand every time we come back to standing still. All of the points provided here are important in any movement or activity and I can see how any movement or activity will have an impact on how we stand still.

Jennifer

As I read this post, I recall how when I was supine at training last weekend and I thought I was in alignment, I was not, not by a long shot. And when I was placed into ‘correct posture’ – I felt off kilter and not in what my body sensed as optimal. I am curious to explore more how body blind spots function in relation to posture and how I can cue this in myself without looking at my reflection.

Jamilah

Thank you, Jill! I may just include this in my confirmation emails to my clients so that they are reminded of it often.

Rebecca Tamm

I need to hang this up in my studio so everyone can get a quick and easy reference and body check in.

Laura

Posture is so crucial! It’s one of the easiest ways to positively affect our pain patterns and yet it’s like pulling teeth to actually motivate change in this regard. I feel like at least half of my massage clients glaze over when I start talking about postural changes, like their thinking, “yeah, that’s not gonna happen”. Your section in the Roll Model book about healthy posture versus junk food posture was a game changer for me. I never considered it that way, but it clicked immediately and was the stimulus I needed to change some of my bad habits. Thank… Read more »

Li Si Yang

Good posture is the foundation to good health and much more! Posture affect the way you look, feel, and move. If you walk into a room and you’re not sure which person in the room has poor posture, it’s most likely you. If you’re not assessing, you are guessing. Remember, not everyone will notice your posture, but the person you want to impress, will.

Erin Kintzing

I love this infographic– there are many different definitions on how to stand up “straight”, but many are rigid and not anatomically aligned like this one, which is why I love YTU! I love the reminder that “posture is dynamic in nature” and that we must be cognizant of where we hold ourselves in different relationships to gravity. More infographics in different poses could be a really interesting additional blog post!

Ann

Its amazing how a poor posture turns comfortable so quickly and that becomes the new normal. One important thing I learned in YTU level 1 training was, a poor posture in some cases may need to be corrected slowly. The ripple affect of the tissue moved too quickly can cause intermediate pain while the proper posture becomes the new normal.

Clayton

Great graphic! The more I’ve learned about proper posture and alignment, I’ve become more aware of my tendencies with my own posture. When standing, I tend to shift more weight into my left hip, and hang out in the lateral end of the hip joint socket. Also, I always stand with my right foot turned out in external rotation. I quickly try and fix this, and try and check in with the direction of my feet when I’m standing. After some consideration, I realize that one predisposition for my right foot turning out would be driving; I have size 12… Read more »

aniela eva

When I practiced proper posture it was rigid and static which of course got co-created into my cells. The untrained eye saw a good posture but I was stiff and forced and definitely not breathing properly. At some point during my YTU training I began to move from a proper posture insted of forcing my body to look like a certain posture and losing my core and myself. I also like how ribs over hips are taught in YTU which further keeps you in your center

Wendi Jack

Thank you for this graphic! I would like to have it handy at all times as a reference, for me as well as my yoga students and massage clients! As we all run around during these potentially stressful (!!!) holidays, this is a good reminder and checklist!

Krysten Hills

You always hear about how important good posture is but until you really see the effects of bad posture (pain or injury) it’s not really heard. I cross my legs while sitting, lean to one side while standing and even look in the mirror while lifting weights. Knowing what I know now I really need to break these bad habits for good.

Karina

That’s a great reminder of tune up Tadasana. It is so important to stand with optimal posture and dignity. We forgot how much it affect the breathing patterns. Thank you for the visual!

Michelle Tan

I learnt the YTU Tadasana today on the first day of my TYU L1 training, I was so excited to have learnt using external/internal rotation of the shoulders and hips, and abduction and adduction of shoulders and hips to activate the muscles surrounding these joints, I can’t wait to share this information with others!

Denise

Can you comment on the placement of feet for those with tibial torsion? Thanks!

Karen Stillman

Two thumbs up for the simple yet helpful visual. It’s easy to see why the Yoga Tune Up world is making strides, and being good at standing still! Thanks.

Susan J

Posture awareness is expanding! Love the work on letting the arms hang.

alison

Jill, I love the arms hanging by the sides. As a yoga student and teacher, we are so often cueing to externally rotate the arms and retracting the shoulders. As a rib popper, this has been difficult to maintain good posture over the years. Thank you for the visual!!

Pia G

This infographic is so very helpful and I will be printing out for my reference. I appreciate that the feet shown as 8-12 inches apart. The instructions for tadasana are often to place feet and heels together. This often causes eversion in my feet and issues to my posture, so I often open the feet up a few inches. Good to know that I can go a bit wider now!

Giselle Mari

Tune up Tadasana is not like Tadasana. 🙂 I so appreciate your approach to alignment and the creativity of language that you use to take old and sometimes tired ways of verbalizing this pose. I too like your graphic and its easy 6 points. I know its an exhaustive list, but I find this one to be easy to remember while covering some essential pieces. Particularly the breath. Often when focused on getting our parts in the right place we forget to breath and make this “dynamic” stance, stiff and militaristic. Thank you for making Tadasana a pose of interest… Read more »

Suncana

This is a handy graphic to check in with yourself from time to time or give to clients to check in.

Kerstin

I learned something through YTU that I have never realized before: my upper ribs jut. Not in a grotesque way, by any means, but enough. And it’s a result of “good posture,” the kind you get when standing up straight means jamming your chest forward, yanking your shoulder blades together behind your back (my poor rhomboids), and maybe sticking your booty out a little. Wow. Not good posture. Which I realized when the YTU teacher said to line up my xyphoid process with my public bone. What? Yes. Do it. Because it releases your rhomboids and the other upper back… Read more »

Lulu Goodman

Love the infographic! Will be sharing this post with friends and family. Seeing it broken down shows me how I need awareness in 1, 3 and 5. I have some work to do. Even a yoga teacher, I’m guilty of compensating for poor posture by going to the ” military”. Learning about laterally rotating shoulders without retraction of scapula has been so helpful. Pin the arms on the yogi!

Serge Goyette

Thanks a lot Jill, this post really bring me back to my alignment, I had so much trouble getting the # 3 done properly and I still have some issues with my feet alignment but getting so much better.. thanks for correcting me at almost ech time during the YTU training aand thanks to the assisstants also. Posture makes so much a difference…

Janie Hickman

Great info graphic. As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. It would be interesting to have posters geared to students emphasizing posture as well as one showing the negative effects of texting with their head forward.

Olga

Poster problems are so common nowdays. sometimes i start the class asking all the student to stand to the wall and try to press them self to the wall as much as they can from heels calf, gluts, back, shoulders and had. keep this poster and walk. they feel so unnatural like they walk as robots, but this is the posture they should have! just the are absolutely not used to it

Gabriela

I had a yoga teacher that was so frantic about alignment that he would do hands on adjustments on my alignment on some poses but without telling me how to do it, just moving my body to the “right” alignment. It was torture, I felt all tense but compelled to hold it no matter what as I’ve always been a “good” student. After class instead of feeling relaxed and empowered I felt tense, tight and overwhelmed with the idea that I would never achieve any pose alignment correctly. Then, when I did my Yoga Teacher training i had the fortune… Read more »

Anny Morin

Good infographic. lately I stand while I am working in front of the computer and my posture is much better while standing than sitting and slouching. Its kind of a reminder for me to stay straight and improve my poture.

Kimberly Greeff

I had a yoga teacher tell me that my head moving forward when I speak was “gross” and to stop doing it immediatly. As a student of my body I was offended and decided the best way I could honor this teaching in my life was to no longer view this particular teacher as my teacher and instead began to explore my posture and why I do what I do. I went to a Rolfer and the Rolfer showed me how I walked – in exaggeration (to really drive the point home I suppose) Even after the sessions in my… Read more »

Thu Maraia

i totally agree, and love it when Jill said in her level 1 Cert. class “feet under your lungs”. relax your shoulders, head over your rib cage. Having good posture,helps you breath better, prevent from hunching over as you get older.

Loretta Zedella

Thanks for posting this. The whole book is great, but this ne graphic speaks volumes. I like that you included that it may take some muscular energy to keep ribs over hips.

Téa

Thank you for including the glutes! I had created much instability in my pelvis and SI joint by turning off my glutes for years. Now I’m trying to get my ‘rear back into gear’!

Angela

The challenge is undoing years of bad posture. Habitually moving in an unhealthful way every day for years leaves deep imprints that are not easily realized. When finally realized and corrected, good posture feels foreign. Even if you can maintain good posture on the mat, taking it into the world, being as mindful as in a yoga class and not slipping back to the old pattern is difficult.

Rachel Peppler

I like that you said it’s Dynamic. people do not need to fear walking around like a robot afraid to move out of “correct” posture. This is so important! Thanks Jill for sharing all your wisdom and experience. 🙂

Kajal Jhaveri

I agree – standing isn’t just about doing nothing with your body but a great opportunity to keep improving one’s posture. Tadasana is great because it also requires activating the knees and keeping them healthy so we can flex, extend and rotate them to move our legs.

Emily

I love the idea of posture as a dynamic movement. I do believe it’s also helpful to evaluate clients’ posture in the transverse plane. I know I constantly struggle with a left hip that is rotated a bit forward and thus feel some significant muscular disparity in the pelvis region.

Kim Cordova

I really wish I had this posture. Years of mad biomechanics have left a dreadful toll. Her shoulders look a bit more droopy than neutral, but thats coming from someone who can’t get anywhere near even that hypothetical neutral. no se.

Molly

I love breaking down Tadasana – there’s A LOT to do even while appearing to just be standing still. This graphic was a very helpful reminder on all the different components that make up good posture, particularly that it’s dynamic rather than static. Sometimes the things that seem simplest can actually be the most challenging! Thanks for the great post!

Dawn Mauricio

I love the immediate effect this blog post had on me — I sat up straighter while reading it an my too-low-laptop height. I wholeheartedly agree that “posture” is not some boring, static thing, but something alive. As a result, the opportunity for good posture is available to us in each moment as we engage with life. Thank you, Jill.

Crescent Diorio

Great reminder! I am a big sloucher and my spine is very flexible from doing gymnastics for years. I have horrible posture. For me, the biggest one is to open my chest and engage my back muscles, standing up tall or sitting tall at my desk. Additionally, I tell myself to pull in my core a bit as I tend to stick my abdomen out when propping myself on my hip at times.

Susan

This is a great reminder that standing is an active position! I tend to stand with an anterior tilt in my pelvis and slightly protracted shoulders, particularly when my 11-month old is catching a ride in her sling. From every day activities to working out (whether it be yoga, running, or weight lifting), it’s important to remember your posture is the foundation for injury-free activity.

Amanda

This is so important, like you said, it’s the baseline for foundational strength, but most people, like breathing, don’t pay attention to their posture. A great thing to keep in mind and know how to break down. And I would love to hear #6 expounded upon as well. Thank you!

Aracelly

Agree except 6 can be misunderstood by some. I once had a patient come in for piriformis syndrome because she was told to squeeze her glutes all the time. Granted, common sense sometimes eludes some but would it be better to focus more on the position of the pelvis vs the “activate glute” part. I understand but for others who aren’t health professionals it may be taken out of context. Thanks!

Max

It’s amazing how once you can identify “good” posture, you can’t turn that lens off and see “bad” posture everywhere!

Ann Knighton

Thanks for mentioning #6!

Natalie

Both the gluteus maximus and medius are strong extensors and abductors of the hip, so you need to activate these muscles (as in 6) . The fibers of these muscles are also active in pulling the femur in multiple directions, so awareness and activation also helps with 3.

Cathy

I was with you until 6.

Olga

Thanks for mentioning the gluteal muscles, lets give this psoas some help.