“No man can tell me what to do with my body. Only women’s magazines can do that.”  -Mindy Kaling, The Mindy Project

There is plenty of pressure from the media and Instagram world to look thin (but also curvy!), confident and sexy. 

Also, in case you haven’t noticed, we’re living in the age of the butt! So many of rump-enhancing poses litter my Instagram feed. My lumbar spine cringes… yet I’m intrigued, curious, fascinated. How do I replicate this? 

Even more confusing, how do I reconcile wanting “good posture” that allows me to be strong, healthy, and pain-free, with the desire to look and feel attractive? Is it so bad to cast an apple-bottom silhouette from time to time?

There is confidence that comes with being able to move well–lift heavy boxes and nimbly jump over puddles. 

But can we acknowledge there is also confidence that comes with strutting into a room in an entirely impractical outfit, feeling like a million bucks? Maybe turning a head or two? 

This may involve less-than “perfect” posture and pretty, but poor, footwear at times.

The Difference Between “Common” and “Normal” 

There’s a lot of buzz in the fitness world about the difference between “common” and “normal.”

Regularly standing with a hip elevated and a sway in the lower back may be common, but is it healthy?

As one of my favorite teachers, Judith Lasater said, “Normal is not always healthy. Eating a Big Mac is normal, but it isn’t healthy.”  

Similarly, bunions, lumbar spine herniations, and hip pain may be common, but that doesn’t make them normal. 

Am I here to shame anyone for eating a Big Mac? Absolutely not! But I would love to help you return to a healthy balance if you choose to indulge in poses and postures that can be tough on your body.

So let’s chat about common postural pop culture pitfalls and how we can bounce back from them, pain-free. 

Regularly checking in with “anatomical neutral” can help you gauge the variety of ways you alter you posture

Common Postural Pitfalls and QuickFix Remedies

Let’s start with your feet.

On-screen, unless she’s wearing scrubs, women are usually wearing high heels. Heels are powerful, feminine, sexy, slimming…and ouch, uncomfortable. 

A shoe with a heel of just one inch can throw your body 20 degrees off-axis, that means instead of being upright you’re pitched forward at an angle… Or you would be if your body weren’t working its compensatory magic to keep you upright.  

“Would you want to drive a car with your wheels 20, 30, 40 degrees out of alignment?” Asks Katy Bowman in her book, Simple Steps to Foot Pain Relief, 

Knowing that heels have a slew of negative side-effects, you may feel obligated to toss them out. But those stilettos that pinch your toes and throw your body out of whack might come with an upside too. 

High heels could allow you to be eye-to-eye with a room full of male colleagues or feel more confident as you glide into that cocktail party your ex will be attending. Occasionally you may decide it benefits you to wear fancy footwear.  

So don’t run out and donate them all to Goodwill. Instead, wear your heels responsibly and in moderation.

Foot Pain Relief QuickFix

After a night of donning your flashy kicks, treat your feet to a foot rolling sequence using the Yoga Tune Up® Therapy Balls for myofascial self-massage, paired with a static calf stretch.  

Sole Roll Self-Massage Exercise

  1. Place an Original Yoga Tune Up® therapy ball under your foot.
  2. Rest your heel on the floor like a “reverse high heel.”
  3. Roll your ankle slowly right and left for a minute on each side. 


Calf Stretch Exercise

After rolling your foot, perform a simple calf stretch at the wall.

  1. Place your hands on the wall.
  2. Step one foot forward, the other back.
  3. Gently try to press your back heel toward the floor.
  4. Take several long, slow breaths.
  5. Repeat on the other side.


The Pains and Positives of “Tits Up”

Prior to The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel stepping on stage, the comedienne and her manager share the mantra “Tits Up!” Try it and see what happens.

By lifting your chest do you look taller? More confident? Fuller in the bosom?  

Look a little closer. Did your ribs pop up too? 

This move may quickly create the illusion of “better posture” but often it comes at the cost of the ribs flaring. It stretches your abdominal muscles and scrunches your back muscles. 

Puffing your chest and taking up more space may provide a quick and easy confidence boost needed before a presentation or when crafting the perfect email to ask for a raise. But it’s not where we want to hang out all the time.  

Long term plan, let’s keep the ribs in and find our flare in other ways. In the meantime, here are my favorite corrective moves.

Low Back Pain Relief with Myofascial Self-Massage

When the ribs go up and out, the lower back gets shortened and tight.  

By releasing the quadratus lumborum–a strong muscle on each side of your lower back–you invite some length into the back muscles. 

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and place an Original Yoga Tune Up® therapy ball on the right side of your waist, just above your pelvis.  
  2. Hug the right knee in and add a movement that feels good, hugging, rocking, circling.
  3. After a couple of minutes repeat on the opposite side.

Core strengthener: Knee-to-Chest with Abdominal Contraction  

This is a core/hip flexor combo strengthener that helps to connect the upper body with the lower body. Strengthening the core muscles will help maintain the effect of our QL release above. 

  1. Lie on your back and hug your right knee in.  
  2. Inhale and as you exhale flex your spine, contract your abdominal muscles and bring your nose toward your knee.
  3. With each exhale contract a little more. Attempt to keep your spine and leg where it is as you release your hands and reach your fingers toward the bottom of your mat.
  4. Hold for a breath or two.
  5. Let go and repeat on the other side.

Final Thoughts on Staying Sustainably Fabulous

“Stand up straight, and realize who you are, that you tower over your circumstances.” Maya Angelou

In conclusion, you could consider certain postures an accessory–something you can put on and take off for occasions or photoshoots, like wearing a tie or heavy earrings.

It’s possible to get in and out of these “junk food” postures without getting stuck there or hurt by them.

It’s all about making a conscious choice, ie. “I’m wearing these shoes tonight because I feel confident in them and that is beneficial for me today.” Then, choosing to return to a nutritious movement and posture diet, ie. “I’m taking these heels off as soon as I get home, rolling my feet, and then stretching my calves.”  

Your movement, self-care & self-awareness practice can support all the things you do. From running, hiking, gardening and playing with kids, to striking a daring pose in the occasional-ill fitting attire. 

Now go forth and wow them!


Shop this post: For lower back and foot massage, get Original Yoga Tune UP Therapy Ball Pair or Therapy Ball PLUS Pair in Tote.


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Meredith is a yoga teacher and health coach living in Cincinnati, Ohio. Meredith works with yogis and movers of all ages, from three year olds in her PK classes, high school athletes, as well as adults and seniors. Off the mat Meredith can often be found on the tennis court - as an athlete she is passionate about improving performance, enhancing mobility, preventing injuries and quieting the monkey mind.

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Johanna Vicens

Article très intéressant car il donne la possibilité de prendre conscience pour certaines personnes qu’ils peuvent mettre à des occasions leur chaussures préférées et par la suite prendre soin d’eux, sans être obligé de tout abandonner. Cela peux susciter l’envie d’aller vers une vie plus fonctionnelle pour notre corps sans avoir le sentiment de tout sacrifier, les mentalités évoluent doucement et jamais radicalement. Donner la possibilité aux gens d’avoir un regard différent sur leur perception de confiance, de santé, et de leur place dans la société. Merci


Fortunately, I have never given in to the diktats of fashion, even less for the stilettos!
Your article is very interesting and decomplexing: it is possible to find a balance between fashion and function.

Dilshad Alvi

Love this quote “No man can tell me what to do with my body. Only women’s magazines can do that.” -Mindy Kaling, The Mindy Project. Having worked in the fashion industry in my previous career, I really understand how women can be led to think like this. I have heard many women complain about how their feet hurt so bad (and they even know why they hurt) but they just don’t care as long as they look great! I believe that their can be a balance of fashion and comfort. This coupled with a great Yoga Tune-Up session can make… Read more »


I love and own several low heels but with pointed toes. The narrow toe box puts lots of pressure on my mtp joints and I found the “reverse heel” with YTU therapy ball helps to create space and soothe any remaining discomforts.

Patricia Cornelius

Great tips. I spent a lot of years in heels… and while it was the norm, it wasn’t healthy! I remember many days taking my shoes off at the end of the day and cringing. Ball rolling would have been a blessing…and it certainly is these days.


Absolutely know all about this being in the fashion industry for over 25 years. My feet can tell many stories and I am proud to say I now focus on foot rehabilitation!

Ashley Vasas

My poor feet! I tortured them with heels throughout a decade of office work. I would even jog to catch the elevator in 4 inch stilettos! I’m glad my cubicle days are over, for many reasons, and I still choose to wear heels from time to time. But thanks to the tips in this post I know how to treat my feet when I’m back on solid ground again.

Myriam P

Merci de nous faire voir l’envers de la médaille des médias sociaux et tous le stress que l’on se met sur les épaules. J’ai longtemps cru que j’étais pas ‘normal’ alors que finalement j’essayais d’écouter ce que mon corps me disait.

Elsa Moreau

Realy happy to read that. I miss that feeling of being hight on heels .

Ann Donachey

Everything in moderation; I love when articles capture responsible indulgence.
Wear the heels, eat the thing, sit with a slump on a Saturday night, but acknowledge the risk of chronic repetition and take preventative measures so that a pleasant treat can remain pleasant!

Cynthia Racine

Thank you for sharing a self awereness and self care article that balances the pro and con of those habits (and considering not only the movement , but also the feeling).


Thanks! Take great care of our feet, which are the foundation of the rest of our body.

Toni Dee

I am so happy to hear someone making sense about wearing high heels, instead of just bashing it as “bad for you”. When I am going to wear my Stilettos, ‘cuz I just wanna look a little sexier and taller (I’m 5’4″) and they match my outfit, I always make sure that I have a pair of flats to change into in the trunk of my car, as soon as I am out of sight. Then roll my “dogs” when I get home. Thanks for your article.

Rani Bechar

Thanks for this post ! As much as I’d like to be more evolved and shun wearing heels bc they’re terrible for my body, I often find myself with hurty feet and low back on a Sunday morning from feeling the self imposed pressure to don a pair of heels to accommodate a perceived social expectation for a particular type of dress, which includes heels. Thanks so much for the relieving poses in this post !

Rose Moro

After years of plantar facsciitis issues, I finally learned to roll my feet and to wear shoes with support. makes a huge difference — walking barefoot is actually my favorite now.


Fun article! It’s kind of like sugar- a sometimes food but don’t make it a habit and brush your teeth!

Missy tillman

Great balanced approach with helpful options in release movements too

Megan White

Love the quote from Marvelous M! Yes, I love your not so black and white thinking. I switched to minimal shoes years ago but will also wear some heels out for a few hours, but as soon as I get home I have roll my feet and stretch my calves.

Wendy Rodríguez

As Meredith comments, there is a constant pressure on social networks especially in “looking good”, although it does not mean that it is healthy. The heels are a clear example, they deform our foot and shorten the tendon and calf to such a degree that some people have a hard time or it hurts to walk with a flat foot and the same happens with the postures we adopt, carrying more weight to a side than another. We need to be more aware of our body and take care of ourselves, giving ourselves permission to be comfortable, there will be… Read more »

Tristina Kennedy

I’ve gotten rid of nearly every pair of high heels that used to live in my closet. For so many years, I absolutely sacrificed my comfort for fashion & following the trend. It wasn’t until I went for a long period of time not wearing heels that I realized just how much they had been making me suffer. Now, when I wear them for even a short period of time, I am amazed at how quickly my knees & low back start to hurt. I still like the feeling (and aesthetic) of being in heels on rare occasion, but have… Read more »


I don’t fully agree about the author’s point of view about heels. I injured my foot by wearing flats and the orthopedic I went to told me that flat shoes are just as harmful to feet as stilettos, instead, he advised wearing shoes with 3-4 inch block heel. Heels can be comfortable and attractive too, it is a balance between buying good quality expensive shoes made from leather inside and out vs going to a store trying to score a cheap pair and then yes, your feet will hurt. Heels are also about femininity, they encourage you to have a… Read more »


High heels are such an interesting phenomena to me because they were originally worn by men (you can often see in Victorian paintings that men were wearing heels!) It was thought that a bit of extra heel on the back of the shoe would make for better traction when wandering around the woods. So it’s very interesting that they became associated with women and femininity a few hundred years later. I personally love the look and feel of being taller (this gives my confidence a quick boost!) but I’ve had issues with ankle twist or sprain countless times that I’ve… Read more »


Talk about heels,! Beware I have completely endured injury from wearing flats . I had to learn the hard way , every foot is different . But I would say most feet need a little bit of heel and arch support especially to avoid plantar fascia .

Matty Espino

I really enjoyed the gentle reminder of this article that we don’t have to necessarily let go of certain things completely. There is a time and place for heels, for big macs, and other things that may make us feel good, but remembering to know how to take care of ourselves after is key. Looking forward to trying out the lower back Myofascial self-massage.


The “Tits Up” reference made me laugh!! Personally I don’t wear high heels. But I appreciate that you don’t villainize it but suggest making it a conscious choice. And I am going to try out the low back relief rolling with the Tune Up ball. Thanks for the ideas!


I love the sole rolling self-massage and calf stretch exercises!

Daniel Zachrisson

I like how you separated it in feet, calves and lower back. The examples given for “corrective” exercises are pretty cool. For the feet, I like the rainbow motion on top of the ball bringing the inside and the outside edges of the foot down to the floor.
Awesome way of also depicting the effects of heels!

Dominique Lim

This is a great article illuminating the different between what looks good vs. what does us good!


Have been talking a lot about QL in recent classes and having students come to me with pain/discomfort in the QL and have to say this information is very useful. Thank you