Emotions and Beliefs: Do They Influence Our Posture?

How are emotions and beliefs related to our posture?

Our posture is a physical representation of the way we see ourselves, and the way we perceive the world which surrounds us. As well as the way in which we walk the road of Life.

In Traditional Oriental Medical Theory there are different conditions which describe the emotions revealed in our body.
  • Anger rises up towards our head.
  • Fear contracts our body.
  • Joy expands it.
  • Shock dissipates the energy within it.

While these emotions are generated by our body's/mind's reaction to the external circumstances, they are literally alive. They move through our muscles, change the circulation, modify breathing pattern. They dance their dance in our mind and our body.

Not all emotions have the same affect on us.

Some are light and simple; such as plain reaction to unpleasantly tasting food. This emotion will be easily processed and digested as slightly unpleasant experience just like the unpleasant food.
However, other emotions, such as fear which we experience during a car accident, may actually settle down in our body.

While the accident hurts us physically, the emotional ramifications may go unnoticed. Thus the physical pain overshadows the feeling of fear that runs through our body at the same time.

Physical therapy would take care of the painful condition of the arm or neck, however, the psychological shock will settle within the body, taking shape of tensed muscles of the chest, or jaws, or back.

These stressed muscles will pull on our spine and other joints out of alignment.

These unprocessed emotions will take extra resources from us in order to be maintained. Our body and mind will have become frozen around these emotions.

These emotions stored within our body, do steal resources from our body's various systems for as long as these emotions remain trapped within our muscles.

Our body/mind system uses these "crystallized" emotions as a bookmark, hopeful that at some point in time we will read the message and learn the lesson which we were not able learn at the time of the actual event.

Now, as you are reading these lines, I offer you to do a simple awareness exercise together.
  • Take a deep breath in...
  • And let's check... our neck - is it straight? Is it leaning to the side? Tensed? Let's even it out and relax as much as we can.
  • How about shoulders? Are they uneven? Do we pull them forward? Let's make couple of shoulder rolls back and forth. Does it feel better? You bet!
  • Another deep breath in.
  • Our back... Is it straight? Hah! Cat stretch would do, right?
  • Let's do it! Yes, right now :)
  • Hold your arms in front of your chest and pull them forward, bend your back all the way back.
  • S-t-r-e-e-e-e-t-c-h!
  • Now, pull your arms behind your back, holding them together, pull your chest forward. A-a-a-h-h! Good...
  • Another deep breath.
  • Put both your feet down, rooting them firmly in the floor.
  • Now take a deep-deep breath in, close your eyes.
  • Listen to your body. What do you feel?
  • Is somewhere there a slight pulling in your body?
  • Take another deep breath in. Relax.
  • Relax your jaws. Let them drop slightly. Relax often tensed muscles of your forehead.
  • Listen. Listen. Listen.
  • Feel if there is somewhere else in your body a place where you can detect a strong or maybe hardly noticeable pulling or grasping sensation.
  • Scan your entire body and notice how far this sensation spreads.
  • What parts of the body compensate for it?
  • Deeply breathe into these tensed muscles.
  • They will pay you back by opening up, letting you into deep unconscious mind that stores the memory of unprocessed emotions, unrealized believes and self expressions which slow us down and sometimes even stop us for awhile on our road of life.

Just this simple exercise of awareness will make a difference in the way you feel.

Do it as often as you can. Make it a habit.

It will grow your body awareness and your understanding of self.

The experience of receiving the mindful bodywork of Shiatsu and Acupressure will help you to unwind muscles and to process emotions.

Here are just some of the examples drawn from Zen Shiatsu Theory on how posture reflects our feelings, emotions, beliefs or visa versa - how feelings, emotions, beliefs may affect our posture:
Side bent neck Skeptic. Needs proofs.
Forward pulled Neck Curious. Running ahead of self.
Collapsed Neck Isolated. Living in the past.
Military neck Rigid beliefs.
Left shoulder drops Weak relations with male authority figure in your life.
Right shoulder drops Weak relations with female authority figure in your life. (Resistance. Fear.)
Pulled forward chest Outgoingness in order to cover up inner lack of confidence.
Dropped chest Lack of self-confidence. Low self-esteem.
Thighs pulled together Stress experienced in childhood or during teenage years.
Tensed, sensitive calves Impatient nature.

Of course there is always a place for exceptions, but you will be amazed to find out how often these indications are correct.

Go back to Emotions in Traditional Chinese Medical Theory.
Simple Body Awareness Exercise.

Shiatsu Therapy Plus+ providing services in Bucks County, PA 484.213.2938