Posture as Body Prayer

qigong on the back deck by the eucalyptus treeMorning on the deck, by the creek. My straight eucalyptus tree inspires my straight spine and lifts my face to the sky. The air is full of birdsong and activity. The silk oak tree shines its amber blossoms. The sun clears the house roof and touches my cane with a flash of light, a bit of morning energy magic for me.

Lest you think these moonday school goddess posts for June are just an academic exercise, let me reiterate that these images arise during my meditation and standing qigong exercises, my healing energy work. The posting of them here is my prayer. I have, you might say, a longstanding history of chronic pain, and have traveled many avenues toward better health and mobility.

Esther Gokhale posture illustrationOne of my forays led me to the work of Esther Gokhale, whose book Eight Steps to a Pain-Free Back was a revelation about the importance of posture to a healthy frame. More of her philosophy can be found on her website, and here is a video on YouTube of her presentation to Google employees last year). Her theory of the natural posture of children, and the straight posture of our ancestors and indigenous peoples, was very beneficial for me. And she noticed this straight back posture in ancient statues as well. Once I began standing up straight, I noticed how many people don’t. I see many women especially who stand in a posture of “hiding” their breasts, but you will not see that in these ancient statues. And it has had a nice effect on my sense of confidence. I even begin feeling a bit regal. So when I look at these ancient images, I am, among other things, looking at their posture, and enacting it as body prayer.

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  • Greenconsciousness 07/03/2009, 11:45 am

    I have a hunched back – early on I realized I walked hiding my breasts – the result of sexist comments on the street when I was young. Thanks for this site and this post.

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