How to have good posture

(and what to avoid at all costs!)

By Sarah Warman - Alexander Technique Wellbeing sessions


SH Health hunched deskHow do you feel about your posture? Perhaps it’s something that you feel self-conscious about and would like to improve, but you find “good posture” hard work and tiring to maintain, as it feels uncomfortable. If so, this article is especially for you!

I grew up being told to “sit up straight”, or “imagine there is a string pulling your head up”, or to “stop slouching”. So, I would often go from slouching to pulling myself up in a bid to try to “correct” my posture. It would never last long, as I always felt awkward and uncomfortable, unnatural, and stuck. After five minutes I would collapse again into a heap, and the cycle would begin again. Sound familiar?

Commonly, in fact, I’d say pretty much 99.99% of the time, when I tell anyone that I teach the Alexander Technique, which is famous for helping with posture, people immediately attempt to “sit up straight”, thinking they are demonstrating “good posture”. Why am I using so many quotations, you might be wondering…!?


Well, I will tell you why: our idea of “good posture” is a kind of false economy.SH Health stiff at desk
We’re told to sit up straight or to put our shoulders back - the emperor’s new clothes of posture - but in fact those posture goals can have a negative impact.

We put all the emphasis on the look of good posture. The route there, how it makes us feel, how sustainable it is to uphold, and the impact that has, tends to be ignored completely. If we shift our awareness to the route, which are the thoughts and feelings in our mind and body, the look will sort itself out. Are you still with me?

So, here is what I want you to do: stop trying to “sit up straight”. Stop trying to demonstrate “good posture”, which is made up of your unconscious holding and collapsing patterns of tension. These are built up over a lifetime of stress, insecurities, internalised instructions, trying, effort and work etc.

Instead, the key to truly “good posture”, that looks and feels good, that is dynamic, responsive, and sustainable, is to build awareness of your habits, your patterns of holding tension, all the instructions you’ve absorbed or created for yourself to survive, and how they play out in your body, movement, and behaviour.


These practices are taught by Alexander Technique teachers worldwide. It is simple work, but the key most important difference is this: rather than learning what to do, we are UNDOING.

Rather than doing the effortful sitting up straight, you can begin to catch yourself trying. That’s where you build awareness of how you are holding tension and start to undo all those layers.

You will discover how you are pulling yourself up, holding yourself in. Similarly, you can begin to discover you are pulling yourself down into slumping. This is hard work to do totally alone, which is why guidance can be super helpful in speeding up our awareness.

Once we have awareness, we can slowly start undoing that. Like magic, an alternative way of moving becomes possible, and you can begin to arrive at an enlivened neutral. And so you learn to get out of your own way and let naturally good posture manifest itself, which takes much less effort and feels good!

SH Health straight spineIn this way you come back to moving like a young child – free, light, and unburdened by the entrenched layers of tension - yet with the added bonus the child doesn’t have - all the wisdom and insight of being a grown up! Through life’s painful processes you can truly emerge, and the natural outcome is poise - improved dynamic healthy posture and movement. And you look and feel better too ????

So, in summary, to have the “good posture” you want, let go of getting what looks like good posture, and with a little awareness work, you can regain naturally good posture. Plus, you can gather a lot of healing insight, a greater connection to your body, whilst also improving your mental and physical health.

SH Health VitalityAlexander Technique 1:1 sessions involve some physical movement and act as a therapy for your mind, body, and soul, so we can look at many different aspects of your current position. What is affecting you right now is always a good place to start.
It is my life’s mission to help people learn to stand, move, play, and sit comfortably, tall and confidently, with ease and joy as they express and share themselves freely with the world.

Sarah Warman


Expert Alexander Technique & Posture Services Near Me

Stoke Newington

Newington Green




North London