Your boobs are made for walking...
The curse of the boobs
A lot of women have terrible posture because of one thing... well, two things. Which we subconsiously hide.
Being onstage and under a spotlight puts you under pressure. Do you meet that pressure head on or do you cower?
I give pointers when I'm taking workshops for public speaking about the best way to stand. It is important to look comfortable onstage, if you don't the audience will question your authority. So standing up straight is important.
But as a society we have told women, that having boobs is unprofessional. Cover any cleavage up! You must dress smart but not sexy. Of course this instruction also means we subconsciously try to hide our assets and that gives us appalling posture..
My posture onstage and off isn’t great. I’m a lanky lady, more gym hare than bunny. So in a flawed effort to fit in I get myself as low as possible. This ends up leaving me with the posture of a Questionmark.
If you are picking a puppy do you pick the puppy which comes up to you, head up, ears pricked, tongue lolling out and tail wagging or cowering in a corner with it’s head down? You pick the confident happy pup. You wonder what is wrong with the other one.
I rarely see women hold themselves properly. Chest up, open posture. Even some of the best public speakers stoop, roll their shoulders forward and cover their chest with their hands. A walking apology . Head forward, crouching hands up in surrender... if they had a tail it would be between their legs.
HAVE YOU EVER STOOD UP STRAIGHT?
Try it, it is weird. Stand up, eyes front... we will start at your feet. Jump a little jump. Land. DO NOT MOVE YOUR FEET. See where they are? That is where you are most stable. Yeah, your feet aren’t together, they aren’t crossed. You are balanced. Try and stand on the outside of your feet... did that make your knees move apart ever so slightly? Good. Ok, now your hips. Most people suffer from anterior pelvic tilt. This is where your hip flexors are tight and weak from sitting at a desk. Your arse sticks out when you try and stand straight. Puts unwanted stress on your lumber spine... but also makes it harder to straighten up. So. Ladies. You have a clitoris correct? Point it at the wall/mirror/fridge/confused colleague in front of you. Notice how your hips bucked forward a bit? Yeah. That is where they are supposed to be. (Gentlemen can do this with their dangly bits too, though I have no experience in whether this works as well). Your arse now feels a bit tucked in. Good. Squeeze it. Not with your hand. Imagine you are holding a 50p between the cheeks, be solid. Cool. Take a deep breath, that is from the belly not sucking in air from the top of your chest. As you do this point your chest nearly at the ceiling, arms back. Exaggerate it a little. Now with your rib cage still pointing up, tense your tummy and your solar plexus as if you are about to take a punch. We are not done with your arms but let us go to that head of yours... I want your chin ever so slightly up, imagine someone is pulling you from a string attached to the top of your head... now, I want you to push your shoulders down and back. Try and get your shoulder blades as far back as possible, as if you are rowing. This will make your boobs stick out more. Hurrah! Now let you hands rest gently by your side BUT point your palms forwards. It is a really weird position but it keeps your shoulder’s back. Look into the distance. Don’t look down. You are now stood up straight. Enjoy.
I find when I walk onstage and stand correctly, and am conscious of my body I tend to have better gigs than when I’m not... possibly because the gig is going well enough anyway that I allow myself to make the smaller tweaks.
Other ways to improve posture
Jiu jitsu has helped my posture. An important part of grading is presenting and demonstrating break falling and techniques... The Nagana Kata is pretty much a dance, and requires both tori and uki to be very formal, precise and balanced with perfect postures. But you don’t need to do martial arts to get a good posture. Yoga will strengthen your core and stretch out those hip flexors. Lifting will give you a stronger back. Squats will get you to use your arse and help engage it when you walk.
A stunning revelation: exercise is good for you.
But every stage or boardroom should be treated like a mat in a dojo. Walk on it as if you own it. Stride! Do not shuffle. Boobs lead the way!