Ideal posture is the alignment of our bodies which minimizes stress and strain on our joints and maximizes our muscular advantage. Form refers to such alignment during movement, such as during sport or dance.

It is especially important to practice proper posture and form when recovering from an injury because it helps to reduce adverse strain at the injury site, without stressing other areas and allows your muscles to move and support you in the best way possible. Practising good form helps to prevent muscular imbalances and compensation strategies that are associated with injury.

Ideal posture and form also help your blood and lymphatic circulation, as well as support a healthy digestive system. These are important for the distribution of nutrients, removal of waste products and balancing your immunity.

The health of your nervous system is related to the health of your spine. Good posture promotes healthy nerves and reduces nerve irritation that can lead to chronic pain problems and muscle imbalances.

The quality of your posture affects the quality of your breathing. Healthy breathing requires space and flexibility in the spine and ribcage. Poor habitual posture limits the responsiveness of the breath to our ever-changing metabolic needs and can cause symptoms such as sluggishness and headaches.

Think of 'good posture', you may remember to stand, or sit up straight, pull your shoulders back and lift your chest. Picture the 'imaginary plumb line' or line your back up against a wall to find 'neutral. It is important to recognize that ideal posture and form can be expressed in many different ways because bodies move and perform many different tasks, in as many positions. Yoga asanas can be a great way to learn how to find ideal alignment in a variety of combinations of movements and orientations to gravity.

Here is a twist - try balancing the '4 corners' of your feet when standing or sitting. The 4 corners are: the ball of the big toe, ball of the little toe and the inside and outside of your heel.

Activating your feet in this way strengthens your foot intrinsic muscles and supports your medial arches with your ‘stirrup’ muscles (tibialis posterior and fibularis longus). This is the first step in learning to activate your inner core system or ‘Deep Front Myofascial Line’ (1) . Notice the shift (and lift) of your inner arch, the change in pressure on your inner knee versus outer knee, the subtle activation of your quadriceps, hip adductors, pelvic floor and abdominals.

In fact, when you build your posture from the ground up, you may even be able to notice a shift in the lift of your hyoid bone in your neck!

Don't worry if you haven't developed the sensitivity to notice the really subtle changes that come from balancing your feet. Try looking into a mirror, or placing your hands on your lower belly or thighs to feel the difference. Your Physiotherapist can also help you with cueing or bio-feedback techniques to improve your proprioceptive awareness.

Posture and form affect your mindset as well. Strong posture reflects confidence, clarity and positivity.

Practising posture in this way will help strengthen your feet, and ease knee, hip and low back pain. It will also boost your attitudes you need to achieve your goals.

The moral of the story is - remember to use your feet when you work on your posture and form. They are your foundation!

(1) Anatomy trains by Tom Myers

Author's Bio: 

Gillian Tews is a Physiotherapist with advanced training in manual therapy. She is a Fellow of the canadian Academy of Mainpulative Physical Therapists, a certified Gunn-Intramuscular Stimulation Therapist and a Yoga Therapist.

Gillian is a life-long learner, committed to personal growth and development. she is particularly fascinated by the study of success principles.

Her main objective in health-care is to incorporate success philosophy and yoga techniques into her physiotherapy practice and offer clients a wellness-based, holistic model of care.

As a motivational speaker, she empowers clients to overcome their health challenges by offering education infused with the message of hope, self-efficacy and success.