How to Improve Your Posture—Instantly

A top movement guru shares secrets to walking down the aisle in stellar style.

Bridal Guide: It all starts with good posture doesn’t it?
Brooke Siler: Good posture packs a multitude of benefits. Immediately the waistline tightens and slims. Bustline and spirits lift! Clothes look better on the well-framed hanger of your shoulders. And the ability to create space for breath can help reduce stress on the big day.

BG: So what does perfect posture look and feel like?
BS: When your body is upright it should be aligned so well that there is no undue tension or strain on any given muscle. And the first step to that state is awareness. Take a look in the mirror: Is one hip higher than the other? One shoulder? Do you roll in or out on your feet? Are your ribs shifted over more to one side than the other? All these little rolls, lifts and shifts are telling the story of how you move. Other bad postural habits include standing with all your weight on one hip, sticking your butt out, collapsing the chest, rolling shoulders forward and positioning your head forward of your chest.

BG: What are some corrective measures to take?
BS: First, find your center. In Pilates-speak we call this your powerhouse. This is the muscle grouping that encompasses your midsection from the bottom of your ribs to the top of your pubic bone. Next, learn to use your powerhouse. In Pilates, we draw the abdominal muscles in and then up, hollowing or "scooping" out the belly. This move stabilizes and supports your spine while also taking weight out of hips, knees and ankles.

Lift your chest high, without arching at mid-back. By drawing the chin in slightly and lengthening the back of the neck you’re better able to feel the crown of the head (it’s actually further back than where most think it is). Imagine a puppet string attached to your crown that lifts the back line of your body, creating weightlessness and tension-free joints. When you think about it from a physiological point of view, posture is nothing more than keeping us upright. The more upright we are, the better our posture!

BG: OK, now we’re standing up. What about walking?
BS: Grace and elegance is easy for the powerhouse possessed. By taking weight out of the lower extremities by engaging that powerhouse, legs can more easily float down the aisle. Always think “up” and walk lightly as you go, lifting your chest and using the touch of your feet to the ground to inform your posture.

BG: Any tips on walking in high heels while carrying a bouquet?
BS: Once the heels are on, a little rebalancing needs to take place. Since your center of gravity will now be shifted forward you’ll need to scoop in and up even harder! The higher the heel, the deeper the scoop and lift need to be. As for your flowers, holding the bouquet too high can not only look stiff, but can also tense up your neck and shoulders.

Carry your flowers at hip level, allowing the weight of your arms to keep your shoulders pulled down away from your ears so your neck will remain pain-free and appear elongated. All eyes will be on you, beautiful bride! 

► Get more tips from Brooke here.

Photo Credit: Carrie Wildes Photography

 

Celebrity Pilates instructor Brooke Siler, owner of re:AB Pilates Studio in New York City, has trained red-carpet beauties like Liv Tyler, Kirsten Dunst and Zooey Deschanel as well as hundreds of brides.