Want to improve your posture quickly, for free, with almost zero effort?
I recently did it. So can you.
I don’t deserve any credit for this accomplishment. I didn’t invent the technique, nor, as I mentioned, did implementing it ask much of me. I can, however, vouch for its effectiveness.
I was introduced to this magic bullet by an acupuncturist, and I have an acupuncture theory on why it’s so beneficial (see below), but getting acupuncture is not required.
This solution to better posture is something you can do completely on your own, anywhere, anytime, without ever opening your wallet. You don’t even have to get up from the couch.
The DIY Solution to Better Posture
Turn up your palms. That’s it.
As in the picture above, whenever you’re doing something that does not require use of your hands, turn them so that they’re palm-side up. You also can do it while standing or walking.
This palms-up position may be familiar to committed meditators and yogis who practice shavasana, but it’s foreign to those of us who spend a lot of time at a computer, behind the wheel of a car, holding babies, making lattes, or doing pretty much anything else that requires constant hand use. Even when we’re not using our hands, it’s just habit to sit, walk or stand with our hands facing down or behind us.
Because we’re so unaccustomed to the palms-up position, when we assume it, the effects are felt immediately. There’s a sense of momentum carrying the upper body backward opposed to the hunched forward motion we so naturally fall into. It feels as if someone is gently pulling back on your shoulders.
Try it. If you’re using your hands, stop and rest them against your thighs. Now turn both palms so that they’re facing up toward the ceiling.
It sounds simple, but I’m telling you, it works—and fast.
First-Hand Success Story: Better Posture in Under Two Weeks
I learned this shortcut to better posture less than two weeks ago, while attending a seminar with Japanese acupuncturist Kiiko Matsumoto. Kiiko is known for her eccentric, entertaining teaching style. During lectures, she’ll often diverge from a subject to impart what seems like an irrelevant anecdote. She’s usually halfway through her next thought before you realize the remarkably useful nature of what she just said.
At the recent seminar, Kiiko mentioned this palms-up technique quickly and in passing to illustrate a larger point about the rhomboids, the muscles that connect the scapula with the spine. She started using the technique herself after a friend pointed out that Kiiko was developing poor posture.
I have been trying it out for the past 10 days. Anytime I don’t need my hands, I turn them palm-side up. If I can get away with using one hand—when reading a book, for example, or walking my dog—I’ll turn the other palm up, alternating hands when the one in use gets tired.