Monday, December 14, 2009

Posture Lesson From Miss Chicken Goode

I'm not sure where she picked up the name, but she's been one of our regular models for about the last 15 years or so. She's made of plastic and lives in our basement, and because I'm working on a painting of her at the moment, she was in my mind today when I was warming up on the treadmill at the gym. I realized that her great posture is the result of the hook attached to the top of her head. While I was walking, I started imagining being suspended the way she is with her bones all loose and dangly like a set of windchimes and immediately I felt my posture improve. My shoulders became more relaxed (I hadn't realized they were tight!) and I just moved with more ease. I found that it worked best if the hook I was imagining was located a little towards the back of the crown of my head rather than the front (notice where the hook is located in the photo above), with my chin in a neutral position--not lifted or pushed down too far. This had the effect of elongating and relaxing the back of my neck. So give it a try and see if it doesn't make you feel lighter on your feet with less back and neck strain at the end of the day!


  1. That is interesting, because that's pretty exactly how I remember being taught classical horsemanship posture (obviously some differences with the hip and knee, but still.) I have no idea if you've done much riding!-- but, if you have, you know that it's a serious requirement to combine balanced, sustainable posture with relaxed muscles, because a horse can feel when you're tense-- plus it's very unhealthy and exhausting for both horse and rider since tense joints do not absorb the shock of impact as the horse's feet hit the ground. However a rider still needs that nice straight posture to be in balance, so to achieve that, I've heard it described in all kinds of ways, including being suspended from an imaginary wire!

    In fact, this is a nice improvement from an older technique (which I also experienced being taught as a student) in that a trainer would tell their student to relax individual parts of their body as the student rode; however this did not promote the overall subconscious feeling that really needs to be achieved to move in harmony with a horse and was actually a little distracting, whereas thinking about a description that simultaneously relaxes the entire body on a subconscious level is much more effective and really does give you that "lighter" feeling you mentioned, and at the same time makes it much easier for the horse to do whatever you're asking her to do.

    Thus concludes the randomly informative part of the evening.

    I was just trying to confirm that this is definitely good posture advice, probably for any situation you can think of. :)

    Probably works for riding dragons too.

  2. Very well put! I love your description of the communication with the subconscious.
    And, yes, it's perfect for dragon riding. Surfing those updrafts can be tricky, but that's the fun part.

  3. Hi Julie,
    I tried to post a month ago from my home computer and didn't figure it out. So here goes ago...
    I just wanted to say thank you - I love both of your work ever since I was a child. I have recently started working with my husband on getting healthier since June when he had his heart attack and want to say thank you for your blog. I enjoy reading it and getting ideas. Was wondering if you could give us new people an idea of what you eat a day and how much you work out. I started eating your breakfast - like it very much. my husband likes his with just the cereal and fruit. thank you for your time and look forward to reading more on your blog. thanks again.

  4. Thanks for the note, Sharon! I've been completely sidetracked by that lovable combination--deadlines and holidays. Your suggestion is great and I've been thinking along the same lines, so I'm hoping to have a new post in the next week (coincidentally at the same time all 13 of our 2011 Fantasy Calendar paintings will be finished and turned in!).
    So, yes, there is still plenty to say about working out and eating right. Stay tuned!

  5. To the comment posted on January 18, 谢谢鼓励!
    Happy New Year everybody!