Postural Patterns: Where Do They Come From?

Postural Patterns: Where Do They Come From?

Where are your postural patterns?

What do you notice about the postural patterns or patterns of structure in your body? Do you have one side that feels like the “dominant side”? We almost all do. Are you “right-handed” or “left-handed”? Do you prefer to kick a soccer ball with your right foot or your left foot? What about when you sit down in a chair; do you prefer to cross your right leg over the left or vice versa? Do the muscles in one leg or arm feel tighter or weaker than the other one? All of these are examples of the patterns that we’ve acquired in our body.

We acquire these patterns through what my yoga teacher, David Keil, likes to call “converging histories”. The patterns that we have in our body are a compilation of our genetics and all of our life experiences including: our sports & leisure activities, our previous injuries & accidents, our work activities, the way we’ve engaged emotionally with the world, and the simple little repetitive movements we do every day from driving a car to cooking dinner.

Form Follows Function

Our bodies are “form follows function”. If we repeat a movement a lot (function), we can change our structure (form). If, for example, you lift heavy weights with your arms, your biceps will likely get stronger.

postural patterns in cycling

Postural patterns are created while cycling.

If we’re out and about living our lives, we’ll acquire postural patterns. There is no way around that. What we might consider is being more conscious of which activities are creating postural patterns that serve us in some way, and which might be causing us discomfort or impeding function. Where are those annoying, nagging, aches and pains coming from? What activities and habitual movements might be contributing? Long days at the computer, for example, can create particular patterns of tension at the chest, head, and neck. Running and cycling can create specific patterns of tension around the hips, legs, and feet.

Benefits of Connective Tissue Massage and Yoga

This summer I’m training for a long-distance bike ride, a century ride. Preparing for that 100-mile bike ride in the mountains means long hours on the bike. I’ve noticed many patterns that my body has acquired from the training. Increasing the strength in my legs is a necessary pattern if I’m going to complete my goal of finishing the Tour de Apple century ride in September. Maintaining the posture that I hold on a road bike for hours each week has caused some discomfort in my shoulders and back, however. I rely on a regular yoga practice and connective tissue massage to moderate those patterns while I’m training.

You might have activities in your life that are causing discomfort that are either unavoidable, like work duties, or are things that you enjoy, but you observe some negative effects on your structure, like many sports. If this is true for you, try including connective tissue massage therapy and/or yoga asana into your week. Both connective tissue massage and yoga asana can help address imbalances in the body that occur from the repetitive motion of repeating any action that is part of our life.

Contact me if you’d like to schedule a consultation appointment about how connective tissue massage therapy or yoga could help you feel better in your body.