Strive for good posture

Good posture helps your bones, muscles, circulation and appearance. My Grandmother, a model and Miss Ireland in the 1933 World's Fair, insisted I stand against her wall to practice good posture. She was confident, smart and had the most amazing elegant poise her whole long life.

Shoulders back

Shoulders back

I walked with books balanced on my head long before my awkward tween years. When I turned 12, I took Irish step dancing with my younger brother and sister. I never got a beautiful curly wig or elaborate costume, but I practiced more standing up straight, arms at my sides and legs flailing.

Fast forward, my own dining hall strut evolved in college.  At least that's what my beloved girlfriends coined it. I walked with my shoulders back, beer belly tucked in and chin up while I scanned the tables.

Like the best of 'em, life knocked me down more than once. Everyone has their own struggles and challenges in their own head, family, career and community. I learned to channel my own angst with good posture through pilates, yoga and weight lifting classes at my gym in my twenties.

Just like my Grandma and Trinity Irish Dance instructors, those exercise classes urge you to tuck your tail bone in and stand up like there's a tight rope suspending you from the ceiling. I literally saw yoga instructors on the lake during lunch gesturing for their yogis to have good posture. Speech training, which also reinforces poise, is the same drill. And, last week at power yoga the instructor reminded us "Good posture is elegant poise."

When I gained 60 pounds during each of my pregnancies (200+ pounds), it was a lot harder to stand up straight. When you're exhausted with newborn babies, it's even harder to stand up straight. During those days with sick babies up at night, some mentors at work would still surprisingly praise my good posture.

Good posture can be more of a challenge with extra pounds and legitimate worries, but take a deep breath, throw your shoulders back and keep your head up as you face the world! When in doubt, fake it 'til you make it. No one will know the difference!

From the archive: Nine secrets to dress for the heat with casual elegance; How to accept postpartum body image; Speech angst — just like the Veep

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