Posture 101

Growing taller, feeling lighter These two exercises will help you learn to use your muscles in a new way and take pressure off your lower spine, lift your body, improve your posture and free your hips for a more fluid stride. My clients often report feeling more breathing space, (i.e. less emotionally pressured) when they practice these exercises. Try them and see for yourself!
by Suki Munsell, Ph.D., Dynamic Health and Fitness Institute

Goal: Relieve compression in your torso by elongating your body

Symptoms of compression:

  • Collapsed chest
  • Shallow breathing
  • Bulging belly
  • Swayback
  • Pain in low back, hip, buttock, knee or heel
  • Feeling like life’s an uphill battle


  • Side Stroke
  • Short Shirt Pull


  • Feeling lighter
  • Feeling taller
  • Breathing deeper
  • Feeling happier
  • Feeling more comfort, less pain
  • Being lighter on your feet
  • Enjoying more muscle tone

The side stroke

Place your right hand at your left side and feel the space between your ribcage and your hip. Inhale as you stretch your left arm up, lifting your upper body. Feel the space under your hand increase. Now, as you exhale, lower your left shoulder and arm, but maintain that open space under your hand. You’re training your muscles to keep your ribcage lifted, giving you more room to breathe and reducing pressure on your lower back. Repeat three times on each side.

The short shirt pull

Cross your arms at the wrists as though you were about to pull your shirt off over your head. Lift your face into a smile as you inhale fully, stretching your arms overhead. Lengthen your torso as your reach towards the sky. Exhale and return your arms to your sides while continuing to grow taller through your spine. Imagine that you’re lifting your head into a sparkling crown. Drop your shoulders like a shirt resting on a hanger. Repeat two more times.

Picture yourself pulling off your old body leaving a lighter, brighter you. Begin walking, breathing fully. Repeat the Short Shirt Pull as you walk, counting to four as you lift, counting to four as you stretch upward and counting to four as you drop your arms and shoulders. Repeat frequently during your walk. You’re retraining core postural muscles to keep you walking taller and lighter.

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