Natural Posture for Pain-Free Living

Spirituality & Health Magazine
reviewed by Joshunda Sanders

The Practice of Mindful Alignment

By Kathleen Porter
Healing Arts Press

This updated second edition is an instructive, comprehensive look at how we move unconsciously in ways that cause our bodies pain and injury. Kathleen Porter, who directs the Center for Natural Alignment in Portland, Oregon, explains through photographs and exercises the ways a supple spine can help remedy much of what ails our stiff bones. The book dispels common misunderstandings about proper posture, like the assumption that our chests should stick out or that our core is strong only if we can see six-pack abs. The main goal of her book is to reteach us how to sit, walk, stretch, and stand.

A recurring metaphor in the book likens our body to that of a dog: The tense dog is what we all learned to do in school—chest out, chin up, back rigid. Sad dog sags, but happy dog leans forward a little, pelvis and back properly lined up without stiffness. The book relies heavily on photos of people from other countries carrying heavy items on their heads or crouching in squats that we rarely see in the United States. We can see what they know (and what we have lost) when we watch babies—to be mindfully aligned, we should be barefoot more, gripping the ground with our toes, for instance. In addition to research results and prompts to test our alignment, a valuable list of resources can be found at the back of the book, though it omits any in the Midwest or South. 

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