Postural default is the mind-body pattern, which we unconsciously express in common physical positions like standing, sitting, or walking. The vast majority of human movements, biological activity, fascial expressions, and static postures are performed autonomically without conscious control. Fundamentally, humans are animals living in patterns of unconscious programming of the brain and the nervous system.
We innately learn to sit, stand and walk, then run and jump, and then lie down again and again when we are children. Most young people and adults walk, stand, sit, and lie down without having to consciously focus on detailed, controlled myofascial-skeletal movements to perform any of these most basic forms or physical action. Without conscious modification of posture and alignment in our normal physical movements, we will always default to our initial patterns of body-mind posture, which we established early in our life.
We have both resting (static) default and active (dynamic) default postures. When we stop moving, the form and tonus of the body-mind take a default static posture. In a static default posture, our nervous system and myofascial-skeletal system positions the body-mind for comfort, protection, and energy efficiency. We default unconsciously to the position that feels safest to us, which is often our most common ‘known’ position of least resistance. Effectively, whatever resting position we most commonly assume or “know” becomes our default posture. Additionally, our common thoughts, emotional responses, and nervous system reactions become cumulative embedded patterns and habits into the default posture of the body.
The default level of myofascial tension in any resting posture is autonomically programmed like our breathing, and our organ and glandular functioning. Left to its own devices the nervous system will revert to the default pattern and to the most ‘normal’ level of activity. Typically, most people do not consciously focus on their posture or their physical alignment during their day. Once we learn to sit, stand or walk within our first year of life, these most common physical positions become habitual and are unconsciously performed for the rest of our lives. During each day these most common human body movements become more autonomic for us. Like breathing and digesting, the postural form of our walking and standing become autonomic neurological activity and patterning which is programmed deep in the unconsciousness of our body-mind.
Mindful students can learn to reprogram their postural default toward the Bowspring during waking hours. Both static and dynamic default posture can be reformed over time for long-term health of heart, mind, and body.