Dynamic vs. Static Posture
Posture can either be dynamic or static. Dynamic posture is used for movement and activity like walking, while static posture is used for resting or holding a position like standing with a minimum amount of effort.
Dynamic posture is a position of readiness and preparedness. Dynamic posture is a functional position to efficiently move the whole body, while in contrast, a static posture has inertia and so it takes increased effort to make the realignment necessary to change the entire position of the body. Both types of poses have beneficial effects depending on the circumstances. There are good postural positions for sleeping, while there are good positions for dynamic actions like springing or jumping, yet the optimal postural alignments are very different for the two activities.
Dynamic Neutral vs. Static Neutral
Both dynamic and static postures have an anatomical neutral position. Static neutral alignment for standing is the position in which the body can hold itself up in that posture with the least amount of energy. Standard model of alignment uses only static neutral positioning to define 'good alignment' for the head, spine and pelvis. Dynamic neutral alignment for standing is the position in which the body can move in any direction from that posture with the least amount of force. Bowspring is a dynamic neutral model of alignment for functional movement and optimal posture during waking hours.
In the Bowspring, the pelvis is in a 'dynamic neutral' position compared to a 'static neutral' position which is commonly accepted by the medical and fitness community. In dynamic neutral, the pelvic floor is tipped back and up so the bottom of the pelvis is level with the Earth. Static neutral position of the hips standing is when the front of the pelvis is directly vertical over the pubic bone. (ASIS in the vertical line with the pubis).
In dynamic neutral, the hips are behind the vertical line of the ribcage and head, compared to the static neutral position of the head, ribcage, and pelvis stacked on the same vertical line.
Neutral Pelvis - Static
Neutral Pelvis - Dynamic
Standard model alignment measures neutral pelvis from the vertical alignment of the front of the pelvis.
Bowspring measures dynamic neutral pelvis from the horizontal alignment of the bottom of the pelvis.
Our most common static postures—sitting, standing, lying down—can be sustained comfortably for an extended period of time without our conscious effort. When we stand in a comfortable, relaxed manner, then our body is holding itself upright without falling over as an autonomic function. We don’t have to make conscious effort to balance as we stand at rest with our bones stacked vertically against gravity. When the body is at ‘rest’, the bones are being held up by a resting level of tension in the myofascia that is unconsciously programmed into the nervous system. Our default resting posture, whether we are sitting, standing, or lying down, is the baseline position that takes the least amount of energy to keep the body still.
When a person has static posture, it means that the knees are locked, the tail is down, and the belly short. If this person was asked to jump or to run, they would first have to bend the knees and become present to their surroundings before they could move. Static posture is similar to the way a bicycle is positioned when its kick stand is down.
In static postures, the posterior chain of myofascia is relaxed and disengaged so the back will tend to round toward the C-curve. When the pelvis tips backward, tailbone goes downward, and the chin and head tip forward and downward, the back of the body relaxes, the entire nervous system feels more comfortable and relaxed in the static posture. The more the back of the body is disengaged, then the posture is optimized for rest, relaxation, and introspection. This explains how static yoga poses can be beneficially quieting and comfortable to a level of the mind. The optimal posture for sleeping is the position where the connective tissue throughout the body, particularly the back of the body, can relax to its lowest level of tension.
All postures and exercises that shorten the front of the body—narrow the pelvic floor, shorten the belly, tuck the chin, and round the back—will signal the nervous system to draw inward and to calm. When we are feeling afraid, sad or tired, we will default toward a C-curve posture since we subconsciously feel more protected and calm when the pelvis is tipped backward and the front body is shortened. Commonly, we default to a posture that rounds the back and shortens the front since it is comforting to the nervous system, especially under the normal stresses of our daily life.
Default Alignment for Static Postures
heels down and heavy
disengaged arches of feet
legs straight, top of shins back and knees locked back
back is flat or rounded, not curvy
upper back / ribcage / shoulders sloped down
weight shifts back away from the legs toward the back of the sitting bones
sacrum is vertical over the tailbone
lower back has weak lordosis - deepest lumbar curve around L1.
side body shortens
legs roll outward
groins pop forward, pubis rises as high as navel
lower back sinks down to the floor
arms roll inward, palms back
neck flattens, throat shortens
head down and forward
In contrast to static posture, dynamic posture is when parts of the back of the body are engaged to ready the body for movement. In order to move from a static posture to another posture, there must be a shift in position so that muscles can be engaged to move the body. In a dynamic posture, there is already a level of readiness to move quickly with lightness and grace without having to change positions. It means that the knees are bent, the senses are enlivened, and the mind is present.
The primary function of the connective tissue of the back of the body is for dynamic action. In order for the myofascia on the back of the body to have power for dynamic movement like running or jumping, the spine must have a relative kyphotic curve in the upper back, and lordotic curves in the lower back and neck. Without an anterior tip in the pelvis, gluteus maximus cannot mound upward from insertion to origin. Therefore, without an anterior pelvic tip and lordotic curves in the spine, the posterior chain of the body cannot effectively engage and the posture cannot be dynamic.