It's called the bowling ball method and it goes something like this:
- Stand with your feet under your hip sockets
- Imagine you have two really heavy bowling balls (or barbells or shopping bags) just outside your feet by your sides
- Pick them up with good posture; keep a flat back and lift with your legs
- No, they're *really heavy*, try again
- Stop almost all the way up
- What do you notice about your posture
I like this method for a few reasons:
- It goes fairly quickly because there isn't much repetition or big physical movements.
- Students tend to stay in the frozen posture longer, which makes it easier for them to introspect and observe their own bodies.
- The posture it produces is closer to the posture I want my students to have than other posture exercises I've seen.
It does have a few drawbacks, though:
- Some students don't know how to lift with good posture, so you need to emphasize and demonstrate good posture. Even then students may struggle.
- Thinking about heavy things causes anticipatory muscle activation, increasing tone when we'd like our beginner students to relax as much as possible.
Regardless of the method, the four elements of blues posture that we want to call out in a beginner class are:
- Weight forward
- Knees bent
- Hips back
- Chest up
All this is not to say that this is the one true definitive best way, just a method I happen to prefer. As with any new exercise, please experiment, try new variations, and see how it works for you and your students. And let us know how it goes in the comments!
by Paul Mandel