Postural Restoration is breathing and walking.
Our ability to breathe and walk are the most fundamental of all human movements. Everything else we do– running, jumping, throwing, kicking, lifting weights– are all secondary and based off of those two primal movements.
Without the ability to breathe and walk with proper mechanics the body eventually breaks down.
Interestingly, the reason the body breaks down is actually built into the design of the body itself.
The left and right sides of your body are not even remotely the same.
We are completely asymmetrical.
And it starts with breathing.
Our Real Core: The Diaphragms
As you can see, the right and left diaphragms (yes you have two) are not even remotely the same size.
- The right diaphragm is bigger, stronger, and is positioned optimally to act as our primary breathing muscle.
- The left diaphragm is smaller, weaker, and better positioned to act as a postural stabilizer rather than a primary breathing muscle.
While this may seem like a relatively inconsequential quirk of human anatomy, it’s actually a big deal.
A really big deal.
23,000 times a day, your right diaphragm exerts a stronger rotational force upon your spine than your left diaphragm!
Over time, this stronger rotational pull from the right diaphragm shifts our center of mass to the right. As a result our pelvis and ribcage, the area of your body that drives all human movement, get stuck in an asymmetrical resting position.
This asymmetrical position, shown below, results in very predictable pains due to the fact that our two sides end up with a general pattern.
- our right side tends to be tight, compressed, and restricted.
- our left side tends to be loose, uncompressed, and lax.
In the image above, my pelvis is oriented to the right, and my ribcage, neck and head all have to counter-rotate back to the left in order to stay straight and keep a horizontal line of sight.
This is all due to the stronger right side of our body due to the larger and stronger right diaphragm. There is no disputing this physiological fact. It’s there and it’s not changing.
This very asymmetrical, yet completely predictable position of your pelvis and ribcage is described by the Postural Restoration Institute as the
The goal of Postural Restoration is to break this patterned right sided dominance and balance movement between the left and right sides of our body through specially designed PRI exercises.
It’s vital to keep in mind that our most important movement, the first thing we do when we are born and the last thing we will do when we die, is breathe.
All other human movement, including walking, is based around this core of the human experience. In fact the diaphragm muscles themselves blend seamlessly with muscles whose main job is to drive us forward as we walk.
The breath comes first, walking comes second, and everything else is an extension of those two primal movements.
Any treatment that does not re-train your breathing and seek to balance equality of movement between the left and right side of your body is doomed to failure.