Health - Standing, Walking, And Sitting
( Originally Published 1924 )
There is a distinct art in the manner of wearing one's clothes. No matter how complete and well-suited to the individual is her wardrobe, she must have poise and harmony in her manner or the good appearance is lost.
Standing, sitting, and walking are the three graces to which every woman should give attention.
When you are standing, if you say to yourself, "I am about to greet one whom I respect and ad-mire," you will find that you are unconsciously making yourself erect and tall. You assume a victorious attitude. You feel yourself "sun-crowned, above the fog." Try picturing yourself as sun crowned for a few weeks, and you will find that you are really radiating from yourself a series of emotional improvements. You will be using that wonderful muscle, the diaphragm, and breathing deeply, thereby vitalizing your whole being with the tonic of God-given air. You will note with wonder that the lines of your clothes have become more beautiful. You will feel like a conquering hero, because you are thinking self-control and thereby expressing power.
Always stand on the front or ball of the foot and keep the knees straight. Carry yourself so that a string extended downward from your chest would reach the floor without touching any other part of the body.
Make yourself feel tall! Imagine that you are a pine tree on a hill top !
Rules for correct posture in walking are as generally known as they are neglected. We all admire the erect posture and swinging gait of the moccasined Indian. And also contrast the foreign woman with her fashionably-attired American sister. The foreigner carries a large bundle on her head, and on her feet are shoes that are big enough to give freedom to every bend of the instep. She swings from the hips as she walks, and she makes a truly graceful stride. Observe the American woman ! Because she is inclined to be somewhat stout, she has drawn herself down in front until the strain on her clothing is intense. She has on high-heeled shoes, and is hobbling along rather painfully. Had the American woman but known how to imitate her humbler sister's free movement and carriage, how much more beautiful she might have become, and how much happier would be her spirit.
Is your walk in keeping with your personality? If it isn't, that is the reason why your clothes do not look as if they belonged to you. That is the reason why you can not respond to the energy and joy of life. Grace is skill in movement, and that skill is only attained by daily attention to your walking stride.
Many will recall some of the good, even tho old-fashioned, ways in which we were taught grace in walking—walking with one's toes on a line and never allowing the weight to rest completely on one foot, carrying a book on one's head and walking around a circle in hip-swinging exercises—hands on hips, swing the leg in as large a circle as possible, with toe pointed downwards.
Have you ever seen an athletic-looking girl striding along with all the swing of her youth confined by a tight skirt? She and her clothes obviously were not in the same mood, and there was a lack of harmony. The girl who dresses suitably for the various activities of her life will find that her poise is greatly improved.
It is a good idea to practise standing and sitting before a mirror until you have learned the postures that are graceful and beautiful. The mirror should be large enough to reveal the whole figure. When you have learned a correct posture, endeavor to hold it for a long while. You will thus learn to avoid fidgeting, which is sorely trying to your nerves and those of your beholder.
Exercises for the control of movement should be practised. Put a waltz record on the phonograph.—Kneel; one, two, three; one, two, three; sit back on your heels, toes flat against the floor; one, two, three; one, two, three. Repeat.
While standing, cross one foot behind the other, one, two, three; one, two, three ; one, two, three, and sit down, having legs crossed in front; fold hands shoulder high and turn body to right ; to front; to left; to front without touching hands to floor ; get up. Repeat three times.
Extend arm to side, shoulder high; point second finger toward object the height of arm. Retaining the finger's position and that of the shoulder, as nearly as possible, move arm up and down with an undulating movement.
When you sit down, turn with one knee slightly toward the chair upon which you are to sit, letting that knee take the weight of the body as you are seated. When seated, keep one foot slightly in advance of the other, and note that you have a long, graceful line from the crown of your head to the point of the toe. In rising, let the foot which is farthest back take the weight. You will find that this permits you to rise without bending so far forward that you appear ungraceful.
Grace is shown by the repose that in a twinkling can be aroused to activity. Sit with both feet on floor, hands relaxed in lap. Direct your gaze to the corner of the room. Look up and down the vertical line where the walls meet, keeping every part of your body immovable except your eyes. See how long you can hold it,