( Originally Published 1930 )
Figure 2 illustrates the so-called "erect posture" as interpreted by many people, with the toes out as in (b). The entire body is rigid and stiff, exerting an unnecessary and trying pressure upon the spine, neck, hips, legs, and feet. It is unnatural, ugly and graceless. Owing to the intense strain of this posture it is practically impossible to hold the muscles of the abdomen in and up, and, at the same time breathe correctly. It is not natural to hold the spine rigid while holding the abdominal muscles up, nor can it be done continuously the exertion is too great. Try it out for an hour and be convinced. It is impossible to breathe normally or comfortably in this forced attitude, or even to breathe abdominally, with the diaphragm moving in and out as some direct. Try standing in this position, rigidly erect and then attempt to make a sudden move. You will find that you must first relax yourself to a considerable degree before any movement can be made—it is impossible otherwise without straining yourself. The Indian is well aware of this fact and consequently assumes a posture that is always useful to him, one in which he is ready at any time for instantaneous action or any surprise. The Indian wisely excludes all useless movements or postures in his scientific and thoughtfully organized system of athletics.
Since normal posture requires that the weight be placed directly over the arch of the foot, it follows that the wearing of high heels would shove the weight forward upon the ball of the foot. With the body thus off balance, there is an almost unconscious effort to maintain poise by allowing the hips and abdomen to sag forward, thus causing the spine to curve in deeply at the waistline and the shoulders to become rounded while the head is thrust forward, completely out of true alignment. Nerves and nerve plexes cannot function adequately through a distorted spinal column nor can it be expected that delicate female organs could stand the pressure, strain, and pull upon their slender ligaments for long without sagging, turning or dropping. The habitual "débutante slump" tends to sag the body to one side, twisting the spine and vital organs out of place. In fact high heels really make the foot look deformed and shorten the muscles at the back of the legs until a normal shoe cannot be worn with comfort. They are a ridiculous relic of barbarism and we are glad to see that the modern young woman of brains is adopting sensible sport models and sandals. It will have much to do with making child-bearing easy.
Figure 3 illustrates the results of "erect posture" after years of constant application. As the figure matures with advancing years, the back sways in and the abdomen has a tendency to protrude and sag. Many of the muscles of the internal vital organs are attached to the spine and if the spine sways forward it is quite natural that the viscera should sag also. This constant pull, together with the additional weight, brings a great strain on the back and is frequently the cause of indigestion, nervous troubles, backache, headache and prolapsed generative organs. It also allows the intestines to rest on or against the generative organs causing serious displacements, foreign growths and various diseases.
With the rigidly erect posture, the hips are forced to assume much of the weight of the torso, frequently throwing the ball and socket joints out of line. The feet and ankles suffer, the toes develop corns, the knees disjoint easily and the balls of the feet become calloused. The arches also suffer from the misplacement of weight and often result in a faulty rocking motion of the feet in walking, especially when one toes out. Every step brings a jar upon the spine and thence upon the nerves and a consequent reaction upon the brain.
The restricted circulation of the blood and nerve currents is one of the most serious faults of this posture. The body is absolutely out of true alignment; kinesthetic control is faulty and the individual is neither poised nor balanced. Under such conditions the brain and mind cannot function with any degree of accuracy.