There is a classic Harry Enfield Sketch where Kevin becomes a teenager. Just before the clock strikes midnight, he is an excited 12 year old, jumping up and down, loud, full of enthusiasm and innocence. The clock strikes, his face twists and his body lurches forward. He re-emerges from his Frankenstein transformation as a surly teenager, rude, aggressive and slouched over. His posture has gone, his voice is grating and his communication is awful!
There is a truth to this comedy sketch: when we hit teenage years our bodies change and we lose the innate confident ability to stand tall. When we don’t stand tall, our diaphragm is collapsed. When our diaphragm is collapsed, we can’t breathe properly. When we can’t breathe properly, we can’t speak properly; we can’t support our voice and everything gets stuck in the throat. Ever had a dry throat, lost your voice, started coughing? Blame it on the teenage years.
There is a great exercise we do with our clients called “The Flop” to re-align posture: stand with your feet wide apart, reach for the ceiling and then flop over, trying to touch your toes. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth, allowing the body to stretch and re-align. Slowly roll yourself back up to standing, counting 1–8, your chin remaining on your chest until you hit number 8. You will roll back up with a happy sigh, having gained an inch in height, looking and feeling good. Have a look in the mirror, take a photo, do whatever you can to cement this into your body. Do this exercise 3 times a week and you will start to see a powerful change.