If you’re committed to waking up whenever you touch your guitar, then what will that look like? Are there any ways we can set ourselves up for maximum presence whenever we set out to play the guitar?
Having great posture by keeping your back straight and vertical will help ground you in your commitment to being present with the guitar. It’ll also make you a more powerful, alert player.
Let’s look closer at how posture and the guitar interact.
World of Slouchers
Humans are the only primarily vertical walking organism on Planet Earth.
But if you look around as you move through your day, you might not know that.
Curved back slouching predominates as the “in” way to maintain body posture.
However, traditions all over the world from Pilates to Yoga emphasize the importance of a straight back for health, happiness and well-being.
Having worked with tons of students from all walks of life, I can assure you that most guitar players bring their normal slouchy posture straight into their relationship with the guitar.
This is a major missed opportunity, because playing the guitar provides you with a distinct context in which you can explore better posture.
Let’s look into this.
Good Posture Is All About Energy
Your emotions follow your motions.
Depressed people hold their bodies in a certain way–they hunch over, they tighten up, they look down. We can recognize depressed body posture a mile away.
Confident humans, on the other hand, have an expansive body posture. Their backs are straight, their chests are wide open and they move from deep in their bellies.
So, the question then becomes: What Kind of Music Do You Want to Play?
Do you want to play weak, sad, deflated music?
Or do you want to play confident, powerful, courageous music?
Music is massively emotional. Which means music is massively motional.
Neglect your posture while playing at the peril of drastically affecting the energy and power of your music.
God Bless Guitar Practice
Do you realize how blessed you are to get to practice the guitar?
Do you realize what a huge boon it is to have such a clear, defined context in which to work?
On top of everything else guitar practice offers, it now also allows us to sit up with proper posture and drill that muscle memory into our bodies.
Here’s my challenge to you from now on: whenever you pick up your guitar to practice, have the best posture possible.
Now, when you first try this, you’ll need to be ready for a sudden awakening: it may be that your usual way of holding the guitar doesn’t lend itself well to sitting up straight.
If you’re used to a casual way of holding your guitar, then you may not be able to figure out a way to hold your guitar the way you’re used to holding it while now having great posture.
If this is you, then you now have a choice: ignore this posture issue and keep doing things as you’ve been doing them, or change things up so that you can sit up fully straight while playing your guitar.
I recommend you find a new way to hold the guitar at least while you’re practicing.
How to Sit Up With Your Guitar In Hand
First off, find a comfortable chair.
The best chair will allow you to sit with your legs straight out perpendicular to the seat of the chair. Your legs should bend comfortably and allow your feet to plant firmly on the ground.
The best chair for guitar practice is a firm chair. Err on the side of hard. If your chair is too soft, you’ll be inclined to slouch. Firmness is your friend.
Next, you have to choose how to hold your guitar.
The classical position involves placing your guitar between your legs with the body of the guitar leaning against your chest. The guitar is then in contact with three points on your body–your right leg, your left leg and your solar plexus.
Classical players often utilize a footstool to raise one leg so that the guitar’s neck is at a higher angle, thus allowing the fretting hand easier access to the strings.
I use a Gitano, which is one of the most fantastic guitar accessories known to humankind.
If you don’t want to go the classical route, then you can place your guitar on your leg near the hip.
Notice, though, that in order to play the guitar in this position, you have to twist your spine a bit. That spinal twist may not seem like much, but the more sensitive you become to the subtle energy of your posture, the more you’ll notice the discomfort that comes with holding that spinal twist.
The gitano can make even the hip-slinger posture much more comfortable. I can’t recommend it enough.
Breath and Posture
Now that you’re holding your guitar with great posture, you’ll probably need to go through a relearning period in relation to your guitar playing.
This new posture will cause subtle differences in everything you do on the guitar. Take your time and enjoy the reacclimation process–your body will thank you for sitting up.
As you improve your posture while you hold the guitar, you’ll also notice that you can breathe much more deeply as you play. Good posture and deep breathing go hand in hand.
Center your breathing down deep in your belly. Keep your posture strong and straight while you hold your guitar, play and breathe.
Your Spine is a Superhighway of Light
Your spine carries electrical signals from your brain all the way down your back and out into all your extremities. And vice versa.
The spine is basically your body’s primary conduit of energy.
As such, when you keep the spine straight, that energy can flow unimpeded.
And the more aware and perceptive you become, the more you’ll be able to detect the fuller energy flow created by your better posture.
Since playing music is a full-spectrum human activity (it calls upon your physical body, the full range of your feelings, the outer limits of your mental faculties and all of your spirit), the more energy you are able to wield and command within your playing, the more fully you’ll be able to express Truth through Music.
Consider this: Would you rather listen to music played by a depressed, compressed person, or would you like to listen to music played by a confident conduit of divine light?
Even if you don’t believe in things like “the divine,” surely you can feel the difference in the energy in your body between collapsed slouching and full vertical posture.
I promise you, these subtle aspects of how to hold the body absolutely matter when it comes to your guitar playing.
If you want to learn how to wake up every time you touch your instrument, then embrace powerful posture and carefully observe the results.
And, if you got something out of this post and the others here at String Love Guitar, consider supporting me by buying some fantastic music. Alternatively, if you think you could use some expert guidance to catapult your guitar playing to the next level, how about signing up for a Skype guitar lesson?