An upright person is a respectable person. He or she always behaves honestly, with high ethical standards and strong moral rectitude.
Very literally, though, an upright person is someone who is physically positioned to be straight up. He or she holds the body strong and upright in its correct form.
Survey the people around you. How many truly upright people do you see? The world is full of slumping, slouching, stooped over people—physically and even morally. Now look at yourself. How do you measure up?
Becoming upright spiritually means striving, day in and day out, to build character and to become the virtuous human being God created you to be. Becoming upright physically is much the same. It’s a constant effort to stand the way God created you to stand. The benefits of both are tremendous.
Upright posture makes you every inch as tall as you actually are. It also slims down your belly. Poor, slumped posture causes your ribcage to push down on your organs, which actually can begin to protrude and push against your abdominal wall. You can literally take inches off your waist just by standing upright!
Standing this way reduces tension and pain in your neck, shoulders and back. It improves the balance of your opposing muscle groups and actually enhances the functioning of your internal organs. It increases your concentration and your mental performance.
The body language of straight posture communicates confidence, vigor, power, authority. It commands attention and creates a more positive mindset, not only for those who view you, but for you yourself. Proper posture also projects uprightness in more ways than one.
“Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright,” reads Psalm 37:37, “for the end of that man is peace.” In this scripture, David tells us to observe, inspect and give heed to the man who is strong, correct and wholesome, who is upright morally and even literally. The physically upright man is straight up, vertical in his carriage.
Spiritually or physically, the benefits for being upright are the same: The “end,” or future, of that man is peace: completeness, safety, soundness in body, health and prosperity.
What is proper posture? Essentially, it is good alignment. When standing, five points of your body should all make a straight line: your ears, shoulders, hips, knees and heels. When all are aligned, you are standing as you were created to stand. If you happen to be against a wall, the wall will touch the back of your head, your shoulders, rear end and heels.
Here’s how to practice, whether or not you have a wall handy:
• Plant your feet at shoulder-width.
• Feel your weight over your heels (not your toes).
• Twist your heels into the ground by tightening the muscles in your behind.
• Place your palms forward, spread your fingers and reach for the ground. Feel the weight of the world come off your shoulders.
• Lift your chest and push your shoulders back.
• Pull your chin back, as if you were holding a tennis ball between your chin and chest.
• Imagine a string attached to the top of your head, pulling it straight up.
That is a marvelous posture you’ve got there. Doesn’t it feel grand? That’s because you are standing at the full height that God created you!
To maintain such posture takes constant checking and constant effort, but every day and every hour you put forth the effort to stand the way you were created to stand, your organs, your muscle groups, your waistline and even your mindset will function the way they were created to function!
Chances are, you spend a lot of time sitting as well. When you sit, take a few moments to ensure that your office chair, driver’s seat or wherever you sit is adjusted for proper posture. Then, remember these three simple points:
• Keep a good arch in the lower back.
• Lift your chest, putting your shoulders back.
• Lift your chin, putting your ears in alignment over your shoulders.
Because it’s hard to sustain healthy posture for long periods, it is good to change positions regularly. If you have a sitting job, take regular breaks and walk around. Move, shift and stretch to avoid finding yourself in bad positions unwittingly.
Like the Christian walk, being upright physically takes constant, daily effort. And like the Christian walk, the rewards of this constant, daily effort are fantastic.