Posture Education Among The Aristocratic Class - Alternative View

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Posture Education Among The Aristocratic Class - Alternative View
Posture Education Among The Aristocratic Class - Alternative View

Video: Posture Education Among The Aristocratic Class - Alternative View

Video: Posture Education Among The Aristocratic Class - Alternative View
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Posture is the facade of the soul. Perhaps there is no such underestimated health resource as healthy posture. By adopting the correct posture, you instantly get an increase in testosterone, a decrease in cortisol, an increase in serotonin and dopamine levels. Men look more masculine, while women look more feminine. Stand in front of the mirror and straighten up easily. But why, then, are there so many people with crooked backs? The fact is that posture is regulated primarily by unconscious processes, which are based on upbringing, movement patterns and much more. That is why posture either needs to be nurtured for a long time or to act at the level of correcting unconscious movement patterns. Today I will tell you about the traditional aristocratic posture education. Proper posture has become an attribute not only of the aristocracy, but of the whole society.

Posture, appearance, health and status

Much has been said about these properties of posture. The way your body is positioned influences (often imperceptibly) many different processes, from the depth of your voice to your courage. The opposite is also true: no matter how beautiful you are, poor posture can ruin everything. Posture is a reflection of dopamine and serotonin levels, and when they fall, posture becomes poor. Correct posture makes movement smooth and beautiful, and gait light and stable. I would also like to draw your attention to the non-verbal meaning of posture: in nature, both in humans and in animals, there is an unconscious rule: a person with poor posture subconsciously obeys a person with correct posture. A person with a stooped back and bowed head is perceived as begging, guilty, sad, burdened with problems, not very healthy, scandalous.

The words dignity, dignitary, posture have a common origin. Just like the Belarusian word "post", or "become", "stately". The word "posture" in the language comes from the root "-san". Once this concept was directly associated with the type of activity. Self-confident people who held a high position (dignity) were called dignified - in contrast to peasants hunched over by physical labor. Today, a healthy posture is in no way connected with the position, but it can tell a lot non-verbally about a person's health, his inner world and attitude to the outside world.

The non-verbal meaning of posture is emphasized by the term "stateliness". Stature in the presence of certain external features (posture, height, excellent head position) is, nevertheless, the ability to "carry oneself" with dignity. VI Dal, defined good posture as a combination of harmony, majesty, beauty and quoted the proverb: "Without posture - horse - cow." Shambling legs and a bent back can ruin the impression of a girl's pretty face. Conversely, a light gait and a slender figure will “smooth out” the flaws of an ugly face. The famous English researcher, Charles Darwin (1880) in his book "Emotions of People and Animals" introduced the concept of "Posture Reflex": "Certain movements and postures (sometimes to a large extent) are capable of evoking corresponding emotions. … Take a sad posture, and after a while you will be sad … Emotions encourage movement,but movements also evoke emotions."

Classes at the Smolny Institute for Noble Maidens
Classes at the Smolny Institute for Noble Maidens

Classes at the Smolny Institute for Noble Maidens.

Posture, bearing, statism - this is one of the key goals of physical education since ancient times. The Greeks used the term areté. Areté denotes a state in which a person is at the highest point of his intellectual and physical development. At the same time, exclusively harmony of soul, body and mind allows you to achieve areté and enjoy life to the fullest. O. Spengler has an interesting statement that ancient ethics was nothing more than the ethics of posture. Meanwhile, one can speak about "posture ethics" not only in relation to antiquity. Romano-Germanic chivalry also developed into an ethic of posture; and the icon is essentially a visual ethics of posture. The noble culture of the 18th-19th centuries, focused on chivalry and Orthodoxy, was formed to a large extent as an ethics of posture.

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This attention to posture manifested itself most fully in aristocratic education. The rules of that time obliged you to take care of a beautiful posture. It was believed that bearing, standing, posture is an integral attribute of personal dignity, honor, “ambition”. Previously, a person's posture was used to judge the thoroughbredness of a person, his education and wealth. The traditional classical education of the nobility provided an ideal scheme for solving the problem of posture. Everyone was taught from early childhood to keep bearing in dance, horse racing and fencing lessons.

But in any class society, posture ethics is mandatory for some and taboo for others. In the despotisms of the first civilizations, the ethics of posture was followed by one person - a despot (king, shah, raja, emir, etc.). In the ancient city, there were as many despots as there were houses in the city, so that every owner of a house (ecos) had the right to dignity. In Romano-Germanic chivalry, both the leader of a military squad (duke, king) and famous soldiers had the right to posture. Naturally, dependent classes or ethnic minorities did not have the right to posture - even when they gained access to literacy and education. The law obliged them to lower their heads in the presence of noble lords, bow and bend their backs. Until now, on a subconscious level, we perceive this position of the body as a manifestation of submission.

Nowadays, posture is used more as an instrument of enslavement. In the system of modern education - the way it has historically developed: classroom-lesson, lecture-seminar - the posture of students in classroom classes plays an important role as a disciplinary factor. Younger students are taught to think without moving, and to think in a sitting position. Meanwhile, a sitting position, so despised in ancient culture, is not natural, especially for people of different ethnic cultures and different types of temperament. A single posture as a disciplinary requirement of the mass school fixes consciousness, giving rise to inertness of "body language" - the main substrate of culture. Naturally, this does not remain without global negative consequences for the culture of the entire society.

The destruction of the traditional aristocratic culture led to the separation of "posture" from "upbringing". The posture problem first emerged as a major cultural problem with the emergence of the "new rich" from among usurers ("bankers") and "free entrepreneurs" - residents of Burges ("burghers", "bourgeois"). The bourgeois was not a dignified person - and it was not possible to acquire posture either with money or education. The ethics of posture, as it turned out, is based on a special sense of human dignity, historically formed by personal courage, service, the presence of the so-called "near-death experience" (fights, initiations). The bourgeois was bold, risky, but, nevertheless, not dignified. With the victory of bourgeois culture, posture ethics came to an end. It is this circumstance, and not anything else, that drew a sharp line between the two pillars of pedagogy: "education" and "upbringing."Education does not need "posture", while education without "posture ethics" (to one degree or another) does not exist at all.

It is curious that in Britain good posture was a prerequisite for receiving the nobility. According to Thomas Smith, “someone who has studied the laws of the kingdom anywhere, who studied at universities, who has mastered the liberal sciences and, in short, who can live idle without indulging in manual labor and will be able to have posture, duties and kind of a gentleman, he will be called a master, since this is the title that people give to Esquires and other gentlemen. The collegium of heralds gave such a person a newly-invented coat of arms and title for a fee.

Education of posture among the aristocracy

The upbringing of posture in children from privileged classes was methodically carried out through such activities as dance lessons, horse riding, fencing, rhetorical training, etiquette, as well as the habit of ceremonial communication. To educate the correct posture in educational institutions for noble children, a variety of methods were used. The girls were taught to keep their heads high, not to look constantly at their feet, to learn to bring the shoulder blades together, “to remove the stomach”.

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Prince IM Dolgoruky recalled: “I studied the German language, I studied for two years and did not harden my words; the glorious Matecin taught me swordsmanship - and I took up the trade of the swordsman beautifully; Missoly and Grange straightened my legs - and I danced pretty well.

External bearing was also achieved by rigid dictate. The governess had to literally follow the pupils and repeat endlessly: "Keep straight." It was required to make sure that the children walked without swaying, without waddling, they would not step on their heels, but on their toes. They stood straight, “without lifting their heads to their shoulders”, looking “with respect at the one with whom they were speaking”; sat without dangling their legs, did not cross their legs, would not lean their elbows on the table.

For good posture, especially important for girls, the governess, barely starting her duties, first put on a corset on the pupil. It was believed that this should be done no later than seven years old, otherwise there will never be a thin waist. With signs of slouching in a corset, it was supposed to walk around the clock, even sleep in it. Some ladies got so used to it that then they slept in a corset all their lives. (Of course, this is an unhealthy procedure). Corrected posture and special exercises: walking around the room with the shoulder blades brought together and hands clasped behind the back; with a thick book on his head; daily fifteen-minute lying flat on her back on the floor, etc. As a result, a well-mannered lady from a “simple” lady all her life was distinguished by an easy gait and a straight, like a mast, back, as well as the manner of always sitting straight without leaning back on the chair - even in eighty years old.

In the middle of the 19th century, teachers began to talk about individual education, about the need to raise a conscious personality with its own character from a child. New educational methods, without canceling the external "bearing", without which, as it was still believed, there could be no decent person, nevertheless paid more attention to the moral and mental aspects of education. Now they tried to justify the "bearing" for the children, explaining why one should behave this way and not otherwise, saying, for example: "A worthy person should have order around - in his head, in business, in the room, in a suit, in manners." …

Dancing as an essential element of dynamic posture

It used to be believed that the higher a person occupies in society, the more perfect his speech, manners, and appearance should be. At the same time, the king is beyond competition, he has no equal. Dance is the highest form of movement; therefore, the king must dance better than anyone else. Such was Louis XIV, who amazed his contemporaries with his magnificent posture and beauty of gestures. One of the most important political decisions of the beginning of the reign of Louis XIV was the decree on the creation of the Academy of Dance: “Since the art of dance has always been known as one of the most decent and most necessary for the development of the body and since it was given the first and most natural place among all types of exercises, number and exercises with weapons, and, therefore, this is one of the most preferable and useful for Our nobility and others who have the honor to approach Us,not only during the war in Our armies, but also in Our entertainments in the days of peace …"

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The tasks of the dance master were to teach not only how to dance, but also to be free in society, to move easily and naturally. Therefore, much attention was paid to bows and curtsies, the development of a beautiful posture, the position of the hands and feet, even a special, “decent in society” facial expression. This is how it was described in a dance textbook of the early 19th century: “The eyes that serve as a mirror of our soul should be modestly open, meaning pleasant gaiety. The mouth should not be open, which shows a satirical or bad temper, and the lips are set with a pleasant smile, without showing teeth."

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From early childhood, children were taught dancing so that future nobles could control their bodies, keep themselves confident and at ease. Dance teachers - dance masters - were very demanding, and for many children, especially boys, choreography lessons turned into a heavy duty. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, dance, along with foreign languages and mathematics, was one of the most important subjects in the curriculum of a nobleman. “When I left Moscow, my uncle told me to perfect myself in French and learn German, mathematics and dance,” recalled M. A. Dmitriev. There were even men's corsets, reminiscent of women's and forcing the "stronger sex" to further tighten the stomach and straighten the shoulders. Another part of the dress that affected posture was the high, stiff collars. Stand collar,tightly covering the neck from the shoulder girdle to the chin, left no choice and forced to keep the neck and head straight.

Some modern armies actively use dance classes to develop their soldiers. Thus, the soldiers of the 25th division of the South Korean army are stationed in Phaju, next to the North Korean border, one of the most guarded in the world. Seoul, the capital of South Korea, is only 100 kilometers away, and a representative of the Korean National Ballet comes to the unit every week to give master classes for the soldiers. The official purpose of these exercises is to relieve the stress of the military. “Ballet requires physical strength and endurance, helps to strengthen muscles, increases flexibility, and corrects posture. You may not believe it, but the ballet helped us prepare for passing the standards,”their commander is sure.

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Princess E. R. Dashkova brought up a poor English girl and invited dancemaster Lamiral to dance with her, to whom she said at the meeting: “I heard that you are teaching to dance according to Madame Didlot’s method, I really like her method, because Madame Didlo is very engaged in straightening the body. Look at me: I'm an old woman, but I still carry myself upright like a slender 18-year-old girl; when in my youth I learned to dance with the court dancemaster Peak, he kept me for a long time on a minuet à la René, and now, without straightening the body and legs, they teach me different dances. Countess Anna Alekseevna Orlova brought from England a Scottish dance called Ecossaise and handed it over to the dance teacher Yogel, who has now flooded everyone with this dance; really, it's funny to see how young ladies, hunched over like country old women,hold their feet in the manner of crow's feet, toe and toe and jump like magpies. I ask you, MG, to teach my pupil a longer minuet à la René; maybe it will seem a little boring to her, but after that she will fall in love, and there will be time for other dances."

Education of posture in women

In the famous Smolny, young noblewomen spent most of the day dancing. All other activities were constantly interspersed with intense physical exercise. From an early age, girls always had to be neat, watch their own facial expressions, gait and posture. The acquisition of an "aristocratic" posture, which was considered not only a "visiting card" of noblewomen, but also a guarantee of health, was given great importance. Posture was straightened with the help of special exercises, the girls were regularly forced to lie flat on the floor, many of them were wearing a corset. The main thing is that the manner of behaving correctly should have become a habit. The governesses strictly followed this, not allowing their wards to relax for a minute. Physically, the girls were not pampered, on the contrary, they tried to temper and strengthen their bodies in every possible way.

Advanced educators and posture

Many outstanding teachers and educators also attached great importance to the education of posture. If you carefully go through the pages of all the books of A. S. Makarenko, we will find that one of the most common words is posture. According to Makarenko, posture is both the beauty of a young man, the beauty of his movements, and the strengthening of the spine, and the basis of health. Physical education in the commune was carried out thoughtfully and comprehensively. Much attention was paid to the promotion of physical culture and a healthy lifestyle in the wall press. It also developed a whole system of various sports competitions in athletics, sports and outdoor games, chess, football and winter sports.

The importance of nurturing posture

Social movements, especially strong in America, also affected posture. So at the beginning of the 20th century, the Posture League was formed in the United States, and society was literally captured by a flurry of advice and recommendations on the development of proper body position. They began to pay attention to school furniture, instructors for physical development appeared. Dedicated tool kits allowed teachers to assess the posture of students, and dozens of districts participated in posture programs, including thousands of children. Those who had incorrect posture or skeletal deformities were sent to special corrective classes.

American middle-class people like John Adams worried about posture and body position, so that social relations were not disturbed by an inappropriate, hunched over. Throughout the 19th century, new standards of posture became part of the care and education of children, helping them to grow up into respectable citizens. Correct posture was associated with self-discipline. Doctors also supported this movement, pointing out that correct posture is essential for good health. In many elite schools, posture is still an important consideration. Proper posture has become an attribute not only of the aristocracy, but of the whole society.

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Military bearing

A healthy, stable posture is an important element of a professional army today. Education and posture correction is traditionally included in the training course for military personnel of almost all armies of the world. For example, the 1946 US Combat Manual says “Good posture is very important for a soldier. First, a soldier is often judged by his appearance - a man with good posture resembles a good soldier more, he more captures the attention of others. Secondly, it is a generally accepted psychological fact that good posture is associated with good morals - a person with good posture feels better and more confident. A person with poor posture cannot feel so confident, which is why they develop a negative and uncomfortable posture. Third, good posture allows the body to function most efficiently.”

In addition to being able to adopt a posture, it is important to be able to maintain it. The United States Air Force Guard of Honor must always maintain posture, have a military bearing, even if a rubber chick appears in front of their face, making loud noises. The rubber chicken test is conducted by instructors at the US Air Force Honor Guard School. Thus, they are constantly testing recruits for resilience. If the "chicken" test is not passed, if the students laugh or do not stand still, they will pay a fine.

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Be sure to work on your posture - this is an important part of the harmonious development of a person.