According to Buddhism, 50% of our state of mind is dependent on our posture.
Correcting our posture is such a simple, easy to overlook, and powerful a tool to improve our overall well-being. When our mood or our energy is low, sitting or standing upright is an easy way to bring our state of mind into a happier place.
But it’s not always easy to remember or even realize when we’re slouching.
This is exactly what the clever folks at Upright designed their nifty little posture trainer to help with.
The Upright Go is a tiny, wearable bit of tech that syncs with an app to help train us to sit or stand up straight. And if you think your mom was vigilant in catching you every time you slouched, she’s nothing compared to this. But I’d definitely rather have the pleasant little vibration of the Upright Go to remind me.
How does it look, how does it work & how the heck does it feel?
Honestly, when I first heard about this posture trainer and before I saw any pictures of it, I imagined some kind of medieval torture device the size of a treadmill.
And, even after I’d figured out what it actually was and seen some pictures and videos, I was still kinda surprised and quite delighted to receive my light little package in the mail.
Actually, I found the whole process of setting up the Upright Go to sync with the app on my phone ridiculously easy (and I’m pretty technologically challenged).
It really was a matter of one, two, three, and I was ready to “go.”
1. Sync your Upright Go with the app on your phone
3. Place the Upright Go on your spine, where you can reach
All you have to do from here is calibrate your device to your ideal upright posture: sitting or standing. And then…Ooooh!
The gentle vibration the device gives when you calibrate and when you posture train actually feels pretty cool, but definitely has the immediate effect of straightening you up. And you can adjust the sensitivity and vibration in the app. It’s also so light you do tend to forget you’re wearing it until it vibrates.
Mindful Bonus: I find the sensation is a handy way to bring my mind back to the present moment, too.
So, once I’d set everything up, I tried my first training session, which is 10 minutes of the Upright Go vibrating lightly every time you slouch. The folks at Upright recommend you train at least three times a week to see improvement in your posture and take at least a 40 minute break between training sessions.
When you’re not training you can switch to tracking mode and the device won’t buzz when you slouch but the app will track your posture and let you know if you’ve been slouching for more than 15 minutes. And you can wear it anywhere: sitting or standing, driving or cooking…anything that doesn’t involve water.
It’s amazing how quickly those regular training sessions improve your awareness, too. I only trained for the recommended amount of time in my first week and yet I saw improvement in my tracked posture before the week was up. On the first day I was only upright for 33% of the day (pretty shocking for a yoga teacher!), but by the end of the week, I was up to 80% (nice!)
The way it works is through biofeedback.
The principle of biofeedback is basically that we can retrain ourselves into new physical and mental habits through the process of receiving information about what is happening with our bodies in real time, so that we can achieve greater self-awareness. In this way, we learn what mental or physical behaviors have the desired effect on our physiology, which in this case is better posture.
But better posture has much further reaching effects than just our spinal health. The Buddhists are on to something, as it turns out.
As I continued to train with and use my Upright Go, I found that I was focusing better at work, feeling more energized throughout the day, and generally more uplifted in my mood and, most noticeably, my sense of self-confidence.
When I did a bit of digging, it became clear that there’s actually some research that backs these effects up. It comes down to body language.
Social psychologist, Amy Cuddy actually presented her theory in what is now one of TED Talks’ most watched videos, that “power posing”—standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don’t feel confident—can boost feelings of confidence, and might have an impact on our chances for success.
Good Posture is Powerful
It takes just two weeks to a healthier, more confident you, according to the folks at Upright. The benefits of better posture include:
- Improved spinal health
- Stronger, more stable core
- Increased confidence both inwardly (how we feel) and outwardly (how we look to the world)
- Better focus and concentration
- Improved self-awareness (I find myself correcting my posture a lot more now, even when I’m not wearing the device)
After using the device for two weeks, I really can see and feel how being more upright has improved my sense of well-being overall. And the Upright Go has improved my outward appearance too…
I love my Upright Go
The proof for me was when a friend took an unposed photo recently and when I saw it instead of my usual “Ugh, I wish someone had told me to stand up straight,” I thought, “Wow, I look really upright and good there.” And I wasn’t even wearing my Upright Go.
The other thing I was delighted by was the customer service and support from Upright. I had an issue syncing my device one day and they replied quickly, were helpful, and I was able to find an easy solution. I also loved the handy tips I received from their physical therapists that kept me on track, informed, and inspired.
I’m definitely a fan…and now I can also say #iamupright.
Before & After Upright Go