Body Posture – it’s About Style and Grace

For starters, let’s keep it short: Posture is one of the secrets of aging beautifully.

And the long version is that the author Isabel Allende in her 2007 TED talk recounts a TV interview with Sophia Loren: When the interviewer had asked Sophia, “How could you look so good?” Loren had replied: “Posture! My back is always straight. And I don’t make old people noises.” So, that’s why Loren looked so sexy, slim, and tall at her age, according to Allende.
Keeping the issue of noises aside, body posture is more than a medical term. Good posture can make us healthier, look younger and more graceful. For instance, in 1944 The NY Times in an article about perfect body posture wrote that “in the language of beauty, it is a prerequisite to grace.”

More than 70 years later, the idea that a good body posture affects beauty and grace inspired the author and dance critic Sarah L. Kaufman to write a book about ‘The Art of Grace – On Moving Well Through Life’ as an attempt to bring it all together: the spiritual, the social and the physical aspect of living gracefully.

In an online talk she explained that “physical grace stems from posture.” Fixing her scoliosis as a child taking ballet lessons, to becoming a dance critic for The Washington Post, has made her “immersed in a world where posture is kind of the north star of everything,” she said. “Postural training in ballet, you know, fixed my back,” she said. “So it’s just kind of personal experience. And then having read so much about it and my experience with the dance world.” She explained that, “dancers, you know, into their very, very late years, will still have this very floating, uplifted posture.”

Dancers, Hollywood icons and the unforgettable

In addition to the world of dance, Kaufman writes about the grace of Hollywood icons like Sophia Loren, Greta Garbo, Audrey Hepburn or Cary Grant and their ”refined ease of movement and manner.” To Kaufman, Grant was the pinnacle of unflappable and beautiful posture, “I mean, he just had a natural ability to convey elegance, not only elegance, but confidence and a kind of wholeness of the character.”

In the interview Kaufman said, “I don’t feel like it is the quality of a privileged few who are born tall and slim and flexible, you know?” She added: “Just simply standing up straight and presenting ourselves well and upright with sort of a light, elegant posture automatically makes you look younger.”

is a Pulitzer Prize-winning critic, author, journalist and educator. For more than 30 years, she has focused on the union of art and everyday living. As the chief dance critic and senior arts writer of the Washington Post from 1996-2022, she wrote about the performing arts, pop culture, sports, science and personal expression. She also teaches in the Writing Program of Harvard University.
Her forthcoming book, from Penguin Press, is on the importance of verbs, and how using strong, active verbs can improve any kind of writing. Find her on and @sarahlkaufman on Instagram

Is the Hollywood glamour for the rest of us?

Look and act young is the first impression you get of the California-based author Ruth Junker.
“Having good posture or standing well and moving well makes me feel powerful, completely powerful, totally confident,” said 74-year old Ruth Yunker in an online talk, adding that “ if you’re standing straight, it takes off five pounds.” It is 9 am and she has just come back from her daily 2-mile walk along the ocean at Long Beach.
During the talk, she recalled that one of her role models was Sophia Loren, and her mother “hitting me in the back of my, you know, behind my neck. ‘Stand up straight, Ruth, ‘ all the time. That’s in my head.” Yunker like Kaufman feels a deficit in society about posture awareness: “ I see teenagers who, you know, especially tall, thin girls just kind of slump along like that. And I always want to say, ‘Oh, stand up, you feel so much better. It opens up your chest, it opens up your heart’.”

In the interview, Kaufman explained: “there’s a lot of documentation on the benefits of proper posture for your whole life, but especially when we look at issues of mobility and getting enough oxygen and mental clarity.” In regards to getting older, she added, “our whole existence really is a fight against gravity – gravity gets us all, right?”

is an author, humorist, and brand new silver model. She’s been writing for forty years, and has published three books. Taking a break from writing, and acting on a teenage dream, she began modeling a year ago. Ruth is 74 years old, but feels ageless. Her third book, “Baby I’m the Boss of Me” delas with her tackling the magnificent  adventure of growing older. Ruth says, “Never lose your sense of humor. And always look for magic in the beautiful moments of your everyday life.”
Find her on and Instagram @ruth.yunker and books on Amazon: „Baby, I’m the Boss of Me”, “Paris, I’ve Grown Accustomed to Your Face” and “Me, Myself and Paris“

Body posture how-to

Keeping a lifelong uprightness from an early age is Kaufman’s advice.
In her younger years, Yunker like Kaufman, practiced ballet. Later in life, both turned to Yoga, “the best way to get serious body awareness”, Yunker said. “When you look in the mirror at yourself in the morning, the first thing I’m all about is body awareness, being friends with your body.” She added that “exercise or good posture brings in positive vibes. It brings in positive energy – you are feeling better about yourself, regardless of your age.”
Still, she said, “It’s a it’s a chore, I mean, every morning. Yesterday I did too much exercise, I went to yoga, I worked out with weights and I could barely move last night. I mean, I can move, but it’s like getting through the swelling that comes from the arthritis.” Also, standing tall and moving easily is not a given: “I have to constantly remind myself,” she added.

Kaufman, in her book, gives advice for everyday routines:
Stand with your back against the wall. Head, shoulder blades, and rear end should be touching the wall. Now step away and try to retain that position.
“You’ll feel instantly a lot better,” Kaufman said in the interview,”No doubt about it – it’s like having chocolate. You just feel better.”

”No doubt about it – it’s like having chocolate. You just feel better.”

Sarah Kaufman

Harvard University '22 ALM Journalism

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