By Sherry M. Adler, Xerox contributor
He ─ or she ─ enters the room. There’s something about this person that captures our attention. It isn’t necessarily astounding good looks. It’s the way he or she moves with a mix of purpose, style and grace.
Think: Yesteryear’s Cary Grant, today’s Jon Hamm (“Mad Men”); Audrey Hepburn then, Julia Roberts now.
Pofina Veresyuk has “it.” There’s an aura about her.
We want to be like her to help our career (and perhaps more). Can we? Do some people have “it” or can “it” be learned?
“Improving Posture, Poise and Presence is for everyone,” says Pofina, a dance, choreography and fitness professional. A member of the International Dance Council, she notes: “It starts with awareness, then intent, followed by dedicated practice. I’ve seen students change ─ physically and emotionally transform.”
Pofina shares 5 steps to enhance your stance:
#1. Rise, Shine … and “Do the Twist”
Start your day with this sequence. On an exercise mat, couch, floor or bed, lie on your back. Take several slow, deep breaths; inhale through your nose, fill your chest with air, exhale through your mouth. Then roll your body onto one side, hold and roll onto the other ─ do this several times.
We take breathing for granted because we do it automatically. But breathing, when controlled, promotes posture, poise and presence. Pofina explains: “The goal is to breathe deliberately through the diaphragm, which is easier from a prone position. Deep breathing centers and relaxes us. Practice. It becomes increasingly natural. Moving from side to side, or ‘squirming,’ creates body awareness and sets this cycle in motion.”
#2. “Let’s Get Physical”
Sit up. Turn your head gently from side to side. Listen to your shoulders as you pull them back and down ─ repeat several times. Tilt your head up and open your chest to the ceiling (arching). Then look down and tuck your hips underneath you (curving). Next, bend one knee, hold it into your chest and make 3 small circles with your foot ─ repeat on the other side.
This series begins to warm the muscles in your back through compression and decompression. “This process lubricates your joints and aids circulation as well as spinal mobility. It’s the building block for back health and proper posture,” says Pofina.
#3. “Get Down on It”
Stand with your back flat against a wall. Line up your body one section at a time: Level your head; Stack your shoulders over hips; Stack your knees over toes. Maintain a straight, tall back; push into the wall for help. Then perform small shoulder circles, 3 forward, 3 back. Put your feet together and hands on hips, take mini calf raises on each side ─ 4 sets of 3..
These slow, deliberate and subtle moves are about alignment. “Most of all,” says Pofina. “They are about using your brain to even you out and lengthen your spine. These actions take training and repetition.”
#4. “Walk This Way”
While standing, develop your ‘body finding’ skills. Drop your head into your chest, let your shoulders droop and give into gravity. Then slowly align, building from the bottom up. Breathe deeply, feel your feet hug the floor and take several steady steps ─ repeat 3 times.
Pofina explains: “We call this type of exercise ‘the watcher’ because it combines observing with participating. Improving posture and poise begins with understanding your body style and then adapting it to your needs. Find your comfort level. Establish your gait and pace. In general, slow down.”
#5. “Just Dance”
This tip is simple. It’s a lifestyle and life extender: Stay nimble and flexible. Intersperse sedentary spells with movement. Create reasons to get up and get moving Think cardio. Think music. Think dance. Do it.
Lady Gaga struggled to break into the mainstream music world. Then she wrote “Just Dance,” which catapulted her to fame. With this story as a metaphor, Pofina notes: “These exercises do not produce immediate results. Work hard. Stay with it. Move. It increases agility, coordination and confidence.”
Knowing that you’re taking action boosts your confidence and personal brand. So just dance!
Pofina Veresyuk is a professional dancer with illustrious credentials. She also is a fitness expert and advanced master-level trainer. For many years, she has trained dancers at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. She has instructed for many major health facilities and recently was chosen to represent the Lucille Roberts gym for women.