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Types of human positions
While not moving, a human can be in one of the following main positions, distinguished by the type of support.
Although quiet standing appears to be static, modern instrumentation shows it to be a process of rocking from the ankle in the sagittal plane. The sway of quiet standing is often likened to the motion of an inverted pendulum. There are many mechanisms in the body that are suggested to control this movement, e.g. a spring action in muscles, higher control from the nervous system or core muscles.
Although standing per se isn’t dangerous, there are pathologies associated with it. One short term condition is orthostatic hypotension, and long term conditions are sore feet, stiff legs and low back pain.
Sitting requires a more or less horizontal structure, like a chair or the ground. Special ways of sitting are with the legs horizontal, and in an inclined seat. While on a chair the shins are usually vertical, on the ground the shins may be crossed in the lotus position or be placed horizontally under the thigh in a seiza.
Squatting is a posture where the weight of the body is on the feet (as with standing) but the knees are bent either fully (full or deep squat) or partially (partial, half, semi, parallel or monkey squat). It may be used as a posture for resting or working at ground level when the ground is too dirty to sit or kneel; for defecation (the normal such posture in the many parts of the world that use squat toilets); or as a temporary position during lower body squat exercises.
When in lying position, the body may assume a great variety of shapes and positions. The following are the basic recognized positions.
- Supine: lying on the back with the face up.
- Prone: lying (or laying) on the chest with the face down (“lying down”, “laying down”, or “going prone”). See also “Prostration“.
Lying on either side, with the body straight or bent/curled forward or backward. The fetal position is lying or sitting curled, with limbs close to the torso and the head close to the knees.
Kneeling is standing not on the feet, but on one or both knees or shins approximately parallel to the ground, possibly raised to an angle depending on the position of the feet. The torso is usually upright but can be considered kneeling at other angles not touching the ground.
- Perfect Postures for Curing Lower Back Pain (womenshealth.suite101.com)
- Practice Sun Salutation Variations for Strength and Flexibility (yogaposesasanas.suite101.com)
- Verbal reminders to improve posture (ask.metafilter.com)
- Committed: Super Heroic Posture (goodcomics.comicbookresources.com)