Paula Butragueño, Master Trainer:
Posture Affects Tension, Memory, and Life Perception

Oct 27, 2023 · 5 min read

Paula Butragueño, Master Trainer: Posture Affects Tension, Memory, and Life Perception
Paula Butragueño, Nike Master Trainer.

The upper body is often overlooked in women. However, it is the torso and chest that holds various sensations and emotions that can be rediscovered based on our posture. In a talk held at Juno House, we had a conversation with the renowned Nike Master Trainer Paula Butragueño in an interactive session moderated by Sonsoles Carrillo, PR Manager of Mia Femtech.

"Twelve years ago, the landscape for women was quite different," she began. "Men would go play tennis on the weekends, while women rarely visited the gym or engaged in many sports; they preferred to stay at home," added the creator of the Phi method, which has gained recognition for its fusion of Jivamukti yoga, fitness, and mindfulness.

The author of 10 Weeks to Feel 10 described how she left her successful job in hydroelectric plant design and sold her house to pursue her true passion. "I wanted to inspire others with what I had inside, something I had always believed in. Sports helped me feel good and be better, both inside and out."

However, in her early days, Butragueño was overwhelmed by the constant self-demand characteristic in our modern world. As she herself points out, "it can exhaust anyone." Despite practicing sports to disconnect, she realized that she was not "connecting with herself." It was then that she decided to enroll in a mindfulness course, a turning point that led her to understand that she was not listening to herself.

Her Phi method emerged from that experience to find physical and mental balance. Within it, Butragueño places particular emphasis on our presence, posture, and how we present ourselves to the world.

Following this premise, Carrillo discussed the importance of our own presence through posture, raising questions about how we feel and how secure we are. "Many times, due to our mood or other factors such as taboos or insecurities, for example, about our chest, we hunch over and withdraw," she emphasized.

Paula Butragueño, Nike Master Trainer and Sonsoles Carrillo, P.R. Manager of Mia Femtech.

"Posture Affects Tension, Memory, and Life Perception"

Butragueño, drawing on the studies of the renowned neuroscientist Nazareth Castellanos, explained the relationship between posture and our brain. "According to Castellanos' proposal, we have seven senses," she explained, referring to "interoception" and "proprioception." The first corresponds to our perception of what is happening within our bodies. "For example, when we know we are getting sick," she commented. According to neuroscientist Castellanos in an interview with BBC Mundo, interoception refers to "the information that reaches the brain about what is happening inside the body, what is happening within the organs." Then there is proprioception, which relates to the perception of our own posture. In other words, it is what Castellanos defines as "the information that reaches the brain about how my body is on the outside, posture, gestures, and sensations I have throughout my body."

Butragueño recalled a study by Castellanos that is mentioned in her book Neuroscience of the Body, which alludes to how a hunched posture affects our emotional perception of the world and memory. It also addresses how the latter can become lost, and how our perception tends to be more negative than positive, resulting in people remembering negative words more frequently than positive ones.

Empower Your Upper Body: Strength, Endurance and Mobility

Butragueño, who is one of the most prominent influencers in Sports and Fitness according to Forbes, emphasized that strengthening the upper body, often neglected in women, allows us to become more aware of how we breathe and regulate our bodies, eliminating the "negative residue in our bodies" left by stress.

The session continued with a demonstration and practical exercises aimed at increasing overall strength, endurance, and mobility in the upper body, which are suitable for both home and work environments. Butragueño, a blogger at Inspira Fit and part of Women's Health blog network, encouraged participants with a breathing exercise routine, followed by mobilization of shoulders and back, including exercises for the scapulas and related muscles. The practice concluded with a deliberate meditation to "take care of ourselves, present ourselves to the world, and feel more secure."

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