How can a special Yoga Block Help My Posture

How Can A Special Yoga Block Help My Posture

Season 1 Episode 2


 We talk to TillyLou James, a highly skilled physiotherapist, holistic practitioner, yoga teacher, and creator of the Buttafly, a revolutionary new treatment aid for the spine. She’s over the moon with here new product, is getting great feedback, and we want to know more! Our listeners can use the coupon code posturestars to save 10% on their Buttafly.

Whether you do Yoga, Alexander Technique, Pilates, or any of the other many posture-improving exercises, they all have one thing in common. Lying down! TillyLou took this concept and after a period of trial and error came up with a novel way to add to this process, using a special yoga block called the Buttafly. 

James Crow
Hello, this is James from Posture Stars. Thanks so much for joining us for this podcast about posture. Today I will be talking to TillyLou James, who is a physiotherapist yoga teacher, and the designer of the butterfly spine treatment aid and back help.

Hello, TillyLou.

TillyLou James
Hi, James. It’s good to meet you.

James Crow
Yay. Thanks for coming on today, I just have three easy questions for you. As always question one will be what is posture? Question two, how do you help other people with their posture? And finally, if you could give one simple piece of advice to help our listeners right now, what would that be? So we’ll kick off with TillyLou, what is posture?

TillyLou James
Okay. I think of posture as a physical representation of our mind body experience, if you like, our physical attitude. Attitude comes from the Italian word attitudo, from the root aptus meaning fit. In English, we tend to use the word attitude to denote a settled way of thinking or feeling about something. But how we feel is reflected in the shape of our body. Imagine you’re walking into a room, so quietly that a friend who’s there sitting engrossed in a project, you will have a strong sense of how they are feeling, just purely by their physical attitude. And it’s very interesting, James, this is borne out by research that shows that when we think of a loved one who’s passed over, it’s not their individual features that come to mind. But their overall presentation, their posture, if you will,

James Crow
Great, I’ve never considered it in those terms. That’s a really nice way of looking at it, TillyLou, I like that. So what would you do to help people’s posture?

TillyLou James
Okay, so one of my, if we take my favourite analogy, really, that posture is like a favourite old sweater. So well worn that it bags at the elbows, and perhaps it’s even taken on the shape of our shoulders. And like the sweater over time, our posture become shaped by our habits, both physical and emotional. There comes a point when our posture actually begins to define us to the extent that we assume our posture has been or become an integral part of our fabric. In my career as a physio working with neck and back pain, I would use many ways to affect joints and muscles that would change people’s posture. Sometimes things would happen quite quickly. But often, there was this overall feeling that things were going to have to take a long time. So you know, how long do you hold a stretch for, how many days weeks months are you going to have to perform those stretches for those changes to come into your posture. What’s been really interesting is that the Buttafly working with a Buttafly, it’s brought me to a new understanding, not only of posture, but also the spine and back pain. So I designed the Buttafly as ergonomic meditation seat and yoga block. The ability for it to facilitate the curative release of the spine was a chance discovery, one that I used to cure my own back problems after I had a fracture at the base of my spine. So when someone comes to me, the first thing that I do is I use the Buttafly in a very special position, very low down under the pelvis with that client lying down flat. And Buttafly, the best way of saying is actually goes very low down under the buttocks. A lot of people think that goes under the back, but it doesn’t, it goes very low down under the buttocks. So in fact, you’re offloading the spine. And what I’ve found is that there is a natural release of the spine and letting go of their habitual holding patterns. So this is, in this way, I will use this, if you like, to sort of clean off the first layer of postural habits and emotional habits and that first layer that is dumped down in the spine. There will often be deeper work that needs to be done, whether you know, that’s me as a physiotherapist or you as an Alexander practitioner, or even a massage therapist, but you can use the Buttafly to kind of get past that first layer. That makes sense?

James Crow
Yeah, it does. It sounds like a really easy way to strip away some of the physical components that are getting in the way of people’s postural change.

TillyLou James
Yes, the really nice thing is I think that you are, we are tapping into the natural intelligence of the body. And sometimes it’s very difficult to perhaps understand, you know, what do we mean by natural intelligence? But our natural intelligence is working with us every moment of every day. So if we have a heart rate spike, you know, there’s a loud bang in the room next door, then obviously, the natural intelligence of the body is going to work to bring that heart rate down. It’s the natural intelligence of the body and it tells us when we need to go to the bathroom, when we need to go out and get a drink of water. So it might sound as if it’s very esoteric, but it’s actually not. It’s a very, you know, functioning part of the human system.

James Crow
Yeah, it sounds like we’re going into mind-body unity there, rather than treating the two as separate things.

TillyLou James

James Crow
Very good. Oh, wow. Well, that’s something I hadn’t considered either. I really like the way you’ve described that. So if you were to give people one simple piece of advice today, to take away right now and play with, what would it be?

TillyLou James
Well, aside from using the Buttafly, which I have to say, I would recommend pretty much to everyone. I haven’t had anyone who hasn’t used it with great effect. There are two other exercises that I really like. One of them is a classic position called restorative rest, which is where you lie down on your back with your hips at 90 degrees and your knees at 90 degrees. And I found that a great way to do this is actually using something like an armchair or a settee, and you lie down on your back with your butt right up close to the foot of the settee. And so that your thighs are along the upright of the settee there and your calves are resting on the seat. And this can just be really nice way of really coming into a nice rest position, making sure that your head is supported with whatever you need for it to be added, really, you know, a nice long alignment – the back of the neck long. And then, after spending five minutes of there, I suggest that people roll over onto their tummy. It’s amazing James how many people never lie on their tummy. And so you’re lying on the tummy. And what you’re doing this time is you’re using the upright of the foot of the settee to rest your shins on, and then you alternate turning your head so maybe a few minutes with your head to the left, and then rotate your head to the right. And if you stay there long enough, what you’ll find is that parts of the body will start to release that you just didn’t even know that you: A) had and B) that you were holding any tension there. So I love these two exercises.

James Crow
Oh, that’s brilliant. You know, I love the first one myself and I often have my clients do that one, the second one I haven’t come across before. So I think after this session, I’m going to go and have a nice lie down on my front in front of my settee, with my legs up and see how that goes for me and have a play around with that, that’s really useful. I’m quite pleased to hear that.

TillyLou James
You’ve probably heard of the connective tissue buzzword these days, fascia. And, you know, myofascial releases. And you know, for a lot of people, you know, whether you go to a yoga class or Pilates class, there are a lot of people talking about this. And this is one way of really getting in to the myofascial. And I’m going to say stretch in inverted commas. Because the really lovely thing about this, these two positions that you and I are talking about here is that you don’t actually feel any stretch. But the release that happens is actually spreading all the way through the connective tissue, which of course connects us from the very crown of our head down to the soles of our feet. So absolutely beautiful work.

James Crow
Really nice. And any postural improvement method that includes zero or very little effort at all gets a big tick in my book. I’m all for that. Thank you very much TillyLou, I’m really pleased to hear those. If people want to find more about the Buttafly, where would they go?

TillyLou James
They can go to and just to say the Buttafly is spelt phonetically, so it’s a little bit of play on words B U double T A F L Y.

James Crow
There you have it, folks. Thanks so much for joining us TillyLou, it has been a pleasure.

TillyLou James
Thank you too, James

Find TillyLou James Online

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