Yoga For Better Posture:
If you’re one of the millions of people who spend all day working at a desk, it is very easy to develop poor posture. Even the fact that many of us own smartphones and are chronically peering down at them during a day, is a reason for concern. So what activities may be beneficial for poor posture. What about yoga for better posture? Can it work?
While an afterthought to a lot of people, posture is important for a wide variety of reasons. For examples, easier breathing, better body alignment, and overall more confidence. Things like having a neutral, upright spine position is of utmost importance.
Did you know that simply having bad posture (like slouching) can lead to health issues like heartburn, incontinence, and constipation, according to Harvard Health. Furthermore, it’s not just a problem for the working class, young people are having more back issues then ever.
According to the World Health Organization low back pain is the leading cause of activity limitation and work absence. In addition, the prevalence of it in children and adolescence is rising. With much uncertainty of origins, it’s important more then ever, to improve things like posture, which can help decrease prevalence long term.
Related Article: How to Use Yoga to Help with Back Pain: Yoga Stretching for the Upper and Lower Back
Besides seeing a physical therapist, (which is always a good option if posture is leading to a poor quality of life), there are alternate forms of therapies. Firstly, is the practice of yoga. These types of therapies can help to strengthen the muscles that support skeletal alignment.
One of the great aspects of yoga is you can utilize relatively simple poses. Uniquely, many of these poses don’t require a lot of time or equipment. Slowly and safely, these poses can help strengthen muscles, hopefully bettering posture.
Here, we’ll discuss just a few yoga maneuvers that may target to improve posture and overall well-being.
Equally important to choosing alternative forms to therapy, is to first speak with a medical professional. Thus, making sure the form of therapy you choose is appropriate and safe for your lifestyle.
I. Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
Mountain pose is a great place to start when trying to improve your posture and spinal alignment, as this basic yoga pose is geared toward beginner levels. Mountain pose is a type of restorative yoga and/or balancing pose, that can help with strengthening our thighs, knees, ankles as well as, belly and buttock.
The term mountain pose comes from the fact that the practitioners are standing firm, upright and erect, like a mountain. Also, can be a focus on balance, because you can modify the aspects of the pose, like attempting to close your eyes.
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1. Firstly, stand with a slight bend in your knees.
2. Begin with your feet roughly 5 inches apart, or narrow this position slightly to having your big toes touching.
3. Feel your body center and focus, balancing your weight onto your feet below. Lift your inner ankles for added benefits to your arches.
4. Tighten your core, stand tall.
5. Then, with your hips in a relatively neutral position, tuck your tailbone and try to pull your shoulder blades down your back while lifting your head high.
7. Your shoulders should be spread wide, lengthen your chest. Your arms should be down to the side of your body.
8. Hold this position while you breathe deeply, inhaling and exhaling for 30 seconds.
One way to check your posture with this pose is by standing back against a wall, where you’ll have your heels, sacrum and shoulder blades touching the wall.
Tree Pose (Vrksasana)
Posture, stretch, strength and balance, are aspects that go hand-in-hand with one another in Tree pose. Needless to say, many yoga positions used to better posture, may very well incorporate an element of balance.
Furthermore, this is another beginner pose. Oftentimes, included in many standing yoga routines, for centering and grounding. It is helpful to the hamstrings, hips, knees and quadriceps.
1. Remain in the above Mountain Pose to start. Begin with either the left or right foot/leg.
2. With your hands in a prayer-type pose in front of the chest, place the intended leg (right) on the inner portion of the left thigh.
3. The standing foot should remain forward, with little tilt from the hips. You want minimal rotation of the hips.
4. If need be, adjust your pressure off your left inner left thigh or right foot to compensate, making sure the hips and pelvis remain square.
5. Paying attention to positioning and body alignment, will help improve posture.
6. If able, reach your hand up towards the sky
7. Hold this position for a few breaths, inhaling and exhaling slowly and purposefully.
8. Come back to the Mountain Pose, then switch sides.
Related Article: How to Use Yoga for Strength and Flexibility
Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
Cobra pose is a great addition to any routine when trying to use yoga for good posture. A very common beginner yoga pose, it helps to strengthen your back, open your chest, shoulders and stretch your core.
The key to this pose is to create an even, gentle bend as any sudden jerks to the maneuver can irritate the back. The cobra pose is a back-bend type pose, completed in the prone position and is utilized heavily in hatha yoga.
The cobra pose can be beneficial for your back in it’s entirety, biceps, triceps and core.
1. Start in the Downward facing dog pose or Adho Mukha Svanasana. You can also begin lying down prone on your belly.
2. As you breath in, come forward with your upper body.
3. Then, gently lower your body onto your yoga mat as you exhale.
4. The next step involves gently squeezing your shoulder blades back. Your elbows should be right into your torso.
5. Now, begin to press your hands into the ground, focusing on bringing the chest up off the floor, keeping your neck long.
6. Your arms will continue to be slightly bent until reaching full height of the pose, where they can now extend.
7. You can then gently lower yourself back to the mat as you exhale. Place your toes back on the mat, pressing back to plank, sequentially into the downward dog pose.
Downward-Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
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Another important aspect of having and maintaining great posture is strengthening muscles while keeping them flexible. Downward-facing dog pose will facilitate both of these aspects, while also helping to stretch out and relax your back.
A staple yoga pose, this pose helps with stretch, strength and is a forward-bend type maneuver. Downward dog pose also can activate and benefit several parts of our anatomy. For example, the back, arms, shoulders, core, hamstrings, calves, and pelvic region.
1. Begin this pose down on your mat, hands shoulder width, directly under your shoulders.
2. Make sure your index fingers of both hands are pointing forward, your may have a slight outward rotation with them.
3. Spread the fingers. Rotate your arms so that the crease of the elbow is also facing forward, not inward toward your body.
4. Now, gently arch your back, (like in Cow position), inhale and tuck your toes underneath, preparing to lift the hips and straighten the legs.
5. Then, push-up your hips, straightening your legs (which should be hip-width apart), while your upper torso rocks back towards your lower body.
6. Keep your arms straight, head & neck without tension. Your back should be straight as well.
7. Once completed, bend the knees back down to the mat, continuing to a pose like, Childs pose.
In brief, using yoga for better posture is another tool to add to your arsenal for proper body mechanics. Proper form of these yoga poses is an essential element, and should be maintained at all times.
If you have trouble doing any of these pose’s, there are modifications that can be made.
We have just touched the surface of some beginners asanas for bettering your posture through yoga. Each and everyday you can add new asanas or rotate different poses into your routine to help achieve your goals.
Please share your favorite yoga poses for achieving better posture in the our blog comments section!