Best Yoga for Posture
Being afraid I’ll end up looking like the humpback of Notre Dame when I’m older is a reasonable fear. Overall health and wellness has become much more of a priority now that I’m in my thirties. Good posture was something I may have only heard about from my mom when she told me to straighten up (or when I was acting out, more likely).
As a yoga teacher I find myself more conscientious about the way I’m sitting or standing. Sometimes at my day job I find myself slumping over in my chair and then it suddenly dawns on me how I’m sitting. I have been practicing poor posture for so long that I now have to practice good posture. Especially as a yoga teacher, I should lead by example and should not be sitting hunched over. So, even I have to remind myself about good posture once in a while.
Recent studies have shown yoga to improve posture, and it’s not surprising that this is true. In addition to increasing body awareness, yoga strengthens the core and lengthens the spine. The spine is the thing that holds up our body all day long, so it’s important to keep it in tip-top condition. Not to mention it has to support that heavy bowling ball of a head we carry around all day long!
Try these simple poses during your day to improve your posture:
Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
Yes, this is a yoga pose. It doesn’t feel like it at first, but it’s a very active pose. Stand tall, feel your feet on the ground, open your chest with arms at your sides, slightly tuck your tailbone, engage your thighs, roll your shoulders back and down to lower your shoulder blades, and bring your chin back so your ears are above your shoulders. It’s all in the chin and you want to align your body from feet to head.
Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)
This is probably one of my favorite poses because I can literally feel my spine lengthen as I fold over towards my feet. Just hang there, grab your elbows with your opposite hands, and breathe. After you release your arms, try looking up by opening the chest and flattening your back on an inhale. Then exhale and fold again. This pose saves me on visits to the chiropractor!
Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
This is an ideal pose for strengthening the back and opening the chest. Place your hands on the mat in front of you in a sphinx position and then slowly straighten your arms into your full extension of cobra. Bring your shoulders away from your ears, while keeping your pelvis and toes on the mat.