Having good posture means that the force of gravity is evenly distributed throughout your body, so that no one area is overstressed. We all remember as kids, being told Not to Slouch, or to Sit up Straight! Which we adhered to, only for the length of time the person giving the orders remained in the room….
However, as we get older, we start to realise how essential having good posture is, whether we’re sitting or standing, and the long term health issues that come with having incorrect posture. Holding the correct posture through exercise is also essential in not picking up injuries. Not only is it vital for your overall health, having the correct posture boosts your self-confidence. Think about it, if you carry yourself in an upright position, all muscles in perfect balance, ready to move in an instant; you’re going to feel super confident every day.
It also ensures that we are breathing correctly, slouching or not standing straight leads to the restriction of breathing muscles, which limits the amount of oxygen we are drawing in, and the muscles being over worked.
There are countless benefits of good posture and many ways in which we can perfect it. One of the best ways to improve posture is through yoga. The following are asanas that will actively improve your posture and the way you carry yourself.
5 Yoga Poses To Correct Your Posture
Mountain Pose – Tadasana
Description: Begin by standing with feet together, heels and toes touching. While maintaining a straight back, hold your arms gently to your sides and turn your palms outward. Lift your toes, spreading them out and placing them back down so you create a wide base. Sway, side to side, until you place your weight evenly on all four corners of your feet.
The muscles in your knees and thighs should be contracted, rolling inward to create a widening of the sit bones, and your abdominal muscles should be tightened. Make sure that your shoulders are parallel to your pelvis, lengthen your neck so your crown extends towards the ceiling and your shoulder blades slide down your back. Hold for 30 seconds and relax.
Benefits: The mountain pose is the foundation of all standing poses and once mastered will allow you to progress onwards. It improves your posture and firms the buttocks, thighs and abdomen.
Common postural errors: Wrong alignment or ankles banging against each other. Tips: Practice against a wall first so that you learn how to form a true, straight line. If your ankles are hitting against one another, widen your feet slightly and find your centre of balance again.
Standing Forward Bend – Uttanasana
Description: From the Mountain Pose, exhale and bend forward from your hips, sweeping your arms to the sides, with your palms facing the floor. While lowering your torso, keep your back flat and tuck in your abdominal muscles to lengthen your spine. Keep folding your torso forwards until they are parallel to your legs (Or as close as you can get). Grasp the back of your ankles and contract your thighs to keep your knees as straight as possible.
With each exhalation, draw your sit bones upwards, elongating your spine and lengthening the stretch. Hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute before moving onto Standing Half Forward Bend.
Benefits: Stretches the spine, hips, calves and hamstrings while strengthening thighs and improving posture.
Common postural errors: Rolling the spine. Tips: If you find this difficult, then bend your knees as you bring your torso forward, and then straighten on each exhale afterwards.
Cobra Pose – Bhujangasana
Description: From a prone position, place your palms under your shoulders and legs flat to the floor. On inhalation slowly raise your chest up, bending backwards as much as possible and hold for 10-15 seconds. On exhalation bring your body back down to the prone position. Repeat 5 times, taking a 15 second break between each hold.
Benefits: Strengthen the spine, stretches the chest, shoulders, and abdomen, firms the buttocks, betters posture and relieves stress and fatigue.
Common postural errors: Overarching the neck and lower back. Tips: Keep your gaze directed down at the floor and focus on bringing movement into the area between the shoulder blades.
Hero Pose – Virasana
Description: Begin by kneeling, with your thighs perpendicular to the floor and your feet angled slightly wider than your hips. Bring your knees together while pushing your feet into the floor. Lean forward, exhale and sink back so that you are sitting with your buttocks to the floor, in between your heels. Lift your chest and press your shoulders back and down, lengthening your tailbone. Rest your hands, palm down on your thighs, pulling in your abdominals and hold for 30 seconds to one minute.
Benefits: The Hero Pose stretches thighs, hips and ankles and provides a counterbalance to hip-opening postures.
Common postural errors: Lifting shoulders, turning the soles out or sitting on the heels. Tips: If you experience pain then place a folded blanket beneath you and point your big toes inward slightly.
Upward-Facing Dog Pose – Urdhva Mukha Svanasana
Description: Start by lying in a prone position on the floor. Bend your elbows and place your hands directly beneath the, flat to the floor on either side of you. Separate your legs slightly, extending your toes backwards so the tops of your feet press against the floor. Inhale and push against the floor with your hands and tops of your feet, lifting your torso and hips from the floor. Contract your thighs and tailbone toward your pubis. Continue lifting until your arms are fully extended, creating an arch in your back. Push your shoulders down and lengthen your neck, gazing slightly upwards. Hold for 15-30 seconds and exhale as you lower your self back to a prone position.
Benefits: The Upward Facing Dog Pose improves your posture and strengthens your spine, arms and wrist.
Common postural errors: Raising the shoulders or dropping the thighs to the floor. Tips: Make sure your arms and legs are fully elongated to create the full extension, and drop your shoulders while lengthening your neck upwards.
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