Hunching over a computer, looking down at a phone, and slouching on the sofa inevitably lead to posture issues.
Poor posture can lead to various health complaints such as head, neck, and shoulder pain, reduced blood circulation, reduced lung function, and poor metabolism and digestive issues. Problems with your posture can also even affect your state of mind, self-esteem, and energy levels. It’s essential to address poor posture as it can lead to debilitating conditions such as osteoporosis in later life.
The good news is that you can program your body to stand tall. Regular Yoga practice cultivates good posture habits and develops the muscles that keep you correctly poised. As a result, you solve pain, gain confidence, and increase vitality.
Although correcting your posture may feel uncomfortable at first, you’ll get to the point where you naturally sit and stand correctly without having to think about it. The trick is to practice Yoga regularly until it feels natural.
What is posture?
Signs of a problematic posture include:
- Hunched shoulders
- Flat feet
- Tilted pelvis
- Muscle fatigue
- Low energy
- Forward head position
Naturally, your spine shouldn’t be dead straight. Ideally, you would have three slight curves in the spine – at the top, middle, and bottom of the spine.
Kyphosis (hunchback) is commonly the result of computer work and looking down at a phone. Sitting in this position eventually causes the spine to curve resulting in a hunched appearance. If you’ve always worked in desk-oriented work your chances of developing a deeper kyphotic curve are higher. But never fear! It simply takes some mindfulness and specific movements to prevent painful problems later.
Certain Yoga poses lengthen the spine and increase its flexibility. Other poses open the chest and strengthen the back which is fantastic for straightening up after working at a desk. Yoga also strengthens your body to maintain the correct form. Today we share our favorite ten poses that are particularly beneficial for improving and maintaining good posture.
Seated Twist (Arda Matsyendrasana)
Seated twist targets posture in several ways. First, the twisting motion increases spine mobility. If you suffer from neck and shoulder pain, you’ll gain relief with this pose as it stretches the neck, shoulders, chest, and back muscles.
Do this pose frequently, and you’ll drastically reduce any neck pain caused by working at a desk.
Sphinx Pose (Salamba Bhujangasana)
Sphinx Pose is a variation of Cobra pose and is a beginning backbend posture that helps to promote extension flexibility in our spine. Backbending motions also improve posture by strengthening the upper back, spine, and shoulders.
Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Downward Facing Dog elongates and aligns the spine, stretches tight hamstrings, and builds strength in the chest, shoulder and arm muscles. Those of us who sit at a desk tend to have tight yet weak chest muscles. This pose relieves pressure in the neck, shoulders and upper back.
The key to great posture is a strong core. And Plank pose is ideal for strengthening the core muscle group. Holding this pose can be challenging, however regular practice will improve strength in the deep transverse abdominals, pelvic floor, back, and obliques. Strong core muscles help to hold your spine and posture well.
Cobra Pose (Bhujanagasana)
A progression from Sphinx Pose is Cobra Pose. This is another back bending posture that will help align and strengthen the back. Backbending poses do the complete opposite to your posture when you sit at a desk. Desk working causes tight chest muscles, a major cause of slouching.
Reverse Warrior (Urdhva Virabhadrasana)
This challenging pose benefits posture because it strengthens the legs, core, shoulders, neck, and torso. Reverse Warrior also opens the chest and shoulders, which mitigates some issues with posture. Furthermore, when you practice this pose regularly you can considerably relieve lower back pain.
Warrior 3 (Virabhadrasana 3)
A stable core is vital for maintaining good posture, and Warrior 3 deeply activates the core muscles. This posture strengthens the back of the body and cultivates whole-body stability. As Warrior 3 also provides a stretch, it improves the flexibility of the hamstrings, spine and shoulders.
Wide-Legged Forward Fold Variation (Prasarita Padottanasana Variation)
Wide-Legged Forward Fold is great for giving the spine, inner thighs, hips and hamstrings a good stretch. As you fold over you lengthen tight hamstrings,hip extensors, and spine, which creates space in the back.. This pose also stretches the lower back and takes the pressure off.
Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)
This is another chest and spine opener that stretches tight pectorals and improves spine mobility. Research has shown that this pose can increase the flexibility of the back no matter what age you are.
Keep It Up
Provided that you don’t have any neck or back injuries, these yoga poses will get you sitting and standing comfortably. Consistency is key however. You won’t see results unless you practice at least weekly.
If you suffer from neck, shoulder, or back injuries you might want to double-check with your GP before diving in. Some poses may make certain conditions worse.
Never push too far when doing Yoga. Always work within your limits, and listen to your body.
It’s advisable to attend a class run by an experienced Yoga practitioner who is knowledgeable about anatomy. At Yogafurie you’ll find experienced, knowledgeable and approachable teachers who truly understand anatomy as it applies in Yoga.
You can learn these poses and improve your Yoga practice conveniently anywhere in the world with our online Yoga platform yogafurieonline.com. Or alternatively, if you are based in or near Bristol, come to visit our studio and enjoy a Hot Yoga class with us.