Yoga For Better Posture
Funny but I am writing this, hunched over my computer on my break from my night class. Oops. Posture check. Okay now that I am sitting up nice and tall here it goes.....
A large amount of the population spends the majority of their day at an office job. Even those that don’t have an office job spend a lot of time at a computer. And I’m going to guess that even more people spend half their day looking down at their iPhone. The woes of the modern world.
And unfortunately, what does that lead to? Poor posture. And who really wants that? No one. So that leads me to my last question, just how many people spend their days with rounded shoulders and their chin sticking out a little? Everyone? The student, the accountant, the blogger, even the yoga instructor. Poor posture haunts us all alike. And let’s be real, poor posture isn’t the cute and it’s not really comfortable either.
Poor posture usually results in weak, overstretched back muscles, tight pec muscles (chest muscles), tension in upper traps and neck and lots of uncomfortable muscles here and there. By using yoga poses that target chest opening and upper back strengthening, you can start to fight the daily wear and tear of poor posture on your body.
Top 4 poses for Better Posture
How: Laying on your belly, Bring your chin and forehand onto the mat, arms down by your sides, palms facing down. Inhale and lift your chest off the mat, exhale extend your arms long down your side, lifting your palms and feet off the mat. Keep your neck long by looking about a foot in front of your mat while squeezing your shoulder blades down your back. Focus on lengthening your body from the crown of your head to the tips of your toes.
Why: This pose strengthens the muscles of your upper back. By squeezing your shoulder blades down and back you activate the muscles that control your scapula (otherwise known as shoulder blades). By strengthening these muscles your body can better hold your scapula in place while looking at a computer all day.
How: Laying on your back, bend your knees and place your feet flat on the mat. Press down with your heels and shoulder blades as you squeeze your glutes to lift your bum off your mat. Interlace your hands at your low back and squeeze your shoulder blades down and back. Open up across your chest as you press your hands away from your bum.
Why: This pose is double duty. Opening up of the chest muscles and strengthening the back side of your body. By interlacing your hands behind your back and tucking your shoulder blades behind your back, you open up across the collar bone and chest. Bridge pose strengthens your glutes (butt muscles!) which help support you in standing in order to hold yourself proud and tall.
Upward Facing Dog
How: Press the tops of your feet into the mat and your palms into the mat. Thighs lift off the mat as you activate your quads to lift off the mat. Pinch your shoulder blades down and back your entire back as you lift your chest through your upper arms. Make sure your neck stays long as you breathe into the space across your chest.
Why: Another dose of chest opening and upper back strengthening. By pinching the shoulder blades down your back, you are not only opening up across your chest (once again) but you are also strengthening those muscles that control your scapula (there might be a theme here…..)
How: Laying on your belly, Bring your chin and forehand onto the mat, Bend your knees and grab the outside of your ankles. Before lifting up, squeeze your knees into midline. Inhale to lift your chest up and exhale to press your feet into your hands, continuing to hug your knees into midline.
Why: Alright last bit of double duty here… As your press your feet into your hands, you open up the front of your shoulders and your chest. In order to keep your shoulder blades in proper alignment, your upper back muscles are working to hold them in line.
Hold these poses for 5-10 breathes each. Focusing on opening up through your chest and engaging the muscles of your upper back.
These poses are not a cure all but they focus on important muscles that help improve posture. Overall, chest opening and upper back strengthening are key for improving posture A few other tips for better posture are:
- Set an alarm every half hour to check in on your own posture
- Elevate your laptop or computer so it is in line with your eyes
- Take a break every hour or so to stretch out, shake out your shoulders.
Better posture is in your future. I can see it if I sit up nice and tall and look ahead ;)