Many of us spend hours each day hunched over our computers or even our phones. With the increase in people working from home since the pandemic started last year, it is even more important to focus on your posture as your work set up might be different than what you were used to in the office. Maintaining a good posture is an important aspect of your health. It ensures that your bones are well aligned with the rest of the body, and makes sure the tension in your muscles and ligaments is distributed evenly. To help you out, we wrote this blog to show you 5 easy yoga poses to improve your posture. We recommend practicing these poses for 10 minutes a day. Make sure you practice in front of a mirror so you can see your form. You don't need any equipment for these poses, but a comfortable yoga mat is always a good idea!
1. Mountain Pose
Mountain Pose (Tadasana) is a foundational yoga pose upon which all standing poses are built. This pose improves your awareness of your body and thereby your posture. It may not seem like much, but it can really challenge you. It is important to be aware of every part of your body and how each individual part aligns with the rest of your body. Keeping your body actively aligned and engaged through this pose is no small feat!
- Fan out your toes so you have a wide surface area of your foot touching the gound. If your ankles are touching, step out slightly.
- Feel how anchored you are to the floor through the bottom of your legs and feet.
- Engage your thighs, causing your kneecaps to rise.
- Rotate both of your thighs inward
- Find the natural curve of your spine, don't overcompensate your posture.
- Tighten your core and draw your bellybutton in and towards your back.
- Check that your shoulders are stacked above your hips.
- Shrug your shoulders up to your ears and roll them back to release your shoulder blades down.
- Let your arms hang naturally with the elbows slightly bent and the palms facing forward.
- Keep your neck long, your chin neutral and your ears in line with your shoulders and hips.
- Feel the crown of your head drawing up as if someone is pulling your head up by an invisible string
- Once you feel you are aligned, look at yourself in the mirror and check that you are. Take 5-10 breaths in this pose and release.
2. Cat-Cow Pose
Cat-Cow Pose (Chakravakrasana) is another great pose to improve your posture. It allows your body to flow through different back stretches to find the neutral curve of your spine and alleviate back pain. The movement through cat-cow pose is synchronous with your breath, which makes it a very relaxing flow to practice.
- Start in table pose, on your hands and knees, with your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips with a neutral spine. As you inhale and move into cow pose, where you lift your sit bones up, open your chest forward and let your stomach sink.
- Lift your head and look straight ahead. Relax your shoulders down and away from your ears.
- As you exhale, come into cat pose where you round your spine, and tuck in your tailbone as you press your hands into the floor.
- Let your head release towards the floor and relax.
3. Plank Pose
Another well known pose or exercise to improve you posture is plank pose. This pose engages your core and back to keep your spine in a neutral position. A strong core is essential for good posture, it helps you to stand straighter and keeps your trunk stable during a workout or even during your day-to-day activities.
1. Put your hands directly under your shoulders (slightly wider than shoulder width) and your toes into the floor as your bring your body up to a plank position.
2. Squeeze your core and glutes to maintain a solid plank. Your body should be in one line from your head to your back and down to your heels.
3. Keep your gaze slightly ahead and hold this position for about 20-30 seconds. Make sure to keep breathing throughout the pose.
4. Tree Pose
Tee Pose (Vrksana), combines strength and balance to improve your body awareness and posture. This pose can be tricky at first, but once you are able to come into this pose and focus on the alignment of your body and your breath, it can be extremely relaxing and a great way to improve your balance. This pose will build strength in your core and legs and give you a great stretch in your hips, inner thigh and groin.
- Start from Mountain Pose (Tadasana) and shift your weight into one of your feet, lifting the other off of the floor.
- Bend the knee of the foot you lifted up and bring the sole of this foot high into the inner thigh of your standing leg.
- To keep your balance make sure to use equal amount of pressure to press your foot into your thigh and your thigh into your foot. Make sure your hips are square to the front.
- Keep your gaze on something that doesn't move to keep your balance.
- Take 5 to 10 breaths, then lower your foot to the floor and repeat on the other side.
5. Cobra Pose
Cobra Pose (Bhujanghasana) is usually part of a Sun Salutation. It is a very powerful backbend that increases your spine mobility, relieves back pain and strengthens your back muscles and stretches out your chest and front of your body.
- Begin by lying down on your stomach. Put your palms on the ground right under your shoulders, bend your elbows back and keep them close to the sides of your body.
- Inhale and lift your chest off the floor by pushing your hands into your mat. Keep your pubic bone anchored to the mat and roll your shoulders back. Lift as high as is comfortable for you, you should not feel any pain.
- Keep your neck neutral and hold for 5-10 breaths.
Give these poses a try and let us know how you feel!