Are you prone to slumping or slouching? Chances are you’re doing it without even realizing it, most of us are. Postural problems take place due to hunching over a computer all day, driving a car, slumping over our phones, and much more. Furthermore, bad posture can lead to poor digestion, poor circulation, fatigue, impaired cardiovascular health, teeth grinding, and negatively impact your mood.
Poor posture also results in improper compression and constriction along the spine. But all of this can be rectified through exercise, especially yoga as it can correct your posture when practiced frequently. Several yoga poses help you correct the alignment of your body and cultivate an increased awareness of the spine, reversing bad posture. We’ve picked three beginner-level yoga poses that can get you started. We recommend working with a yoga instructor before you take things in your own hands to ensure safety.
1. Cat Cow Pose (Marjaiasana-Bitilasana)
The cat-cow pose is a breath-synchronized movement that flows from the cow tilt to the cat stretch. This asana inculcates freedom in your body as soon as you practice it as it opens the chest and frees up the spine. It also helps increase coordination, fosters intentional focus, and invigorates prana. By lengthening the spine, you improve circulation to the discs between the vertebrae, relieving stress from the back.
How to perform the cat-cow pose?
- Start in the tabletop position with your shoulders over your wrists and your hips over your knees.
- Begin with a neutral spine for the cow tilt. Inhale from the belly, pushing your stomach toward the floor and lifting your gaze upwards.
- For the cat stretch, exhale by pulling the belly button toward the spine and tilting the tailbone, allowing your chin to rest on your chest.
2. Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
Mountain pose or Tadasana is the basis of all standing yoga poses and it teaches you how to adjust your body in perfect vertical alignment. It helps correct muscle imbalance, improves posture, and deepens awareness of your spine. It’s easier to correct your posture when you’re in a simple, static pose like Tadasana.
How to perform the mountain pose?
- Stand with your big toes touching and your heels apart, keeping the outer edges of your feet parallel.
- Distribute your body weight evenly across your feet.
- Lift your arches and put pressure on the outer edges of your feet. While doing this, keep your knees slightly bent.
- Contract the muscles on the front of your thighs, lifting your kneecaps.
- Rotate your thighs inwards.
- Maintain the natural curve of your spine.
- Tighten your core and stack your shoulder blades to align with your pelvic bones, drawing your shoulders down and back.
- Arms should hang lose by your sides with a slight bend of the elbows with your palms facing the front.
- Keep your neck long and crown high.
- Take 5 to 10 deep breaths while you maintain this pose.
3. Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
The bridge pose helps open the chest and shoulders; the areas prone to tightening when people have bad posture. This gentle backbend strengthens your back and gives the spine more support, making it more flexible. It can be performed both as a resting pose or a strengthener and will bring you deep emotional and physiological benefits of opening the chest and thoracic spine.
How to perform the bridge pose?
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet hip distance apart.
- Move your feet closer to your lower back and press down firmly through your feet.
- Raise your hips, lifting from the pubic bone.
- Clasp your hands under your back and open up your chest by broadening your collarbones. Roll your upper thighs inwards and press down onto your heels to lift the back of your thighs higher.
- End by exhaling, releasing your thighs and lowering onto the floor. Keep your back in neutral position as you rest.
Regularly incorporate these poses in your practice to improve your posture and strengthen your spine. This will help avoid chronic back pain and make you feel more confident and stronger. If you’d like to embrace a full yoga practice that also targets other parts of your body, download the ThinkRight.me app.