Updated: Jul 9, 2022
Remember when you were young, and your mom would yell at you to stand up straight? You probably responded with an eye roll or heavy sigh, but now that we’re older, we realize mom was right.
Having good posture isn’t just about looks, either. There are many health benefits that come with standing or sitting correctly for our body. Keeping a neutral spine is easier for some people than for others. But as with most things in life, if we dedicate a little bit of focus and practice to the problem, we can improve it! And one of the best ways to improve our posture is through yoga. With our new Stax Yoga classes, we’ll have you standing up straight in no time!
Health Benefits of Good Posture
If you’ve ever spent all day hunched over a computer, there’s no doubt you’ve felt some neck or back pain caused by poor posture. But correcting this issue and sitting or standing properly has benefits well beyond helping a sore spine. Good posture also improves how some organ systems function as well.
Eliminate Pain in Your Back and Neck
Improper posture sees your pelvis, torso, and head stacked in a way that causes stress, and therefore pain, in your back and neck. Strengthening the proper muscles that support your spine and standing or sitting with good posture should relieve that achy back. This will, in turn, lower the tension you feel in your shoulders or neck.
That tension we create with poor posture often affects more than our shoulders and neck. It can also contribute to tension headaches. This is especially true for those who sit or stand with a forward head - typical for anyone working at a computer all day. Others store this tension in their jaw, which can cause TMJ.
We can either eliminate, minimize, or shorten these headaches by correcting our posture.
Improve Organ Function
Most of us are aware of how posture can affect our muscles, joints, and bones, but few realize how much it can affect other organ systems in our body. By correcting our posture, we can improve lung capacity, circulation, and digestion.
Slouching compresses your lungs, so when you stand up straight and tall, you give them more room to expand properly. Unfortunately, this compression also affects other vital organs, affecting proper circulation and digestion. Good posture will allow the free flow of blood, food, and digestive juices.
Make You Appear Taller
Straight up and simple; good posture will make you appear taller. And who doesn't want that?!
Boost Your Energy and Your Mood
Last but certainly not least comes the positive effects for your mind! Having good posture can improve your energy levels throughout the day. This is because when you are using your muscles as they are meant to be used, they don’t fatigue as quickly. Good posture preserves your energy for other things. Good posture can also improve your mood, concentration, and even self-confidence.
Good Posture is Also Important While Exercising
Other types of exercise can also help improve posture, including core or back exercises. But even more important is your posture when exercising.
Proper form while exercising is crucial to prevent injuries or strains caused by performing exercises improperly. Improving your posture through yoga will also help guarantee that you’re using the proper form during other physical activities. This not only prevents injury but also improves results.
Does Yoga Improve Posture?
Practicing yoga isn't the end-all cure, but it definitely helps us begin our journey towards good posture. Yoga does three main things for us when we're on this journey:
Strengthens our back and core muscles
Improves our spine's mobility
Makes us more self-aware of our body positioning (perhaps the most important)
Plenty of yoga poses open the chest and shoulders, lengthen the spine, or create more flexibility. The main focus on poses, however, is body alignment. By focusing on this throughout the practice, we become much more in tune with ourselves. This connection will help you notice when you slump into bad posture in your day-to-day life.
8 Yoga Poses to Help Correct Posture
Pretty much any style of yoga and any pose that you do during your practice will help your posture. But some poses focus a bit more on areas that will correct your posture, like opening the shoulders or lengthening the spine.
Here are some beginner poses you can try at home, but remember that executing the pose properly is crucial. So come practice with us at the gym or check out The Pose Library at the Yoga Journal to make sure you're doing the poses correctly.
While this pose might not seem like it’s doing much, it is actually the perfect pose to work on posture. Make sure to focus on each part of the body and where it is stacked up. This pose is a foundational pose for any yoga practice.
By stretching your entire body, you have a chance to feel the differences on either side of the body. You must be careful to keep the spine straight, bringing awareness to your posture.
This is a flow between two poses that extends and flexes the spine, increasing mobility and flexibility. Practicing this pose often will show you the natural curve of your spine, which helps you arrive at neutral more easily.
A few seated twist poses are great for posture, but beginners can start with this basic seated twist. It will help elongate and stretch the spine.
Cobra pose is a beginner backbend that will open the chest and stretch the shoulders. It also lengthens the spine and can relieve back pain.
This pose stretches the hamstrings, lengthening the lower back. It can also provide relief from neck and shoulder tension.
Standing Forward Fold
This simple pose is often misunderstood and taken for granted. Its purpose is to extend and stretch the entire back body, from the lower back through the neck.
While difficult for beginners, this position eventually becomes a resting pose. It opens the shoulders and chest while straightening and aligning the spine.
Want to get your flow on?
If you're ready to get bendy and improve that posture, we highly recommend checking out a class with our friends at 6IX Flow...
Located in the lower level of 720 17 Ave SW, 6IX Flow is a music driven, candle-lit, sweat-infused hot yoga practice to help you connect movement to breath with full intention, while connecting to your body and the beat.
Use promocode STAXFLOWS for a class on the house! (Select ‘financially secure’ from the sliding scale drop-in to redeem code.)