I love yoga, been doing it for 12 years. Between my love of yoga and the only partly correct belief that it will fix your posture, it became the basis of my efforts to fix my posture. Here are 6 easy to do yoga postures that will help you in your efforts to heal your spine and correct your posture.
First off, note that this set of postures tends toward stretching and gentle back bends. I chose these because modern life and technology push us to hunch forward while holding tension in our backs and necks. So, without further ado:
- Savasana, corpse pose.
This may seem like an odd choice for improving posture, but bear with me. All day long, sitting, standing, walking, exercising, our spines are upright and bearing weight, often compounded with poor posture. So, give yourself a few minutes with your spine perfectly aligned and relaxed.
Lie on your back, heels together, feet falling open, hands at your side with palms up, facing the ceiling. Maybe briefly touch your hands together below your lower back to check that there is a slight, natural curve there. Relax your jaw. Maybe close your eyes. Now, let go. Relax, and give your spine a break.
- Thread the needle, to stretch the butt muscles.
Our glutes (butt muscles) are the laziest muscles in the body, and they are often underused and tight.
Cross your right ankle across your left knee. Clasp your hands behind your left knee and gently draw your left leg up. This will stretch your right side glutes and piriformis muscles. For a greater stretch, engage your core to maintain the natural arch of your lower spine. If you have no lumbar issues, you can give yourself a mild low back release by flattening your lower spine to the floor. Repeat for the left side.
- Cat/Cow, to mobilize the spine, and stretch the back muscles.
Start from table top; on hands and knees, thighs and arms vertical. Exhale slowly as you raise your back to the ceiling (cat). At the top, inhale slowly as you drop your belly toward the floor (cow). Repeat several times, exhaling a little more deeply for each cat, and inhaling a little more deeply for each cow. Maybe add a wave action to the spinal motion, activating the muscles of the spine a bit more dynamically than the traditional cat/cow.
- Dragon lunge, to stretch the hip flexors.
Kneel with your right shin vertical, hands on your knee, and left leg stretched straight behind. Point your left toes to the back. Straighten your spine, using your arms and right thigh for support. Keeping your body square to the front, gently relax your right leg to lower your hips, stretching the front of your left thigh. Maybe engage your core and gently arch into a gentle back bend. Maybe look up, or even a little back for a bit more back bend. Repeat for the other side.
- Sphinx pose, to relax the mid spine and give yourself a gentle back bend.
Lie on your belly, with your forearms on the floor, elbows beneath your shoulders, fingers pointing straight forward. Make sure your upper arm is vertical, and your jaw is parallel to the floor. Relax. The only energy you are using is to ensure balance, and the orientation of your head. Concentrate on the spine between and below your shoulder blades to make sure it is relaxed. This gives you a nice, gentle back bend. To increase the back bend, gently pull your elbows toward your feet.
- Child’s pose, to relax and reset the spine to its natural state.
Kneel and rest your upper body on your thighs. Find the most comfortable place for your feet and knees (for me, this is knees wide, and toes touching). Relax your head to the floor, and find the most comfortable place for your arms. Maybe that’s to the front, maybe wrapped around your legs behind you. Maybe you stack hands, or even fists, under your forehead. Whatever you do, be comfortable and relax.
- Return to Savasana.
Performing these postures will give your back a break, and help train the muscles critical for good posture. You notice I used the word maybe a lot in describing what to do. This isn’t yoga class, this is relaxation, and your body is unique to you. So play with it, find what works best for you.
As a final thought, 12 years into my practice, this sequence has become my go-to pre-class routine, it preps body and mind for what’s to come.
If you have a posture you find particularly useful for your back and posture, leave a comment below. If you’re shy, shoot me an email, I read them all. Meanwhile, lets all try to StandUpRight.