6 Yoga Poses That Make You Feel Tall & Relieve The Pain In Your Hunched Over Shoulders
In 2018, hunching over is essentially second nature. From office jobs to smartphones, it might feel like your shoulders are perpetually rounded forward, and you’ve maybe even worried about shaving off a few inches from your height thanks to your posture. It can be hard to address this issue on a day-to-day basis (I'm not going to start holding my phone up at eye level like my mom, I'm sorry), but one of the simplest and most enjoyable ways to go about it is to practice yoga poses that make you feel tall and help straighten out your shoulders. I mean, at the very least, it's probably easier (and cheaper) than splurging on one of those fancy, posture-correcting office chairs, right?
Deny it all you want, but smartphones are seriously wreaking havoc on your shoulders, fam. In a press release sent to Elite Daily, Robert Gearhart, an operating room nurse and co-inventor of Body Aline (an exercise machine designed to strengthen the back and realign the spine) explained how "text neck" — aka the pain you feel and/or the damage you sustain from looking down at your phone, laptop, etc. all the time — isn't doing any favors for your posture: “Just look at any crowd of young people, chances are most are exhibiting very poor posture from tilting their head down to read their device," Gearhart said. "This forces their neck and back muscles to work at awkward angles — just to keep the body upright, and pain and strain is often the result."
Gearheart also cautioned that, since smartphones don't seem to be going anywhere any time soon, it looks like "text neck" is poised to become a legit health problem of epic proportions in the years ahead: “If the trend continues, it looks like in 20 years the number of people who will have spine issues due to this will be astronomical," Gearhart said. Uplifting! Not.
The good news is, the trend can be broken, and that's where yoga comes in, my friends. If you suspect your smartphone or your desk job (or a combination of both) are messing with your shoulders, try incorporating a few of these six yoga poses into your everyday routine. You might just notice yourself grow an inch or two taller, and no, it's not because these poses are "magical." Yoga's simply helping you work with what you've got, girl.
Mountain pose relieves tension throughout the body and encourages you to stand up as straight and as tall as your posture will allow.
Make sure you relax your shoulders in this asana by drawing them away from your ears. Try to picture a string of energy that starts around the crown of your head and draws your entire body upward. This is a great, general trick to keep in mind whenever and wherever if you're working on your posture, but in mountain pose, it'll always ensure you're standing up as straight as you can.
Easy pose is the go-to asana for meditation because it requires your spine to be as straight as your body allows, which helps you stay attentive throughout the session.
Personally, during my meditation sessions, my lower back tends to hurt a bit in easy pose. If this is the case for you, too, it's totally OK to ease into this asana by using a wall to support your back. Baby steps are more than acceptable on the road to becoming your tallest and most confident self.
Tree pose requires balance and focus when you integrate it into your yoga practice, but once you get the hang of it, you won't want to go a day without balancing on one leg.
If you want some added height in this pose, you can raise your arms above your head, swaying them back and forth like the branches of a vast, grounded tree.
Triangle pose, when done correctly, will feel absolutely amazing in your side body and spine, so make sure to pay special attention to alignment when practicing this one.
You'll eventually feel a luxurious side stretch in your body, a luscious lengthening of the spine, and a rejuvenating stretch of the neck — all of which will help ease any pain or discomfort in that "text neck" of yours.
Seated Forward Bend
If you want an amazing stretch for both your spine and your hamstrings, slip into a seated forward bend and let all of the amazing benefits of this pose wash over your being.
Be mindful to fold forward with a flat back in this posture, making sure not to round your spine and only folding forward as far as feels good for your body.
Child's pose may just seem like a simple and restful restorative pose, but if you reach as far forward as possible with your fingertips, it can provide your body with a nice, deep, lengthening stretch.
Sink your hips down into the mat and stretch your arms far ahead of you, reaching forward and savoring the amazing feeling this brings to your shoulders and neck.