Does Yoga Improve Posture? 5 Poses That'll Help You Sit Up A Little Straighter
From slouching all day long at a desk job, to hunching over your phone with a perpetually strained neck, proper posture is definitely a rare thing to come by these days. TBH, at one point, I felt like I literally was taking two inches off my height because of my annoying habit of slouching. But after I started hitting up vinyasa classes on the reg, I noticed myself becoming much more aware of my rounded shoulders and slumped back, which made me wonder, does yoga improve your posture?
Poor posture might seem like a trivial thing to worry about, but it's not something that'll just take an inch or two off your height. Habitual slouching over time can lead to more serious health issues like muscle strain, disk problems, and joint pain.
So, before you let it get to a debilitating point, allow the power of yoga to straighten up your spine ASAP. And, look, I'm not saying that signing up for a single class at your local studio is automatically going to reverse your tendency to slouch. But, yoga is all about bringing more awareness into the mind and body, and becoming aware of when you're habitually hunching over is an important first step in correcting your posture overall.
By including a few of these yoga poses into your everyday routine, you'll be on the road to standing tall and proud in no time.
1. Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
Mountain pose is the ultimate spine-straightener because it literally teaches you the correct way to stand. That might seem absurd, but honestly, when people walk into a yoga class and do this pose as instructed, they realize that they haven't actually stood up tall and straight in a long time.
As you stand in mountain pose, be sure to tuck your tailbone slightly, and let your shoulder blades slide down your back. Pretend there's an imaginary string attached to the top of your head that's drawing your entire body upward, making your posture is as pristine as possible.
2. Tree Pose (Vriksasana)
Maintaining focus and proper posture in tree pose is what's required to maintain your balance, so you're basically forced to keep your spine super straight for this bad boy.
Keep your chest open in this pose and, with your hands in prayer position, press your thumbs into your heart space to feel a deep connection to your inner self.
Find a non-moving object to focus on to help you maintain balance, and continue to envision that imaginary string attached to the crown of your head. Breathe deeply, and feel your spine elongating with each breath.
3. Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)
Before you fold forward into this bend, make sure your spine is lengthened and your back is flat. This is a great way to instill proper posture, even though you won't technically be standing tall.
Keep in mind that, if you round your spine here, it might lead to strain in the lower back and sacrum, so lengthening and straightening the spine as much as possible is imperative for a comfortable, injury-free forward fold.
Bend your knees slightly if your hamstrings aren't ready for a deeper version of this asana, and maybe even rest your upper body on your thighs for a more relaxing and restorative version of the pose.
4. Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
A kickass downward facing dog requires strength, flexibility, and stability — all things that will help you establish that amazing posture you're striving for.
Make sure to spread your fingers wide in this asana so that you have a lot of surface area in your palms, and you won't be putting too much pressure on your wrists. Aim to get your heels to touch down as close as possible to your mat, but don't be discouraged if they're not there just yet.
Focus on drawing your navel inward toward your spine, which will really help lengthen your entire your body and promote good posture.
5. Upward Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)
Upward facing dog will strengthen your back and create lots of healthy space in your chest to reverse all the slouching and hunching you've grown accustomed to.
As you lift your upper body off the ground, draw your shoulders toward the back of the room, and direct your gaze upward, making sure this feels comfortable for your body.
If your neck and back are aching from scrolling through memes for hours on end ("tech neck" is real, people), this pose will do wonders to relieve the tension and direct your spine back to its normal, natural curves.
On your inhale, feel the strength and stability that your body is capable of maintaining. On your exhale, consider taking the backbend a bit deeper.