Yoga for good posture

Due to a sedentary lifestyle and bad habits in daily activities, many Americans are prone to poor posture that has the characteristics of kyphosis, an excessively rounded upper spine, and lordosis, an excessively arched lower back. Because of its emphasis on correct posture, yoga can help reverse abnormal curvatures of the spine by correcting both the “hunched” curve that occurs in postural kyphosis and the “backward curve” that occurs in postural lordosis. And since posture has been found to affect every system in the body, the effectiveness of yoga in creating optimal spinal alignment also improves overall health and wellbeing.

The effects of bad posture

Bad posture can cause tension and pain in the neck, back, and shoulders. Poor posture can inhibit the circulation of blood and body fluids, reduce lung function and capacity, and reduce metabolism and digestion. Bad posture can also lead to depression, increased negative thoughts, decreased self-esteem, and decreased energy and vitality.

Correct posture, on the other hand, improves your energy levels and your general quality of life. In the subtle body, good posture helps keep the nadis or energy channels open and enables the chakras to function at their optimal level.

Can You Correct Bad Posture?

Most people have poor posture due to bad habits that can be easily fixed. When posture problems are related to problems like scoliosis and osteoarthritis, postural changes are limited and take longer. Cultivating body awareness is key to correcting your posture and creating good habits, and regular yoga practice is great for both. Getting used to sitting and standing correctly may not feel comfortable at first. Once your muscles are conditioned to help you sit and stand up, it will be comfortable and convenient.

What are the signs of bad posture?

  • Rounded or lowered shoulders
  • Head forward position
  • Neck and shoulder pain and tension
  • Sloping shoulders or pelvis
  • Knees bent when standing or walking
  • Back pain and pain in the limbs
  • Flat feet
  • Muscle fatigue and low energy
  • a headache

Reversal of a hump curve

Often a by-product of computer and desk work, kyphosis is often seen in association with chin and head protrusion. Upper back flexion poses help reverse that “hunched” curve and stretch the muscles in the front of the torso that are often chronically tense in this state. Practicing weight-bearing backbends, such as the inverted table pose, bridge pose, and arch pose, strengthens the back muscles to help maintain a corrected posture.

Reversal of a swayback curve

Hunchback vs. Swayback spine postures

Lordosis is often the result of weak abdominal muscles or overcompensation for other musculoskeletal imbalances. To correct this “swayback” curve, you must learn to “squeeze” your tailbone to flatten your lower back through the use of your abdominal and core muscles. You can explore this tilting movement of the tailbone in the curve of the lower back in the Cat Tilt Pose. Other lower back poses that activate the “tailbone tuck” to reverse the “swayback” curve and stretch the muscles of the lower back include child, rabbit, and standing angles. Building strength through poses that tense the core muscles of the abs and lower back, such as the boot, low plank, and balancing table, is most helpful.

Yoga poses to promote good posture

Spine elongation poses promote good posture and proper alignment of the vertebrae in both kyphosis and lordosis. As the spine elongates, it naturally moves towards proper alignment of the natural 3 slight curves in the cervical, thoracic and lumbar vertebrae. The most important yoga posture to master in order to achieve an optimal posture is Tadasana, the mountain posture. Many of the seated poses are similarly helpful in increasing awareness of spine alignment.

A general yoga practice helps promote good posture, but there are ten yoga poses that are especially helpful for cultivating awareness of alignment, increasing flexibility, and building strength. For the best results in improving your posture with yoga, practice as many of the following asanas as possible:

For a full list of yoga postures for kyphosis and lordosis, see our premium yoga therapy section.

The best yoga classes for good posture

Not all yoga classes are helpful in improving posture. It’s best to avoid strict styles like Vinyasa or Ashtanga. To learn how to adopt the correct posture, focus on alignment-based and gentle yoga styles, such as the following.

  • Gentle yoga
    The purpose of this slow course is to improve mental relaxation and flexibility, as well as strengthen muscles without causing undue stress. If you are new to yoga or lead a sedentary lifestyle and want to improve your health and reduce stress, this course is perfect for you.
  • Hutha Yoga
    This is generally a fundamental course at all levels that will help you improve your physical strength and flexibility. This style usually includes meditation and breathing exercises, as well as simple poses that lead to healthier lives as they relieve stress, relieve back pain, and prevent injury.
  • Yin yoga
    The course includes slow, deep, and long postures, which is important if your poor posture is due to muscle tension and tension.
  • Iyengar yoga
    With a strong focus on correct alignment, these courses deepen body awareness and mindfulness in posture. The long hold times of these poses build both strength and flexibility.
  • Core strength yoga
    These are usually short classes that use poses to strengthen the muscles that support your spine, abdomen, and core. In this course, you will learn the correct way to strengthen these muscles through a series of yoga poses that focus on isolating each of the major muscle groups.
  • Yoga for back pain
    If back pain is the cause of your poor posture, seek a course that specifically focuses on back pain relief. These therapeutic postures focus on creating flexibility and improving muscle alignment, which can help alleviate pain related to muscle imbalances.

Check your alignment

To check your alignment in Tadasana, use this technique: stand with your back to the wall and touch your heels. Then, adjust your hips, shoulders, and the back of your head so that they just lightly touch the wall. Without pressing any part of your body against the wall, straighten your lower back slightly against the wall and feel the tailbone pinch under it. Alternatively, you can use a mirror or have a friend check that your ankles, hips, shoulders, and head are aligned in a straight line.

How long does it take to correct posture?

Research tells us that it takes three to eight weeks to establish a new routine. So expect at least 30 days to see and feel an improvement in your posture. There are several factors that will affect the time it takes to correct your posture. For example, how many minutes you exercise per day and the level at which you take yoga classes will greatly affect your progress. How much your core strength is targeted and enhanced is also an important factor in seeing improved alignment of the natural curves of your spine. Further strengthening your postural muscles and improving and maintaining your posture can be a lifelong exercise.

Precautions and Contraindications

Kyphosis and / or lordosis caused by osteoporosis, severe scoliosis, spondylolisthesis, and ankylosing spondylitis can benefit from the therapeutic use of these poses, but it is necessary to consult a doctor before beginning any yoga practice. If the spine has developed osteoporosis or osteopenia, deep back bends such as camel, bow and wheel postures can be painful and even cause injury and should be avoided or approached with great caution.

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