I’ve been cultivating the habit of good posture since I started practicing yoga 10 years ago.
It’s no easy fix, I’ll tell you that right now. Our culture requires us to stay in positions that do not support good posture for long periods of time. I can tell you from personal experience that I can often feel my shoulders rounding forward and my back hunching when I’m not conscious of how I’m sitting, standing, and walking. I continuously remind myself to ground down while lifting tall to embrace the natural curvature of the spine and to defy the pressure of gravity.
Good posture and yoga go hand-in-hand. When practicing yoga asana it’s imperative to focus on your alignment and to remember to support the spine and strengthen the major muscle groups so we can more easily stand proud. Better posture leads to better breathing, a better practice, and overall better living.
5 Ways to Improve Your Posture as a Yogi
1. Take Breaks
Many of us sit at a desk, have long commutes to and from work, and spend long periods of time in a single position. When we do these things day after day our posture starts to round down and forward with the pull of gravity.
Take a five-minute break every hour or so to get up, stretch, and move around. Go walk around outside the office and do a few sun salutations to stretch the spine and re-energize your muscles.
2. Morning and Night-time Rituals
I speak about creating and maintaining daily rituals in many of my articles, and it’s for good reason. It’s important to start and end the day with some body love. Wake up and do some gentle stretches and breathing exercises before you start the day. Before bed get cozy on a hard floor and let all the muscles in the body relax and lengthen out. A simple five to ten minute routine in the morning and evening with have lasting benefits on your body.
3. Practice. Patience. Process.
Beautiful posture does not just happen because we want it to, it’s a process, so work for it. It’s a continuous battle with gravity to sit tall and proud. When you’re driving and sitting at work make sure to practice illustrious posture by towering the spine long with your shoulders relaxed and chin parallel to the earth. Practice until your sick of practicing, and then practice more. Just like in your yoga classes, practice patience – lots and lots of patience.
4. Core, Core, Core
The core is our powerhouse. When we do ab work it’s not just so we look and feel good in a swimsuit, it’s to help strengthen the muscles that support the spine. A strong core is your foundation to better posture, and as we learn in our yoga classes, it all starts with our foundation. Add an abdominal workout to your routine (Boat Pose and Plank are great options) and try uplifting breathing exercises like Breath of Fire.
5. Hard Work Pays Off
Good posture isn’t just about looking pretty. When we are perched tall and proud we actually feel good. You will start to notice a boost in your confidence and a positive state of mind. Your breathing will be full, smooth, and unhindered by hunching over. People will be drawn to you and you’ll begin to feel a sense of lightness, lengthening, and inner peace.