Have you ever looked at a candid picture of yourself and were shocked at what you saw? Bad posture has become incredibly prevalent among people of all ages and it can hinder the overall aesthetic you're trying to achieve. Since our posture tends to get worse each year, it's incredibly important to get ahead of the negative progression early, as it will be more difficult to correct later on.
Some of the most common causes of bad posture in young adults are sitting for long periods of time, looking down at a cell phone (or laptop screen) frequently, and over-training muscles on the anterior (front) side of the body. Below are four yoga poses that are effective in strengthening the posterior (back) side of your body and lengthening/stretching the anterior side. A combination of these will improve your posture by helping you stand tall and prevent slouching. I like to practice this sequence in the morning when I first wake up (or after long car rides!), holding each pose for about ten breaths. Try to perform this routine daily for best results, as you will see more immediate changes to your posture the more consistently you practice it.
Camel Pose (Ustrasana): This pose improves your posture by stretching the entire front side of your body. It opens up your abdomen, chest, and hip flexors while correcting a forward-craned neck often caused by cell phone usage. This pose also strengthens your back muscles in order to help you stand tall.
Balancing Table Pose (Dandayamna Bharmanasana): This pose helps to strengthen and lengthen the muscles surrounding your spine. It also improves balance and core strength to help you stand tall. Try to envision pulling the extended hand and foot away from one another to enhance the lengthening of your spine.
Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana): This pose stretches the quadriceps, hip-flexors, abdomen, and chest. It's a great pose for individuals who sit a lot throughout the day and/or have tight hip flexors. By lengthening the hip flexors, it can relieve lower back pain and improve upright posture.
Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana): This pose strengthens your back, glutes, and shoulder muscles that help you stand tall and improve your posture. It also stretches the anterior muscles of our chest, abdomen, and hip flexors which, when over-trained, can cause sway back and rounded shoulders.
I always like to finish my yoga routine with child's pose (balasana). After lengthening the anterior side of the body, it is always important to also stretch the posterior side. (Not to mention this may be one of the most relaxing poses imaginable! Coming in a close second behind savasana ;))
Try these poses out for yourself and with consistent practice, you WILL see significant improvements to your posture and mobility. It's amazing what a big difference stretching makes in all facets of wellness!
Check back for more routines in the future or contact Erin below for a customized exercise plan to help reach your goals!