Having good posture can go a long way towards a healthy body. Good posture helps correct and prevent spine pain, helps organs function better, and can reduce the frequency of headaches. You will also find that once you correct poor posture, your breathing improves along with improved digestion and blood circulation.
There are many ways to improve bad posture. Even if don’t think you suffer from poor posture, it may have developed slowly over time. Poor posture will only worsen if not corrected. With exercise your muscles will become stronger, and your body will naturally correct itself.
Yoga is a great way to improve your body’s overall health and many of the poses will also improve your posture. When practicing yoga, you are using your body’s own weight to build and maintain proper muscle strength and development. Consequently, you will also strengthen your core muscles, which play a significant role in proper posture. All you need is a yoga mat to get started. Here we offer a list of simple exercises you can do to help correct poor posture.
1. Plank Pose
You can do this pose without one, but a yoga mat will undoubtedly add padding for your palms. To practice this core-building exercise, simply do the following:
- Get down on your hands and knees.
- Spread your fingers wide, palms down on the floor.
- Keep your feet shoulder width apart as you stretch your legs straight back.
- Press the floor away using your hands.
- Lift your hips to be in line with your shoulders, but don’t let your spine dip!
- Hold for ten seconds and release.
- Repeat three or four times for a beginner, working your way up to thirty seconds and, ultimately, a full minute or more.
2. Camel Pose
This move has different variations but is useful for undoing the forward hunching of your shoulders from working at a desk or after spending a lot of time on a computer or smartphone. To reap the benefits of this pose, follow the steps below:
- Kneel on the floor with your knees shoulder-width apart.
- Place both of your palms into your lower back to protect your lumbar spine.
- Press your hips forward
- Lift your chest up
- Shift your gaze upward and look up towards the ceiling
- Keep your thighs active, and your shoulders relaxed, away from your ears (don’t hunch!)
- Hold for three counts and gently release.
3. Open your Chest to Increase Lung Capacity
Stand straight with your feet about should-width apart. Lace your fingers together behind your back and hold for about twenty seconds.
This exercise helps strengthen your chest and pectoral muscles. Slouching in a chair can compress your lungs. This exercise will elongate your lungs and help improve your breathing too.
4. Overhead Arm Raise
This super-easy exercise can be done at your desk, either at home or at work. Start by sitting with your feet together and your spine erect. Your weight should be even on both hips. Let your arms drop naturally (and gently) to your sides and then raise them over your head. Return to the start position and repeat this exercise daily for maximum benefit.
5. Corner Stretch
This stretch can be done in any corner and at any time of the day. In an open and uncluttered corner where two walls come together, place your arms up at a ninety-degree angle (parallel to the floor). Next, inhale. Pull your shoulders downward and press your forearms against the walls.
You should have one arm on one wall and the other arm on the other wall. Exhale and step forward into the corner, as if performing a forward lunge. As you step forward, lift your eyes and chest a little. Hold this position and breathe. Then bring down your shoulders. Lift your chest and exhale. Reach toward the corner. Breathe three to five times. Take a step back and release the stretch. Once you’ve done this with your right foot, do it with your left foot.
6. Shoulder Stretch
Sit or stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. If sitting, be sure that your weight is evenly distributed on both sides. Shift your shoulder blades toward the back. Raise your forearms into ninety-degree angles (parallel to the floor) on each side of your body. Pull your shoulder blades together. It should feel as if you are squeezing them but be sure not to overdo it. Complete three sets of twelve reps to achieve maximum benefit.
Additional exercise to help poor posture:
8. Hip Flexor Stretches
9. Child’s Pose
10. Mountain Pose