A few years I began to experience quite a lot of lower back pain. The main cause of the pain was my poor posture. This is one of the consequence of modern lifestyles where I spend long hours of the days hunched and slouched over a desk. Since practising yoga regularly I rarely experience any back pain or even stiffness. I have also seen major improvements in my overall posture.
Yoga will fix your posture by stretching and strengthening body parts linked to posture. It increases body awareness and flexibility and makes your upper back and core stronger. Some essential poses that improve your posture include downward dog, cobra pose, cat-cow pose, and warrior pose.
In this article, I will discuss the scientific basis of the claim that yoga improves your posture. I will also look at the postural benefits of ten yoga poses and why it is critical to combine them with good posture habits.
How Yoga Fixes Your Bad Posture
Fixing a bad posture takes time. You won’t see improvements overnight or even in a few weeks. It is best to give yoga a few months to strengthen your upper back, open your chest, and make your hip muscles flexible. The good news is that results are almost guaranteed as long as you also make positive changes in your lifestyle.
Practising yoga poses yields the following benefits, all which play a role in improving your postural habits:
Increased Body Awareness
Bad posture is often the result of habit. People slouch while sitting or standing without even noticing it. This causes terrible postural habits to stick hard and further deteriorate your posture.
We know that yoga teaches us the importance of breathing and relaxation. However, it also promotes awareness of the body through various poses. When you practice yogic exercises, you focus on different physical aspects of the body. This includes position, movement, and function.
Research shows that yoga practitioners have increased awareness of their bodies. This improved perception helps you spot issues with your posture and remove them. The more you’re aware of your body posture, the more times you’ll interrupt and fix it throughout the day.
Improved Upper-Back and Shoulder
Poor posture habits lead to rounded shoulders, which affect your health and appearance in a negative way. This can be harmful to the body if you neglect it. Sitting on a chair for long hours means you’re hunching forward most of the time. This causes our chest muscles to tighten and the upper back to weaken.
Research suggests that yoga strengthens our upper back and trunk. When the upper back is strong, our chest muscles loosen up, and we’re able to stand straight without hunching forward. Trunk strength is also connected to our posture, and increasing it is a step in the right direction.
If you notice pain in your upper back while sitting on a chair, you should start practising yoga stretches targeting that area.
Enhanced Core Strength
Core strength is critical for maintaining spinal health and good posture. A lack of core strength leads to muscle imbalances and instability of posture. It causes your lower back muscles to become shorter and tighter. And it also causes your postural muscles in the abdomen to become longer and weaker.
Yoga has been proved to improve core muscle function and core stability. A strong core helps you stand straight and keep your trunk stabilised. It is one of the critical factors in developing good postural habits. Apart from that, core strength is also essential for getting rid of lower back pain. Yogic exercises address it in a direct way and works to enhance your posture.
It’s easy to imagine how yoga enhances your flexibility. It is one of the widespread benefits of yoga, and of course, it is backed by scientific research.
But what role does flexibility play in your posture? Being flexible allows your body to correct any muscle imbalances and have proper alignment. It also increases the range of motion so that you find it easier to sit and stand in different ways.
Besides improving your posture, increased flexibility also prevents injuries and pains. So you can’t go wrong by practising yogic stretches for flexibility.
10 Yoga Poses To Improve Your Posture
Yoga offers various benefits for both the body and the mind. There are yogic exercises for every mental and physical health issue out there, and posture is no exception. Most yoga poses affect your upper back, trunk, neck, chest, and hips. They stretch these body parts supporting your posture.
Try this: sit on a chair for an hour or two and then perform a few of the following poses. You’ll immediately feel relieved and be inspired to practice them often.
Here are the yoga poses that improve your posture:
This pose is very beneficial as it stretches your entire body and affects the areas linked to posture. Strong and flexible muscles are at the core of good posture. Downward dog pose stretches and strengthens your back, hands, thighs, calves, and feet.
Although it may look like just standing, this pose encourages you to stand up straight. You are also making sure all your body parts are correctly aligned. It breaks your habit of unconsciously slouching and helps develop good postural habits.
It is another pose that forces you to stand straight, this time only on one leg. Replicating the solid stance of a tree, it opens your hips and strengthens your legs. It also improves your body awareness and helps you stand correctly throughout the day.
This is one of the best yoga poses for your back because it strengthens your upper back and counters rounded shoulders. Your shoulders will pull back on their own as your upper back becomes stronger.
It is a stress-relieving pose that relaxes your entire back and shoulders. It is performed after practising other yoga poses to relax the body.
We’ve seen how important core strength is when it comes to posture. Plank pose strengthens your belly, taking some of the stress off your back. This allows you to stand up straight more easily.
Standing Forward Bend
It helps you achieve better posture by stretching your hamstrings, hips, and calves. It is a relaxing and stress-relieving pose that also strengthens the knees and thighs. You must perform this one during your breaks from sitting.
This is an extremely useful pose that stretches and strengthens your neck and spine. It stretches your hips, back, and abdomen. It also increases coordination and improving your posture and balance.
It stretches and opens your chest, allowing you to sit and stand straight instead of hunching forward. This pose also stretches and strengthens your arms, shoulders and upper back. Your neck, belly, ankles, calves, and thighs will also see benefits from this pose and also improves your flexibility.
This is a comparatively difficult pose, but it has remarkable benefits. It improves your posture by stretching your hip muscles, calves, back, chest, and shoulders.
Yoga can undoubtedly fix a bad posture. Several yoga stretches strengthen your core and upper back, stretch your chest, and improve your flexibility. These things are crucial for developing a good posture as they support the body in sitting and standing straight. However, remember that yoga works gradually. Don’t expect instant results as It’ll take you several months to start seeing the results.
Lastly, remember that you need to combine these poses with good posture habits. Sitting straight while working and taking regular breaks are vital. You also should follow an active lifestyle as it also crucial for having a healthy body and perfect posture.