11 Incredible Yoga Poses to Improve Posture

For those who have physically demanding jobs, work at a desk or computer for hours at a time, or are required to be mindful of ergonomics when executing with precision, control, and concentration (*cough, dentists, cough*), posture matters.

Spine-health.com: “You may not feel any ill-effects after sitting with poor posture for a few hours, but over time the stress that poor posture places on your spine can lead to anatomical changes in your spine. This in turn can provoke back pain through the constriction of your blood vessels and nerves. In addition, the stress from poor posture can lead to back pain by causing problems with your muscles, discs, and joints.” If you already have back pain of any kind, you probably know how hindering it can be to basic tasks and comfort in your daily life.

How can yoga improve my posture?

Improving posture is among the many great health benefits of yoga. I personally have felt strains in certain areas of my back because of years of poor posture (yes mom, I know I should have listened to you when you told me to stand up straight every day). Ever since I started my yoga practice, however, I feel less strain in my back and neck throughout the day; the nature of the practice requires you to have proper spinal alignment and therefore, builds certain muscles to keep that alignment throughout your daily life. Strengthening your back muscles requires persistence, consistency, and patience, especially if you are “undo-ing damage” rather than being strictly preventative.

The following poses have an awesome dual action: they’re great for relieving back pain, and building back strength. With more and more practice, the complex poses will come naturally! I encourage anyone who is already practicing to incorporate these poses for your back, and those who are just beginning, give them a try! Ask your yoga instructor to incorporate back strengthening in your practice – they’ll be happy to, I guarantee it.

In yoga, doing something “perfectly” is known as a nonexistent idea; there is no such thing as a perfect practice. Wherever you are with any pose or stretch is great, and slowly your body will begin to show more and more improvement. This is all about positively building ourselves up for more inner peace, less physical discomfort, and greater strength overall. We all have to start somewhere! In order to get a fuller description of a pose (including more benefits, a step-by-step guide, videos, and modifications) visit my favorite yoga resource: The Yoga Journal.

NOTE: if you have any back or neck injuries, please ask your yoga instructor before attempting these poses by yourself or in your practice. ALWAYS make sure your instructor is aware of any injuries in any areas of your body before starting.

Mountain pose (Tadasana):

  • Benefits: improves posture, strengthens thighs, knees, ankles, increases awareness, firms abdomen and gluts, reduces flat feet.
  • How to do it:
    • mountainhp2_292_37362_cmyk

Tree Pose (Vrksasana):

  • Benefits: strengthens spine, calves, thighs, ankles, stretches groin, chest, and shoulders, improves sense of balance.
  • How to do it:
    • Tree-p50

Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana):

  • Benefits: strengthens spine and soothes sciatica, relieves stress and fatigue, stretches chest, shoulders, and lungs (therapeutic for asthma), firms gluts.
  • How to do it:
    • 3yp_287_6710_gn_bjk

Cow Face Pose (Gomukhasana): 

  • Benefits: strengthens spine and abdominals, helps decompress lower spine, deep stretch of hips, ankles, thighs, shoulders, armpit, chest, deltoid and triceps.
  • How to do it:
    • gomukhasana

Plank Pose (Phalakasana):

  • Benefits: strengthens wrists, arms, and spine, tones abs.
  • How to do it:
    • editplankhp2_292_37428_cmyk

Camel Pose (Ustrasana):

  • Benefits: improves posture, strengthens back muscles, stretches psoas muscle (deep hip), opens abdomen and neck.
  • How to do it:
    • CamelPose

Downward Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana):

  • Benefits: relieves back pain and fatigue, helps prevent osteoporosis, therapeutic for high blood pressure, asthma, flat feet, sciatica, and sinusitis, calms the brain and helps relieve stress and mild depression, strengthens arms and legs, improves digestion.
  • How to do it:
    • DownwardFDog-p15

Cat and Cow Pose (Marjaryasana and Bitilasana):

  • Benefits:
    • Cat: stretches the back and neck, provides gentle massage to spine.
    • Cow: stretches the front and neck, gentle massage to spine.
  • How to do it:
    • Cat-And-Cow-Pose.gif

Forward Fold Pose (Ardha Uttanasana):

  • Benefits: strengthens back and improves posture.
  • How to do it:
    • hpforwardbend2

Wheel Pose (Urdhva Dhanurasana):

  • Benefits: therapeutic for asthma, back pain, and osteoporosis, stimulates the thyroid and pituitary, beneficial for depression, strengthens abs and spine.
  • How to do it: IMG_2934.JPG-1

 

 

Sources and Images:
http://www.yogajournal.com/poses
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4151237/
https://www.spine-health.com/wellness/ergonomics/posture-straighten-your-back
http://www.active.com/health/articles/pose-of-the-month-cow-face
https://www.spine-health.com/wellness/ergonomics/good-posture-helps-reduce-back-pain

10 thoughts on “11 Incredible Yoga Poses to Improve Posture

  1. mystyle5 says:

    Thanks for sharing these poses with everyone, I think it’s so important to practice yoga at least from time to time. It’s great for your body on so many levels and after every session, I feel like I had a great workout and massage session at once. Love it!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Aleksandra says:

    Some of those look quite interesting but I have a personal hatred for the plank and how tough it is for me with my lack of core strength. Though I guess the only way to improve it is to do it!

    Like

    • Navi says:

      The plank can definitely be hard to hold! But choosing to do it, not matter how tough it is for you, is how we build that strength and mental perseverance. Keep going at it, Aleksandra! You’ll be able to get through it in no time.

      Like

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