Does your back stiffen while you bend? Or have you been experiencing intense pain in your shoulders and neck? If your answer is a yes, then it is the time you pay close attention to your posture.
Sitting for long hours in front of the posture coupled with a sedentary lifestyle can lead to slouching and with time, you will be having a posture akin to that of the cavemen.
Some of the worrisome impacts of these bad habits, as I would like to call them, include:
- Back pain
- Frozen neck and shoulders
- Infertility issues
- The ‘belly’
- Menstrual cycle troubles and so on.
Incorporating some simple moves while at the office or home in your life could bring an end to your sedentary lifestyle. It would help correct your posture as well. Along with yoga, there is a couple of other tips that you can include in your lifestyle to ensure that you do not get that desk jockey slouch.
These are the 4 Yoga Poses to correct your posture.
You can practice these postures at home or when you take a break in-between your work.
1. Tadasana – Mountain Pose:
Give your back a little stretch to do away with the stress and anxiety that has accumulated there with this rejuvenating and revitalizing yoga pose. Your circulation levels improve, thereby putting an end to any stiffness and pain you experience.
How to do:
- Stand straight on a yoga mat, the sides of the feet touching each other. Keep your spine and neck erect.
- Rest your hands on either side of your body, allowing the palms to rest on the outer side of the thighs.
- Inhaling deeply, swing your hands over your head and join the palms.
- Lift your heels off the ground and balance yourself on the toes allowing your body to stretch completely.
- Tilt your head gently backward and fix your gaze at the fingertips.
- Hold the pose, breathing deeply, for ten deep breaths.
- Exhale and release your arms.
- Place your feet back on the floor and come back to the initial position.
2. Uttanasana – Standing Forward Bend
Your hamstrings and glutes get tired after long hours of sitting. A simple forward bending pose, it corrects the slouch on your back by strengthening your lower back. A stiff hamstring is always a challenge. This pose makes your hamstrings supple and stronger. Bonus – your digestive system works in a better way as it gets a beautiful massage while you rest your abdomen on the thighs.
How to do:
- Stand on the yoga mat, the feet slightly separated, keeping the spine, neck. And head in a single line.
- Allows the palms to rest on either side of the body, along the thighs.
- Inhale and lift your hands over the head.
- Exhale and bend forward and rest the fingers on the floor. Slowly place the palms along the sides of the heels.
- Holding the head up, stretch your spine. Push your hips towards your head so that legs are perpendicular to the mat.
- Hold the position for two deep breaths.
- At the end of second exhalation, move your torso closer to the legs, allowing the head to rest on the knees.
- Hold the pose for five deep breaths.
- Inhale and lift the head and allow your body to come to a posture similar to that described in step 5. Ensure that the palms rest on the mat.
- Inhaling deeply, lift your hands up, and come back to the starting pose.
3. Ardha Matsyendrasana Variation – Seated Spinal Twist
The posture is practiced by sitting on the floor. The lower abdomen gets a gentle, yet powerful squeeze that helps in releasing the tension and toxins accumulated. This asana also enhances the flexibility of the spine by strengthening and stretching the same, thereby correcting your posture and easing the lower back ache.
The process outlined below gives you an idea of how you can practice this pose while sitting on a chair.
How to do:
1. Sit straight on the chair allowing your feet to rest firmly on the floor. Keep your knees at hip distance. Ensure that your spine is erect, aligning it with the neck and head.
2. Place your right palm on the outer edge of the left knee as the left-hand rests perpendicular to your back along the waistline, bent at the elbows. Ensure that your left palm faces your chair.
3. Inhale and twist to your left slowly and look back over your left shoulder.
4. Breathing deeply, hold the posture for ten deep breaths.
5. Exhale and release the twist. Gently release the hands.
6. Repeat the process on your right side too.
4. Eka Pada Rajakapotasana Variation – One-legged King Pigeon Pose
This pose is a good hip, chest, and groin opener. It also corrects your posture issues as the backbend strengthens your spine. It massages your digestive system while toning and strengthening the muscles of your legs.
How to do:
- Get into Uttanasana as mentioned above.
- Inhale and jump back into Downward-facing Dog where your legs will be spread at hip distance. Stack your shoulders over the wrist after spreading out at hip distance.
- Exhale and bring your head as close as possible to the floor, in between the hands.
- Inhale and lift your right leg up in the air.
- Exhale and bring the right leg forward. Place it in between your hands in such a way that the right heel to rest closer to the left pelvic bone and right knee close to the right wrist.
- Place your left leg on the floor, the front of the foot resting on the floor while toes are stretched backward.
- Adjust the hips and squared them to the front.
- Inhale and as you exhale, bend forward and allow your forehead to rest in between the palms.
- Hold the pose for ten deep breaths.
- Inhale and lift your torso up and take a backbend, while dragging your palms beside your hips. Stretch the left leg backward as much as possible.
- The ideal position would be the one where you experience the stretch on your back muscles.
- Hold the pose for ten deep breaths.
- Exhale and slowly release the backbend.
- Inhale and push yourself off the floor and come back to Adho Mukha Svanasana or Downward Facing Dog pose.
- Repeat the same with your left side.
- Once you are back into Adho Mukha Svanasana after completing both sides, take five deep breaths.
- Jump slowly or walk into Uttanasana.
- Inhale, come up, and relax.
Tips For Correcting Your Posture
- Take a break for 5 minutes once in 60 minutes.
- Climb your stairs when you take a break.
- Listen to the cues your body gives you.
- Drink water as dehydration could cause muscle cramps, unintentionally leading to slouching.
- Beware of your posture always.
- Lift weights the right way. Keep your knees slightly bent when lifting heavy objects.
- Avoid slouching while you sit.
- Never use fluffy pillows or raised pillows while sleeping as this could cause neck pain, inadvertently triggering a slouch.
Follow these simple tips and yoga poses for a couple of weeks and you will soon find yourself enjoying the right posture.
By Nithya S.