How Can Yoga Improve Your Posture?

A great way to improve your posture is by doing certain yoga poses.

Certain functions that we do a lot, like a long-drive commute or sitting in front a computer for extended periods of time, can raise havoc with our posture over time but there are ways to improve your posture. If you find your posture has deteriorated and you tend to slouch when standing upright, certain yoga poses can get you standing tall again.

Here are 6 Yoga Poses That Help Improve Your Posture:

Mountain Pose

The purpose of the mountain pose is to get your body to realize when your back is in perfect alignment with your head, neck and shoulders. This is called the neutral position. If you have difficulty with this pose when first trying it, doing it with your back against a flat vertical wall can help you find your neutral position. Once you know what neutral feels like, you can then do it without using the wall as a prop.

Boat Pose

This pose, called Navasana, strengthens your lower abdominal muscles, which support your lower back and pelvis. While breathing deep, hold the pose for at least 30 seconds.

Locust Pose

Salabhasana is an upper body pose that focuses on strengthening the muscles that hold the shoulder blades in alignment. As the muscles become stronger, they shorten thus pulling your shoulder blades down and back, increasing your vertical posture and alignment.

Bridge Pose

This is one of the best poses to correct for poor posture. It works by strengthening your spine and increasing its flexibility. This pose along with 69 others can be found on these online yoga videos.

Standing Forward Bend

With your hands interlaced behind your back, this pose stretches out the shoulders and hamstrings. To get the maximum benefit from doing this pose, pull your shoulders up by tightening up your shoulder blades as you bend over in half. Once in the bent position, release the pressure on your shoulder blades letting them slide back into place.

Cat-Cow Stretch Pose

While most of the other poses have been done from the standing position, the starting position for this pose is on all fours. By moving your spine through flexion (back down/head up) and extension (back up/head down) you’ll find the ideal neutral position of your spine.

Doing Desk Yoga to Improve Your Posture

Yoga doesn’t have to be done in a studio or at home; there are some modified poses that you can do to improve your posture while seated at your desk:

  • Seated Forward Bend – Push your chair back from your desk. While still seated, place both feet flat on the floor. Now interlace your fingers behind your back. Straighten your arms back while folding at the waist, bringing your interlaced hands up and over your back. Rest your chest on your thighs and release your neck. Hold for 15-20 seconds.
  • Seated Cat-Cow Stretch – While seated, start by placing both feet flat on the floor. Place your hands on your knees. Now the breathing; on the inhale, arch your back and look up toward the ceiling; on the exhale, round your spine and look down. Repeat for 3-5 breaths.

While yoga doesn’t make you taller, it appears that you are taller by you finding your spine’s neutral position and making you stand more erect. Plus as a side benefit, it can help alleviate neck and lower back pain. So if you find yourself with a poor posture, try doing yoga to improve your posture and your overall health.

Camel Pose

If you want to develop resilency, start doing the camel pose.

Ah! The camel! A beast of burden from ancient times that is renowned for its ability to manage everything nicely even in the midst of adverse living conditions. Exposed to extremes in temperature in its natural habitats, camels are uniquely endowed by nature with admirable coping mechanisms.

Its gangly but sturdy legs are extremely useful for long-range walking and running. Its hump is ideal for storing fatty tissues from which the camel can get much needed energy in times of want or famine. Its disposition is gentle, and contrary to popular belief, the camel as a beast of burden is highly resilient, accepting the loads it is required to bear, as a natural part of its existence.

In Hatha Yoga, we have the Camel Pose, or Ustrasana in Sanskrit (ustra = camel, asana = pose) to open ourselves to the valuable characteristics of protectiveness, versatility, and resiliency.

Qualities of the Camel Pose

The camel is an animal that is suffused with humility. It does not balk at responsibility and does its best to cope with hostile surroundings instead of whining. These qualities can easily be discerned in the details of the Camel Pose which features a back-bend that is not quite that easy to achieve and hold, unless some degree of flexibility both of the body and the mind has already been experienced through other Hatha Yoga poses.

The Camel Pose is absolutely fitted for complete opening of the chest and upper spine, which frees your neck for gentle movements.

Demonstration of the Camel Pose

Benefits of the Camel Pose

  • Mental – this pose requires belief in one’s abilities to cope with challenges. That makes the pose ideal for developing a mindset whose foundation lies in a healthy self-confidence.
  • Physical – this pose has curative applications for medical conditions such as menstrual discomfort, fatigue, slight pains in the back, respiratory problems, and anxiety issues.
  • Spiritual – a dedicated practice of this pose contributes to the uplifting of the spirit, because challenging and even adverse situations are seen less as insurmountable and depressing obstacles, but more as opportunities to explore how best to cope, with full humility and patience.

Safety Alert

The Camel Pose is not recommended for anyone with knee injuries. Also, be extra careful when doing back-bend postures such as that of a Camel Pose to avoid causing painful trauma to the neck muscles, or pinching the nerves in the neck.

Before practicing the Camel Pose it’s important that you already have experience doing other Hatha Yoga poses such as the ones you’ll find on video when you subscribe to the Newsletter. In the following article we’ll cover the “Pigeon Pose”, yet another more complex yoga pose.

Hatha Yoga Eagle Pose

Spread your wings and soar high with the eagle pose.

There’s undeniably something very special about the eagle because it is a bird that is either highly feared or much revered in many places.

In Hatha Yoga, we have the Eagle Pose, or Garudasana in Sanskrit (garuda = eagle, or “devourer,” a deity that’s said to be capable of blocking out the sun in the mythology of Hindus and Buddhists, asana = pose).

Qualities of the Eagle Pose

The Eagle Pose personifies a regal and dignified bearing. Observe an eagle and you will notice, that whether in the wild or in kept condition, its expression is unwavering in its solemnity and concentration.

In Hatha Yoga, the solemnity of the eagle is utilized to underscore the importance of keeping the arms, legs, knees, and feet harmoniously working together to reach new heights of concentration.

Seen from such a perspective, the Eagle Pose, when practiced regularly, improves balance and helps remove constrictions in the upper back.

Demonstration of the Eagle Pose

Benefits of the Eagle Pose

  • Mental – because the pose can remove constrictions, it paves the way for a more relaxed frame of mind. In turn, having such a frame of mind is great to heighten levels of concentration, even after the yoga exercises are over.
  • Physical – this pose can help correct posture through spine realignment. It also makes the legs, thighs, hips, ankles, and shoulders stronger. It is great therapy for the asthmatic, as well as for those with sciatica, and lumbago or lower back pain.
  • Spiritual – through consistent practice of this pose, it is highly possible to increase your level of contentment because your mind is relaxed and your body’s aches, in particular those that are bunched up in your spine and lower back muscles, are lessened.

Safety Alert

This pose is not recommended for anyone with knee injuries.

Now that you’re ready to soar high with your fitness goals by practicing the “Eagle Pose”, be sure to subscribe to the Newsletter and pick up the other 69 to round out your yoga exercise routine. The next pose we’ll demonstrate is called the “Dancer Pose”, a silhouette of graceful strength.

Upward Facing Dog Pose

The Upward Facing Dog is another Hatha Yoga favorite.

Still on the matter of studying and taking inspiration from the natural actions of canines as introduced in the previous article, we’ll now continue with a specific pose that is once more derived from a position that dogs take – the Upward Facing Dog Pose.

In Hatha Yoga, we have the Upward Facing Dog Pose, or Urdhva Mukha Svanasana in Sanskrit (urdhva = upward, mukha = face, svana = dog), that is ideal for developing strength in the wrists.

This pose is one of those that form part of the time-honored Sun Salutation sequence, postures that are generally done in the morning for receiving energy, recapturing vitality, and preparing the body to manage vigor properly as the day goes on.

Qualities of the Upward Facing Dog Pose

The Upward Facing Dog in Hatha Yoga is reflective of the way canines look forward and upward to the sky, seemingly in anticipation of a good, if not better, day ahead. They “salute” the sun, basking in its rays, eager to start fresh.

Optimism and resiliency are key personality traits personified by this pose. Optimism, because the upward facing posture illustrates an expectation or readiness to receive the blessings that the day brings, and resiliency, because the pose connotes that no matter what challenges you may have faced earlier, you are still in control and hopeful about a good outcome.

Benefits of the Upward Facing Dog Pose

  • Mental – the Upward Facing Dog Pose promotes clarity of thinking that comes with a stable sense of self, which in turn, happens when it is practiced.
  • Physical – highly recommended for the alleviation of sciatica, a symptom that features shooting pain brought about by compression or pressure brought upon the sciatic nerve. When left unattended, such a condition can make standing and/or sitting close to impossible because of the pain. The Upward Facing Dog Pose provides relief for mild depression, reinforces the wrists, arms, and the spine. It can also be remedial for cases of asthma.
  • Spiritual – when your optimism soars, the better you are equipped to handle the challenges of life, which accounts for a resilient outlook.

Video Demonstration of the Cobra Upward Facing Dog Pose:

The Upward Facing Dog is not recommended when you are pregnant, have a pre-existing injury of the back, or have been diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome.

While we have tried to sprinkle some of the Hatha Yoga exercise videos throughout a few of these articles, it would work best for you to watch and learn as you read along with this guide. When finished, you can subscribe to the Newsletter to get the full set of all 70 yoga video demonstrations pick and choose which yoga exercises you want to learn first. Next, we’ll take a look at “Flow Yoga” and how it can enshrine your consciousness toward enlightenment.