We always tell our kids “Sit up straight!” “Don’t slouch!”. They have heard it time and again just as we were told the same when growing up. So what really is Good Posture?
Good Posture Defined
Good sitting posture means that your back is straight and your buttocks are at the back of your chair. Keep your feet flat on the floor and bend your knees at a right angle.
When standing with good posture, you should be able to draw an imaginary straight line from your earlobe through your shoulder, hip, knee and the middle of your ankle.
Use Correct Posture
One does not realise the consequences of a wrong posture and how it can lead to serious risk factors.
Working people are used to sitting in office chairs for long periods of time and staring at their computer monitors. Or they could also be cradling the cell phone which tends towards bad posture and so could suffer from several consequential lifestyle disorders.
These poor postures can cause various types of severe back and neck aches, which, when neglected, lead to damage of the spinal structures. Most of us don’t give importance to these aspects and later succumb to several lifestyle issues.
Correcting your posture, therefore, plays an important role in making you fit and healthy. Yoga is one of the perfect ways to correct your posture.
We Should Remember Good Posture
Posture is the position you maintain while standing, sitting or lying down. You have good posture when your position creates the least amount of strain on supporting muscles and ligaments when you move or perform weight-bearing activities. As we’re often reminded as kids, maintaining good posture is beneficial in many ways and regular yoga practice is so good for correct posture.
Your body is said to be in the correct posture when it is aligned in such a way that the back is straight, shoulders squared and relaxed, chin up, chest out, and stomach in. Just like a straight line. Good posture entails distributing the force of gravity through our body so no one structure is overstressed.
Yoga For Good Posture
One of the first known written books on Hatha Yoga, the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, explained that asanas or poses “Should be practiced for gaining steady posture, health and lightness of body.”
The importance of good posture is undisputed. The ultimate goal of practicing yoga postures is an unimpeded flow of energy through the body whether one’s goal is physical prowess or enlightenment.
We learn in yoga that correct positioning of the spine is more important than correct positioning of any other part of the body.
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We ask ourselves why is good posture so important? How can we know whether we ourselves are in good alignment? How can we know if we have the best alignment that we can have for our bodies in order to maximize the benefits from yoga practice? And how do we make corrections to improper posture?
Proper alignment is necessary for preventing injuries as well as maximizing the benefits of any asana. For example, putting all of one’s weight onto the standing leg when the knee is hyperextended puts tremendous strain on the ligaments supporting the knee. They become overstretched and may cause swelling, which can over time cause damage to the knee joint.
Also, overstretched ligaments in any joint provide less support, predisposing one to a potential future injury from something as mundane as stepping off the curb incorrectly and causing a sprained joint.
Similarly, misalignments in the spine can create the same problems, for the vertebrae also are connected by joints. I’m sure you can see how misalignments in the spine and the corresponding problems can easily be compounded.
When working therapeutically with yourself proper alignment is essential. Often injuries are caused by poor posture and/or continue to be aggravated by poor posture. A very subtle correction in alignment can make the difference between complete recovery and being stuck with managing a chronic problem.
Keeping In Alignment
Good posture and back support are essential for avoiding back and neck pain. In fact, many people who suffer back pain experience positive changes when they improve their posture. Good posture also prevents muscle aches and muscle fatigue. It keeps your bones and joints in proper alignment so you use your muscles more efficiently, preventing strain and overuse.
Good Posture keeps bones and joints in the correct alignment so that muscles are being used properly. It helps decrease the abnormal wearing of joint surfaces and decreases the stress on the ligaments holding the joints of the spine together.
What Is The Importance of Good Posture?
Sitting and standing with proper postural alignment will allow one to work more efficiently with less fatigue and strain on your body’s ligaments and muscles.
Being aware of good posture is the first step to breaking old poor postural habits and reducing stress and strain on your spine.
We can use yoga exercises and tips to help alleviate muscle tension caused by poor sitting and standing habits, such as:
Slouching in a chair.
Sticking your bottom out.
Standing with a flat back.
Leaning on one leg.
Hunched back and ‘text neck’
Poking your chin.
Cradling your phone.
This can be regulated by standing properly:
Bear your weight primarily on the balls of your feet.
Keep your knees slightly bent.
Keep your feet about shoulder-width apart.
Let your arms hang naturally down the sides of the body.
Stand straight and tall with your shoulders pulled backward.
Tuck your stomach in.
Slouching hurts your body and slouching — with your shoulders and upper back rounded forward — can lead to aches and pains in your back, neck and shoulders.
Check yourself out in the mirror.
Work from a better position.
Stretch when you get up.
Strengthen your core.
Watch your sleep posture.
Get Good Posture
Good posture involves having a relaxed appearance and a “neutral spine.” When our posture is correct, the ears, shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles should align in one straight line. To give you a mental image of what good posture looks like, imagine hanging a plumb line from your earlobe.
Good Posture Benefits:
- Keeps bones and joints in the correct alignment so that muscles are being used properly.
- Helps decrease the abnormal wearing of joint surfaces.
- Decreases the stress on the ligaments holding the joints of the spine together.
- Prevents the spine from becoming fixed in abnormal positions.
Right posture is possible for everyone. Usually we just have to rid ourselves of lazy or poor habits that we have become accustomed to. If we stop slouching we can:
Feel less depressed.
Boost mental power and confidence.
Look younger and flatten our waistline.
Optimize lung and brain oxygenation.
Strengthen our spine.
Taking a stand on slouching.
Pinch your way to perfect posture.
Get back at hunching.
Good Breathing Is Important
Yoga breathing contributes so much to bettering the overall posture of the body. This includes yoga breathing exercises as well as positive poses which help straighten out the posture.
Good posture helps to open the airways and ensure proper breathing. Proper breathing allows enhanced oxygen flow in the cardiopulmonary system. The blood then carries sufficient oxygen to the nervous system, organs and other tissues, so they function more effectively.
There is alot of information available on yoga breathing exercises and we have a good article on breathing.
See Yoga Breathing: >>> CLICK HERE <<<
Yoga Poses for Good Posture
Here are a handful of good yoga poses that can help you with the poor posture.
Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
Tadasana is really how we should be standing all the time, so if you can do this pose in correct alignment with ease, your posture is probably already pretty good!
Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)
Bhujangasana and half Bhujangasana gently stretch the spine and open the chest, reversing rounded shoulders and upper back.
Sometimes our slouching stems from having a weak core that lacks the strength to hold us upright. This pose can help strengthen your torso.
Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog)
Adho Mukha Svanasana is a great pose for improving your posture, as it stretches and lengthens the spine and opens your shoulders. This can rid you of that slouch.
Vriksasana (Tree Pose)
When we learn to stand tall and balanced in Vriksasana we can carry this feeling into our everyday posture.
The benefit of regular yoga practice is that it brings awareness, and a good posture is all about being aware of your body. We hope you do a regular yoga practice including the breathing exercises to get your posture in top shape and your body functioning good. Remember meditation can help with quality of body and mind very much also!
For more on Yoga Breathing >>> CLICK HERE <<<
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