For many of us, picking up poor posture habits can be all too easy. It can even cause back pain or an aching neck and shoulders but we often don’t recognise the importance of how we sit, stand and move our bodies everyday.
That’s right, it’s not just at yoga class that you want to be practicing perfect alignment. In between classes it's imperative that you become more aware of how you hold yourself too. Amazingly, by doing yoga alone, you will find that this becomes a much more intuitive process.
Yoga postures which focus on improving back and core strength will help to correct spinal alignment and prevent natural inclinations to stoop, slouch and bend the wrong way. In fact, by regularly practicing these 6 simple asanas you will find you look taller and feel more comfortable and confident!
6 posture perfecting yoga poses…
1. Mountain Pose | Tadasana
A simple but foundational pose that will teach you the basic principles of a strong and healthy posture. Focus on growing your spine tall, shoulders relaxed, legs, core and back engaged. This is the yoga version of how you should stand everyday so it’s a great one to remember when your back is hunched or neck is straining forward.
2. Plank Pose | Adho Mukha Dandasana
A powerful and perfected plank will strengthen your core, back, legs and arms for an all over body workout. There is a tendency for people to collapse their chest or lift their hips too high in this pose. Instead, try to keep your body tight so that it forms a long straight line, like a plank of wood! Relax the shoulder blades back and down and use your core to keep you in a stable position. Stronger abdominal and chest muscles will particularly help to straighten an over curvature of the lower and upper spine.
3. One-Legged King Pigeon Pose | Eka Pada Rajakapotasana
A deep hip flexor and gluteal muscle stretch that will help to counteract anterior (forward) pelvic tilt. Tight muscles in this region (such as the psoas and piriformis) will create an overactive pull in the hips, while weak abdominals and glutes will also add to the problem. You should use your abdominal muscles in this posture to keep your hips level and sinking towards the floor. Pigeon stretch can be challenging but with regular practice you will see greatly improved flexibility and range of motion.
4. Extended Triangle Pose | Trikonasana
This pose is great for relieving back pain as it gently stretches and lengthens the spine and torso. It will also provide a deep stretch in the legs and strengthen muscles in the thighs, hips, obliques and back. Essential for a stability and strength, this pose will certainly improve postural problems. Although, do be careful not to practice this pose if you have any severe back or neck pain.
5. Locust Pose | Salabhasana
Practising Salabhasana is another pose that’s great for building strong lower back muscles. Helping to correct hip alignment and prevent injury to the back. This asana will also provide extension to the length of the spine and opening in the chest. Make sure not to crunch the neck back in this pose and maintain a neutral position. Keep the shoulder blades firmly pressed down and try to use the strength in your legs and arms to keep on reaching back.
6. Downward-Facing Dog | Adho Mukha Svanasana
A wonderfully beneficial posture for stretching and strengthening the shoulder girdle and back. This pose teaches us to keep the arm bones plugged back into their sockets and shoulder blades firmly locked down into the back. It is good practice to use the shoulders in this way to prevent hunching and rounding of the shoulders and arms. Pulling your hips up and backwards will also help to strengthen the spine and lower back.