Good posture isn’t just about looking long and tall, it’s essential for mind-body balance. We do so much every day to compromise our posture, and over time (if unaddressed) it can cause pain, brain fog and even poor digestion. Certified health coach and celeb-adored professional yogi, Claire Grieve, is sharing a simple sequence to correct your alignment and build the strength needed for good posture. Try this a few times a week and see how you feel…
Does Good Posture Really Matter?
The impact of good posture can go way beyond body alignment. Good posture can make you look and feel more confident, help prevent injury, can create space for energy to flow through your body and help to ease chronic pain. Unfortunately, daily life can wreak havoc on your posture. Activities, like sitting in your car, lifting babies or groceries, and even sitting in front of screens, can all contribute to poor posture. All of this needs to be counterbalanced with posture supportive movements.
How Do I Improve My Posture?In my experience, the most effective way to make significant changes to your posture is to focus in on your core. If you have a strong core, your spine will be supported, weight will be lifted out of your hips, shoulders will soften and your chest will lift to the sky.
Which Yoga Poses Will Strengthen My Posture?
Here are my favorite posture improving, core strengthening exercises:
Plank Pose | As we know, Plank Pose is a highly effective core strengthener. It is also a great pose for improving your posture. In order to properly perform the pose, you’ll need to feel energy extending through your whole body, head to toe.
How to: Starting on all fours, slowly lift your body into plank position. As you hold the pose, feel as though your stomach is pulling into your spine. Look forward, press your palms and knuckles into the ground and feel as though your head and heels are being pulled in opposite directions.
Chaturanga | Chaturanga is a core toning superstar. It has similar benefits to plank pose, but with added intensity.
How to: Starting in Plank position, make sure that your hands, elbows and shoulders are stacked on top of one another. Keep your core activated and your entire body aligned parallel to the floor. Roll forward on your toes and begin to lower down so your arms form a 90 degree angle. Hug your elbows into your ribcage. Draw your shoulders away from your ears and feel as though you are spreading your collar bones. As you hold the pose, feel as though you are reaching through the crown of your head.
Boat Pose | In my opinion, Boat Pose is the ultimate core strengthener. Holding this pose for just 60 seconds a day can help to strengthen your core from the inside out. If your core is strong it allows you to lengthen your limbs making them appear longer and leaner.
How to: Begin seated with your feet and hands on the floor. Inhale. On your exhale, activate your core and lift your legs up into a 45 degree angle. Extend your arms straight out in front of you, reaching for the wall. Balance on your sit bones keeping your spine straight and your chest lifted. Hold for 10 breaths and release.
Chair Pose | Chair Pose will light a fire in your inner core, where all energy begins. As you stretch your arms to the ceiling, your chest and mood will lift.
How to: Inhale and raise your arms up to the sky, allowing your shoulders to relax away from your ears. As you exhale, start to bend your knees and lower your hips down as if you are sitting in a chair. Sit down even lower and shift your weight into your heels as you lengthen your lower back and lift up through your heart. Hold for up to 60 seconds.
Tree Pose | Tree Pose is a great pose for posture. Not only do you gently work your core as you find your balance, this pose also encourages you to lift and lengthen your entire body.
How to: Starting in mountain pose, bring one foot to the opposite thigh placing it just above the knee. Bring your hands to heart center or extend up to the sky.
Crow Pose | This challenging balancing pose requires thoughtful activation of the core.
How to: Starting in Mountain Pose, bend your knees and lower down into a squat. Place your hands on the ground, shoulder-width apart with your fingers spread wide. Keep your feet close together and place your knees on your upper arms. Keep your gaze forward as you activate your core. Begin to lean forward lifting one foot at a time toward your bottom. Touch your toes together, draw your belly in, breathe and hold for 30 to 60 Seconds.
Forearm Stand | Inversions are an advanced way to work your posture. In order to balance in this forearm stand, you must seriously activate your core muscles. It is also imperative to find alignment and to lift your body in a straight line toward the sky.
How to: Start in Downward Facing Dog, lower your forearms to the floor. Your elbows should be stacked under your shoulders. Press firmly through your hands as you draw your shoulders away from the ground. Walk your feet closer to your elbows and stack your hips over your shoulders. Raise your left leg straight up to the sky and walk onto the ball of your right foot. Gently press off your foot to lift both legs into forearm stand. Breathe and hold for 10 to 30 seconds. Slowly release and rest into Child’s Pose. (Remember, this is an advanced pose. If it is not in your repertoire practice with a qualified teacher first.)
Discover plenty more healthful lifestyle tips and playful yoga sequences from Claire Grieve here.