How many times per day do you stop and take note of your posture? If you make it a point to practice mindfulness, you may already find yourself correcting your own posture daily. However, many of us slave away at counters and desks for hours without thinking about our spines. How does this affect our lives?
Why You Need to Work On Your Posture
Before we get into six exercises to improve your posture, here are five reasons you should try them.
- If you aren’t practicing good posture, you’ll have a very difficult time sitting in meditation. At Silent Mind, we also notice that your posture can affect how you play your singing bowl. With good posture, your comfort and range of motion are dramatically improved.
- We’re always taking in subconscious cues from one’s posture. Having your head float atop a straight spine, with shoulders down and chest naturally open, communicates ease and confidence.
- Have you ever heard it takes more muscles to frown than it does to smile? Well, bad posture causes muscle fatigue as well. Maintaining good posture improves endurance.
- Joint and Spine Health. Chronic bad posture can lead to chronic pain conditions down the road. It promotes an uneven wearing of the joints, and stresses the spine.
- Did you know that hunching over all of the time can cause bloating? Unnatural compression of the diaphragm and intestines might be the cause of your constipation, bloating, and slow digestion.
Six Exercises for Better Posture
Practice these every day for a healthier spine, better digestion, greater endurance, and deeper meditation.
- Child’s Pose. Kneel on the floor. If you like, you can separate your knees, but make sure your feet are touching one another. Now sit down to rest your hips on your feet. Inhale, lengthen the spine, and fold toward the floor with arms stretched in front of you.
- Chin Tucks. Giving yourself a double chin can be a good thing. Roll your shoulders back and down. Slightly tuck your chin, using your fingers to push it in a little more, if necessary. Move your head back just a little, so you can feel your neck gently stretching and lengthening.
- Cat Cow. Cat cow can be done on all fours, while sitting, or even while standing. As you inhale, open your chest and lengthen the neck to look up. As you exhale, arch your spine as much as you can, draw the belly in, and tuck your chin.
- Low Lunge. Starting on all fours, bring one foot between your hands. Make sure the knee is directly above the ankle. Now slowly bring your hands to your thigh, lifting your torso upright. Keep the spine straight, looking directly ahead. Breathe for 30 seconds, and then repeat on the other side.
- Forward Fold. Standing forward folds are great for posture, provided you hinge from the hips, never the low back. Begin standing with feet hip’s distance apart. Keep your spine totally straight as you hinge from the hips and begin to fold down, bringing your chest to your thighs. Bend your knees as much as you need to avoid bending into the lower back. Let go of your neck and head, and breathe here.
- Staff Pose. Staff pose looks easier than it truly is. Sit on the floor with both legs extended straight in front of you. Flex your feet. Engage your thighs and roll your shoulders back and down. Sit straight up so your legs and spine are making a perfect “L” shape, tucking your chin ever so slightly. Practice with your back against a wall if this proves difficult.
How do you maintain good posture? What activity are you doing that’s been terrible for your posture? Share in the comments, and let us know how you liked these exercises.