With the increase of device usage and sedentary living, this question of improving your posture seems even more important than ever. And like most things to do with our bodies and health, there is no quick fix or magical program that instantly creates good posture.
You have to think: how long did it take to develop the so-called poor posture? It didn’t happen overnight, it happened over time. And so, to create proper posture, it’s going to take time as well.
Before we go into Yoga, we of course like to mention that it’s important to check in with a physiotherapist or biomechanic to ensure you don’t have structural issues, or suffer from issues like scoliosis. Knowing where your body is at will assist you in knowing how to correct your posture.
So the question: can yoga fix my bad posture?
Well, we’re going to say it can absolutely help.
We all know good posture when we see it, shoulders are back, there’s a natural curve to the spine, the chest is open, the head and neck look comfortable… but bad posture is even more distinct.
Good posture gives off the silent impression of a self-confident, open, happy person, while bad posture can give off the opposite vibe.
In fact, not only does it give off this vibe but how do you feel when your shoulders are slouched compared to when your shoulder blades draw back together, opening the chest?
You feel different, right? This is the power of our posture. And you can listen to this very popular TedTalk on posture and be even more inspired to stand tall.
Good posture has other health benefits, but the main one is that it can prevent back pain, which many are struggling with nowadays, thanks to our sedentary lifestyles.
So along with managing your sedentary time (why not put a reminder every hour to stand up and do some stretches), here is how Yoga can help you improve your posture and keep it correct for many years to come.
Yoga can Improve Upper-Back and Shoulder Strength
One of the most significant issues that people have when it comes to maintaining good posture is their back not having enough strength to hold their body upright for an extended period.
Here is a simple way to test this: can you hold your arms overhead for two minutes? Most likely not. Yoga can help with that.
Certain poses in Yoga build the upper back and shoulder strength, which is essential in maintaining the correct posture for longer periods of time.
Once your upper back and shoulder muscles are stronger, you will be able to sit or stand upright for extended periods of time without even feeling the need to lay down, slump over or put your hand under your chin for support.
Yoga Increases Your Body Awareness
The first reason why Yoga is so effective at improving posture, is that, throughout the entire workout, you are reminded that every part of your body needs to do precisely what it is supposed to be doing, in that particular exercise.
For the Yoga poses and the workout to be effective and avoid injury, you must perform all of your exercises correctly.
During the Yoga practices, your Yoga teacher will constantly remind you to avoid slumping or dumping into your joints, they will help correct your posture, and continually strive for greater alignment of each Yoga pose. When you do a MerryBody Yoga class (why not try Upper Body Desk Worker Yoga) you will notice this. The focus on alignment and technique is extremely evident.
Once your Yoga class is over, this awareness of the body ripples out into your everyday life. Therefore, in the long run, it improves your posture.
Good posture during your Yoga classes continues over into everything else that you do, including sitting at a desk, driving, other workouts, and any other physical activity you can imagine.
Yoga Improves the Core Strength
Core strength is very important. In relation to posture, core strength is what actually gives us the ability to hold ourselves upright. If your core is weak, you will find yourself always hunched over, slumped over, or looking for some sort of exterior support to lean on.
Yoga is a useful tool that is going to be able to help you develop core strength.
Core muscles are activated in just about every Yoga pose. Your Yoga instructor will continuously remind you to engage your core. Even in poses like Adho Mukha Svanasana (downward facing dog) and Mountain Pose your core is engaged.
As you practise core engagement during your Yoga workout, you will be able to take this outside of your Yoga class into everyday life. This will improve your posture and balance.
You really do walk the practice off the Yoga mat.
In Yoga, you create a balance between strength and flexibility. You’ll also be guided into poses that stretch out your core, like cobra pose and bridge pose, shown below. Ahhh now this pose feels great, not only do you feel the core stretch as you lift your hips, but you feel the back and shoulders stretch and work at the same time.
All this talk of good posture! Let’s stand up, take the feet hip width, roll your shoulders back and down, bring a gentle engagement to your core, feel the crown of your head lift toward the sky lengthening the neck. Ok breathe in and breathe out.
Now that feels good! In our Yoga classes we really bring a focus to good posture because it simply makes you feel better. It will also help you keep moving as you age, it will help keep you moving with ease.
If that sounds good, we think you’d love MerryBody. We have women of all ages doing our Yoga classes every single day from the comfort of their homes. Check out Sally… what an inspiration.
If you’d like to join us on the mat, you can sign up for one of our FREE Online Yoga Classses over here!
Inside the MerryBody App, there are hundreds of classes waiting for you, from Flow Yoga to Yin Yoga, beginner to challenge, under 10 minutes to over 30. We even have Pilates and meditations as well! But this free class is the perfect place to start!
Emma + Carla