Sitting hunched over at your desk all day can lead to a curved spine, but combating that pull with these yoga poses will help you straighten up. Who knows? You may even gain an inch.
If you haven’t given much thought to your posture, Mountain Pose is a perfect place to get started. Grounding your feet into your mat and becoming aware of
your spine’s natural shape will help you make tiny shifts for big changes:
Stand at the front of your mat, feet together, legs active, and arms by your sides.
If you choose, this is the time to take a moment to bring your awareness inward, to create an intention for your practice, or to make a dedication. Stay for five breaths.
Open Triangle Pose
Open Triangle is a great pose that has double the power: it’s a forward bend plus a twist! This shape really helps strengthen your whole back body and fosters proper alignment:
Come into Downward Facing Dog. Step your right foot forward between your hands, and rise up into Warrior 1. Open your hips, arms, and chest into Warrior 2.
Straighten your right leg and turn your left toes slightly to the right, making a 45-degree angle. Keep both legs straight as you reach your right hand straight out over your right leg. Lower your right hand, resting it on your right shin or a block or placing your palm flat on the floor. Extend your left arm straight up, and gaze at your left fingertips.
Stay like this for five deep breaths. Then lift your torso up and either rotate your feet to the left or come into Down Dog, step your left foot forward between your hands, and repeat this pose on the left side.
Cow Face Pose
Silly name aside, Cow Face Pose does wonders for opening up your back. It provides a deep stretch to your hips, shoulders, and chest all at once:
Sit on your mat with both legs straight in front of you. Bend both knees and slide your left foot under your right thigh. Lift your bum off the floor, point through your left toes, and sit down gently on your left heel. If it hurts to sit on your heel, then sit on the floor with your left heel beside your right hip.
Bring your right foot as close to your left hip as possible, so both knees are stacked. Whichever variation you’re doing, the tops of your feet should be resting on the mat.
Bend your left elbow behind your back. Lift your right arm straight up above your head, then bend your right elbow, and if you can, clasp your fingers together.
Gaze toward the ceiling, and hold here for five deep breaths.
Two of the most problematic areas for people with poor posture is the chest and the shoulders. Bridge Pose works to strengthen both:
Begin lying flat on your back with your arms along the sides of your body, with your palms facing down. Bend your knees, placing your heels as close as you can to your bum.
With your palms and feet pressing firmly into the ground, lift your hips up. Keep your palms on the mat or clasp your hands together below your pelvis, extending through your arms. Or you can also bend your elbows and rest your hands on your lower back. If your feet are close enough, you can also hold your ankles.
Stay here for five deep breaths, lifting your hips up as high as you can.
Locust Pose is amazing for banishing back bulge while strengthening the muscles on your midback that help improve your posture:
Lie on your belly with your legs together. Place your arms by your sides so your palms are facing up.
As you inhale, lift your legs, head, and upper body off the floor. Your hands remain on the floor for support. As you breathe, extend the crown of your head away from your toes, lengthening as much as you can through your spine.
Stay for five breaths, and then release back to the mat.