Excellent posture not only keeps your physical body healthy, but also provides the foundation and support you need to maintain emotional and mental balance. Yoga will help you find proper spinal alignment to stand tall and feel your best inside and out. Over the last thirty years, we’ve grown more sedentary as a culture. Many of us spend hours each day sitting, which is the number one contributor to back pain, poor posture, sluggish digestion, and mental fog. To counteract hunched shoulders, tight neck muscles, and lower back pain, take the time to step onto your yoga mat and perfect your posture.
Because we are all anatomically different, everybody’s posture looks different. The intention isn’t to make everyone have the same posture, but to honor the natural curvature of the spine. Ideally, the bones of your skeleton should align vertically. A simple starting point is to stand in Tadasana (Mountain Pose). If someone held a string from your ears to your ankles, ideally your shoulders, pelvis, and knees would all fall into that straight line.
Many of us have excess flattening or curvature, depending on how we spend our days. When your habitual alignment is out of sync, spinal problems like bulging disks, muscular pain, and headaches result. To avoid ending up on a physical therapist’s table, practicing yoga and reminding yourself to straighten up can keep you healthy for years to come.
Postural benefits aren’t just visible to the naked eye! We all have a subtle or astral body, that is a blueprint or sheath for the physical body. Lifeforce energy or prana moves through the Nadis or passageways. The central Nadi or Sushumna Nadi runs from the base of the spine through the crown of the head, mirroring your spinal column.
Seven primary chakras or energy vortexes are located along the Sushumna Nadi. Proper posture ensures your internal energy flows freely, which in turn keeps your emotions and thoughts aligned. Use a combination of forward bending poses, like Prasarita (wide-legged forward fold) and Paschimotanasana (seated forward fold) with heart openers like Ustrasana (camel pose) and Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose), and twists like Ardha Matsyendrasana (half lord-of-the-fishes) to keep your spine healthy. Add in a few minutes of Phalakasana (plank pose) to build core strength for strong abdominals and to protect your lower back.
Your posture is how you carry yourself in the world. Practicing yoga helps you stand tall and proud.