As yogis, we pay attention to alignment a lot. This is especially true for alignment-based yoga styles like Iyengar and Anusara. Along with alignment comes good posture. While you may not always think about posture when you’re doing yoga poses, you probably have better posture as a natural result of your yoga practice.
What Good Posture is And Why it Matters
Good posture is a balanced upright position when you’re standing or sitting. Your back is straight, and your neck is in line with your spine. If you’re standing, your hips are directly over your ankles.
Now, what if you’re slumping or slouching? Which part of your body is most important if you want to improve your posture?
Did you say your core?
A strong core is essential for proper posture, because when your core is strong, you’re able to sit or stand straight for longer periods of time without getting tired. For yogis, this is especially helpful for sitting in meditation. If you get tired or your back hurts when you meditate, work on strengthening your core.
So, you can see why good posture is important if want to go deeper in yoga. That is, if your goal is to use your asana and breathing practices to prepare your body to sit for long periods of time, you’ll want a straight back and strong core for sure.
But what about the rest of the time? Posture is essential to physical health as well.
Benefits of Good Posture
A straight spine gives your organs more space. You’ll be able to take deeper breaths, which means oxygen will circulate through your blood more efficiently. As a result of all that oxygen, you’ll have more energy, your mind will be clearer, and you’ll be able to think and concentrate for longer periods of time.
If your posture is good, you’ll also have better range of motion. This may not seem like a big deal but think about. With better range, you’ll be able to do more physical tasks, like lifting and carrying things, reaching for items that are on a high shelf, and participating in sports and recreational activities.
In addition to more space for internal organs, good posture makes it less likely you’ll pinch nerves, get headaches, or suffer from other kinds of acute or chronic pain. Your muscles will work better too. And don’t underestimate the confidence boost standing (or sitting) tall can give you!
Yoga Poses to Improve Posture
If you’re wondering which yoga poses you can practice if you want to improve your posture, here are ten to focus on.
- Mountain pose
- Staff pose
- Tree pose
- Standing side bends
- Standing forward bend
- Downward-facing dog
- Warrior 1
Remember to pay attention to proper alignment when you do these. Focus especially on straightening and lengthening the spine. If you’re not sure how to do any of the poses above, ask a teacher, or look for them on the Track Yoga app!