Not to sound too much like your mother…but good posture is so, so important! And a lot of us (myself included) spend too much time on autopilot – which usually involves slouching, hunching, and generally not being too kind to our spines. Good posture helps us feel confident, look taller and slimmer, and is way better for our bodies in the long run. Luckily, yoga’s an amazing tool to help you improve your posture, and we’ve compiled our top 5 poses to help.
Posture pose number one – Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
‘But – that’s just standing!’ I hear you say. But honestly, when you’re paying attention, it’s so much more than that. To come into Mountain pose, feet can come either together or out at hip-width distance. Soften the knees slightly and ground down through all four corners of the feet, maybe lifting and spreading the toes. Keeping your hips neutral and tuck the tailbone slightly under. Draw shoulders back and down, stack head over heart, heart over pelvis, and reach the crown of your head towards the sky. So…standing, basically. But with intention. Which is what we forget about when we’re jammed on the Dart at rush hour!
Posture pose number two – Cat/Cow
If we want to understand what a straight, neutral spine feels like, it’s important that we play with spinal flexion and extension too, both of which Cat/Cow provides. Come to your hands and knees, with your wrists under shoulders, and knees under hips. Draw your belly in and feel your spine lengthen from the crown of the head to the tip of the tailbone, one big beautiful line of energy. This is Tabletop. From Tabletop, inhale and drop the belly, arch the spine, lift chin and chest and gaze up, and on your exhale, round your back towards the ceiling, letting the head gently release. Repeat a few times, then return to neutral Tabletop, noticing the difference.
Posture pose number three – Tree pose
One of the biggest reasons – I believe – for our lack of perfect posture, is that we don’t really pay attention to it. That’s why Tree pose is so great – it forces us to pay attention to our posture and how we’re holding ourselves, because if we don’t, we’ll fall. From Mountain pose, ground your weight into your left foot and bring your right foot to either your left ankle, shin, or inner thigh – anywhere on that leg just not on the knee. Stand tall, bringing hands to heart centre or reaching them up overhead. Draw everything into the midline here. Draw your shoulders down and beck, and reach up through the crown of the head just as much as you’re rooting down through that standing foot.
Posture pose number four – Uttanasana (Standing forward bend)
Uttanasana helps you lengthen the spine, which in turn helps to improve your posture. Feet can be together or hip distance apart, soften the knees and let yourself fold over, lengthening the spine and completely relaxing the neck, drawing your chest towards your thighs. Keep a deep bend in the knees here, especially if hamstrings are tight. You can hold on to opposite elbows and sway here for a few breaths.
Posture pose number five – Plank pose
I know, I know – everybody’s favourite 😉 this burner isn’t only great for building strength, but also in creating length along the entire back body. Keep your wrists under your shoulders, torso parallel to the floor, reaching back through the heels. The whole body is in one straight line here, legs and butt working, belly drawing in towards the spine, collarbones open. Keep your neck long and breathe here, focusing on creating length, with one long line of energy flowing from the crown of the head all the way back to the feet.