We’re all born with a natural posture that helps to support our frame and internal organs. However, as we grow older and sit in classes, and later on in our offices, we the natural posture memory gets erased thanks to our modern way of life. As a result, many people start getting lower back pain, stiff shoulders and muscle spasms.
In this post, we’ll examine a couple of exercises that should teach you how to get a good posture fast. If you’re in doubt about performing any of these exercises, please consult your doctor before getting started.
We’ll first examine the physiology of the back, and point out some common problem areas. The human back has three curves on it:
- The first is the cervical curve located around the neck
- The second is the thoracic curve, found on your upper back
- The third is the lumbar curve, located in the lower back
How can you keep a good posture while sitting too long in a chair, or on a surface that’s too soft? The vertebrae on your back become misaligned, causing these three curves to go out of sync. At the same time, remember that the back is connected to muscles, and these are connected to the bones. Your spine forms the length of the back, and rich with nerves which transmit stimuli from the skin to the brain. A bad back thus affects not only your posture, but your muscles, internal organs, nerves and bones.
So how to get good posture? It’s simply a matter of making sure that your back is well aligned. Good posture also has the added advantages of making you look taller, more confident and even thinner. Poor posture contributes to rounded shoulders, making you look older than you really are. If left untreated, poor posture may result in muscle and joint injuries, as well as back surgery.
A Few Tips on How to Get Good Posture:
Practice self awareness throughout the day. You can do this with the help of an alarm that goes off every fifteen minutes. When the alarm beeps, sit up at your desk, roll your shoulders up and back, opening up your chest and rectifying the spinal alignment.
Get an ergonomic back chair, which is basically a chair that traces the natural curvature of your back, giving it the needed support throughout the day.
Make sure that your knees are below or the same height where your hips are.
It’s also important to know how to keep a good posture while sleeping. Avoid sleeping on your stomach, his puts undue pressure on your back.
Get a mattress that’s the right amount of firmness. Test it out before buying it to get an idea of how it would feel on your back.
Take a break from sitting every two hours and walk around. This disengages your muscles, and relieves the pressure on your back.
Avoid high heels, since they displace your center of gravity, leading to poor posture. If you have to wear high heels, carry a pair of flats you can use around the office during the day.
Additionally, you should consider the following Yoga poses to help realign your spine:
1. Locust Pose
This pose is great for relieving pressure on your sacroiliac joint, which is related to poor posture. It’s found at the base of your spine, and is held together on each side by a couple of ligaments that radiate into your pelvic girdle.
How to Do It:
- To begin with, lie on mat with your abdomen stretched out in front of you. Touch your head to the floor, and bring your palms down to either side of the body.
- Lift your shoulders while drawing the lower abdomen in.
- On an in breath, lift one leg slowly, while keeping your knee stable.
- Keep your outer right hip down while raising your leg.
- Extend your leg, and notice if that feels good. If there’s any pain, don’t power through. Only stretch to a point where you feel like you’re challenging your body without experiencing any pain.
- Take a few breaths, and slowly bring your foot down.
- If you want, you can repeat this sequence on your other foot. However, if you feel that your sacroiliac joint is better, then you don’t need to do the other leg.
- Rest your forehead on your hands for a minute while taking a few breaths.
- Breathe towards the hips and lower back to expand the spine, and then slowly come back up by rolling over your side and sitting up.
2. Bridge Pose
Practicing this pose is one of the ways to get learn how to get good posture because it strengthens the lower back and spine, and helps you regain the natural curvature of your back which is important for good posture.
How to Do It:
- Start by lying on your back, making sure that your feet are parallel to each other.
- Draw your feet into your hips so that they’re close enough for you to touch them with your fingers.
- Place your palms down on to the floor, and press your shoulders and upper arms down.
- Ground your feet, and on an in breath, lift your back up, leading with your breast bone.
- Keep your head and neck relaxed as you rise up, and keep your breast bone leading up to your chin.
- Pin your shoulders to the ground, making sure that your soles are in contact with the floor.
- Reach out through your knees and breastbone, which will help you get that extension needed in your back and the inner thighs.
- You’ll notice that your hamstrings will engage, helping you lift even further up.
- Take a few breaths, and bring your awareness into your outer shoulders and upper back.
- If you want, you can interlace your fingers behind the back, and push them down towards the floor.
- Slowly bring your hips and back down to the floor. Take a few breaths, and then sit up when you’re done.
We hope that this simple guide will help you put your posture back in its natural position in no time. If any of these exercises feel challenging or painful, back off for a while, or build up to more challenging poses with time. If you are interested in yoga retreats, check out our comprehensive guide on the best ones around the world.