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  • Purvi Shah

How Yoga Improves Posture

Remember growing up we heard, "You'll look better and feel great if you stop slouching and stand up straight." Yep, our parents were right. But if you are like me and most kids are, we rolled our eyes and ignored them, or straightened up until they were not looking.

Having a good posture is a recipe for great health. It honors your spine's natural curves and helps balance our body equally. Good posture is important for balance. By standing up straight, you center your weight over your feet. This helps us maintain the correct form and minimize injury.

1. You'll have better balance. Just walking across the floor or down the block requires good balance. So does rising from a chair, going up and down stairs, holding groceries, and even turning to look behind you. Relliveing some of the pressure on your muscles and joints will mean your body requires less energy to perform simple tasks, so you'll feel fresher even after a long day.

2. You'll breathe more easily. Yes, even breathing is a challenge if your posture isn't great. Sitting in a crumpled position can constrict your airways, and make it difficult to catch your breath. Not straightening your back also leaves your ribcage in an unnatural position, which puts added pressure on your lungs.

3. You'll digest food more easily. When slouched, your body is actually putting pressure on your internal organs, which makes digestion more difficult.

Some of the main culprits of poor posture are:

Sitting down a lot. Inflexible muscles decrease range of motion.

Desk jobs that spend a lot of time spent hunched over computers.

Lack of core muscle strength

Obesity. If you weigh more, it's more difficult to hold and maintain a good posture

Pregnancy. Naturally, with the extra weight of a baby, it can be hard to maintain good posture and this is why backache and pelvic pain is a problem for many pregnant women.

High heels-- wearing high heels puts your body at an unnatural angle, so your spine and hips shift and flex in order to keep you balanced.

Yoga offers many simple asana to help you reverse the effects of day to day life habits in addition to overall wellness.

According to the American Osteopathic Association, researchers found that yoga outperformed aerobic exercise at improving balance, flexibility, and strength, and pain levels among seniors, menopausal symptoms, daily energy level, and social and occupational functioning. Yoga has been around for at least 5,000 years, but Western science of the field of yoga therapy is also providing some concrete clues as to how yoga works.

To create great alignment for your body, I would recommend a three-step process. First, build awareness by assessing your posture and lifestyle. Next, create a yoga prescription for your specific postural problem by incorporating a few simple poses into your regular practice. An experienced yoga teacher can help you create a sequence that works for your needs.

Finally, take your newly developed awareness of your alignment through your daily life.

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