Before you can improve your posture it is necessary to first strengthen the muscles that surround your back, spine, and core. If you suffer from a chronic condition like low back pain then the fastest way you can do this is to begin a yoga practice. By practicing posture improving yoga poses for lower back pain relief not only will you begin to strengthen your back and core muscles responsible for good posture, your entire physical and mental health will improve as well.
How to Improve Your Posture
You might think that good posture means that your spine is completely straight from top to bottom but there are actually three natural curves in the spine while in its neutral position – an inward curve in the lower vertebrae, an outer curve of the vertebrae in the upper back, and an inward curve again at the base of the neck. To have good posture just means that your spine is its neutral position and is not experiencing any outside forces causing it to bend unnaturally.
A common outside force that affects millions of people today is sitting at a desk hunched over a computer for work. Without stretching and strengthening your muscles to counteract the affects of poor posture it is possible for chronic conditions such as sciatica to form and cause even more discomfort.
The reason you most likely have poor posture in the first place is because the muscles in your back and core have weakened overtime and are unable to support your body weight properly. Gravity then takes over and your shoulders might droop and your upper back could begin to hunch causing the natural curve of your spine to become unaligned.
If your spine is out of alignment it is only a matter of time before a sudden movement or weakened back muscles will lead to even more pain. To improve your posture and make sure that your spine is always in its neutral position then you need to strengthen your back and core muscles without causing further stress on the rest of your body.
Posture Improving Yoga Poses
Practicing yoga helps improve your posture so well because each movement that you make during yoga is designed to rehabilitate every muscle and joint in your body. While this rehabilitation is occurring during your practice you are also using every muscle in your body, even ones you never knew you had before, more than you ever thought possible.
Overtime your practice will actually start to heal chronic aches and pains in your body leaving you free to go deeper and hold poses longer than ever before. The following yoga poses are designed to lengthen and realign the spine, strengthen your core muscles, and reverse the affects poor posture.
1. Cat-Cow Pose
Cat-Cow Pose is a great way to get your spine warmed up and and start to loosen any tension in your back muscles. Throughout the pose focus on keeping your core muscles engaged and your spine aligned. While in the full expression of both Cat Pose and Cow Pose make sure your shoulders are over your hands and your knees are below your hips.
2. Bird-Dog Pose
Bird-Dog Pose is going to start lengthening your spine and build strength in your back and core muscles. Keep your core engaged the entire time and work to bring your lower stomach up and in towards your belly button. While in the full expression of the pose make sure your fingers are stretching forward and your foot is stretching backwards like it is standing on an imaginary wall behind you.
3. Cobra Pose
Cobra Pose focuses on releasing tension in your lower back muscles which allows your lower spine to curve naturally. While in the pose your fingers should be directly below your shoulders and your upper back and shoulder blades should working in towards each other. Keep your feet on the ground throughout the entire pose and really focus on lifting your chest off the ground with your head straight in front of you.
4. Extended Child’s Pose
Extended Child’s Pose allows your spinal vertebrae to lengthen all the way from your neck down to your lower back. While moving into the full expression of the pose your knees should be slightly wider than your hips and your feet should be barely touching. To get the most out of the pose work to lengthen your tailbone to your feel and your arms as far out in front of you as you can.
5. Camel Pose
One of the biggest chest expanding poses that is available in yoga is Camel Pose. This pose opens your shoulders up to the sky and allows any tension in the neck and upper back to release. While moving into the pose place your hands on your lower back for support and work to move your elbows in towards each other. Make sure that you are lifting your chest up to the sky instead of sinking in to your lower back while in the full expression of the pose.
6. Standing Backbend with Interlaced Hands
One of my favorite stretches that helps counteract the effects of sitting hunched over at a desk in Standing Backbend with Interlaced Hands. This stretch is going to open your shoulders and chest while increasing the flexibility of your spine. As you move into the full expression of the stretch work you bring your palms together and your arms and hands straight down to the ground.
7. Standing Forward Fold with Interlaced Hands
Moving directly from the last pose start to bend forward until your arms are above your shoulders and your head is below your chest. This is a great stretch for the hamstrings as well as the lower back and helps strengthen the back and core muscles responsible for good posture.
Consistently Practice Yoga Poses for Lower Back Pain Relief
When you first attempt the yoga poses that are mentioned above you might not be able to go very deep into the pose at first. This is because as your muscles become inactive they weaken and are more prone to outside forces causing issues in your body. As your body tries to compensate for these issues your muscles tighten and your spine might move out of alignment causing all sorts of other problems.
The fastest way to start strengthening the muscles that are responsible for improving your posture is to start a regular yoga practice. Once your muscles get stronger they will be able to support your body weight and your posture will improve as well as many other health benefits that a regular yoga practice provides.
It is possible to correct your posture, and in turn relieve your lower back pain, but it’s not going to happen overnight. Depending on your condition its possible that your body has endured years of strain that are finally starting to show up as aches and pains. It’s not going to take as long to start healing your body but the sooner you start the faster you will find relief from your pain.
What can you do today to start improving your posture?
Stick With It!