You may not notice it right away, but many common posture problems are a result of our technology-driven lives. Our necks are bent down to look at our smartphones and we sit hunched for hours at a time over computers at work – even the way we sit on the couch simply to relax can have a negative impact on our the health of our spines.
Luckily, there are easy ways to improve posture and stand tall. The following is a 15-minute workout for better posture, which you can do anywhere, anytime, with no equipment.
As you may have guessed, yoga is one of the best ways to improve your posture, so many of these moves are yoga-oriented. Even if you don’t practice yoga regularly, these exercises are simple and basic enough for you to follow and still benefit from them. Try incorporating this workout into your morning routine to help improve your posture throughout the day.
Mountain Pose (TADASANA)
- Tadasana pose is easy, can be done anywhere, and feels great.
- Stand with your feet hip distance apart.
- Spread your feet so that they feel as flat against the ground as possible.
- Tuck your tailbone forward, engage your core, quad and calf muscles.
- While keeping your shoulders down and relaxed, raise your arms and stretch upward.
- Keeping your shoulders down level with your ears is important for proper form.
- Hold for one minute.
- Do this several times a day for maximum benefit.
Tree Pose (VRKSASANA)
Tree pose is a mild balancing pose. The more you have been slouching, the more difficult this pose will seem at first but you will very quickly improve at this once you incorporate exercises for better posture into your daily routine. Additionally, the act of keeping your balance gently forces your posture to straighten, so the more often you do this pose, the better.
- Standing on one foot, place the other foot as high on your standing leg as possible.
- Beginners will start low – that’s ok.
- Hold for 1-2 minutes, and then switch sides.
Downward Facing Dog (ADHO MUKHA SVNANASANA)
This pose lengthens and stretches your spine, and feels great after a long hard day at work. It also opens your shoulders and adds flexibility. This not only improves your posture, it can also reverse the rounded shoulder look you get from sitting hunched over.
- Stand tall, and bend at the hips so that your hands touch the ground.
- Your body will be in an upside-down V shape.
- Drop your head as you keep your hands and feet grounded.
- Let gravity pull your torso toward the ground, and gently ease your heels downward.
- Beginners will find this challenging, but you can work up to it the more you practice.
- Slightly arch your back by pointing your sit bones upward.
- Hold for a few breaths and slowly ease out of the position, and back to standing.
Despite appearances plank pose is one of the most challenging poses in this 15-minute workout. It is quite simple, but works so many muscle groups that you will feel all kinds of muscular burns. Plank pose improves posture by strengthening the muscle groups that hold your shoulders, neck and spine in the proper posture.
- In a push-up position, position your arms so that your forearms are flat on the floor.
- Your feet should be positioned so that your lower body weight is supported on your toes.
- Form is vitally important in this pose. Keep your body straight from your neck to your feet – do not let your hips drop or your back sag downward.
- Engage your core and hold for 30 seconds.
- Beginners start with 10 seconds.
- Work up as you advance to hold this plank pose for 2 minutes.
Cobra Pose (BHUJANGASANA)
Cobra pose opens the chest and gently stretches the spine, which reverses your slouch-induced rounded upper back and shoulders.
- Lay on your stomach to start. Keeping your lower body on the ground, straighten your arms so that you feel the stretch in your back.
- Lift your head gently to look upwards. As you perform these poses more often, you will notice a marked increase in all your muscles’ flexibility.
- In Cobra, relax your shoulders so that they are not up around your ears.
- Hold for one minute, rest then repeat. Cobra pose is a wonderful stretch after an intense ab routine.
- Once you try it, you will never want to skip it! During intense abdominal workouts, our muscles tend to literally crunch together.
- Cobra pose lengthens those muscles back out, which feels great and also releases any lactic acid buildup in this muscle group.
- Too much lactic acid makes for majorly sore muscles in the morning!
Good posture is just as much mental as it is physical. We have to make it a habit to remind ourselves to straighten up out of our slouched positions all day long. This 15-minute posture-improving workout will shock you with results immediately. Once you do this workout 2-3 times you will naturally want to sit and stand up straighter. These posture exercises are more than just stretches; they also work to strengthen the muscles we need in order to maintain proper posture throughout the day.