Having good posture is SO important in our daily lives. When you stand or sit up straight your spine lengthens, your abs are ever so slightly engaged and your heart opens. You send a message to those around you that you are alert, confident and someone worth knowing.
Having a three-star Army General for a grandfather helped me learn good posture from the get-go. But doing yoga has helped me keep it up. As a yoga instructor, change in posture is easiest seen among my regular private clients. Each time I come to teach at their homes, a taller and more confident person greets me. It’s so wonderful hearing that their friends have started to compliment them on their posture and how much brighter they appear. From personal experience I can say that good posture really does help get you noticed. It’s actually rare for me to meet someone and not get a comment that they had noticed me across the room because of my good posture. It’s even helped me get asked out on dates.
Here are some tips so that you too can begin to reap the benefits of good posture.
To begin, let’s go over how to stand with good posture. Start by pulling your shoulders back and down your spine. Don’t squeeze them together, just bring them in line with your neck and slightly down. Think open collarbones. Next, take any “banana curve” out of your back by tucking your tailbone. Again, not so much that your hips are jutting out forward, just enough to straighten and lengthen your spine. By bringing your shoulders and hips in line, you will feel your abs engage. This is a good thing. Last but not least, make sure that your head is sitting on top of your spine. Look at your profile in a mirror. Your neck should be straight, not too far forward or back. When your head is correctly aligned on top of your spine, you will also feel your abs slightly engage. And since we’re mentioning abs, it’s much easier to have better posture if they are strong. Having a strong core equals better posture. When your yoga teacher leads you to lower and lift in boat pose, it’s not to be cruel. It’s to help you by strengthening your core.
Make sure to practice these alignments in your yoga as well. When you inhale your arms overhear make sure that your shoulders are back and down your spine, your chest is open and your tailbone is tucked. When you inhale up to a flat back within a standing forward bend, really make it a FLAT back. Focus on lengthening your spine out, bringing your navel closer to your spine and sending your shoulders back and down. By practicing these cues in all of your poses, from your warriors to your twists to your tree, they will start to feel more natural. Bringing better alignment into your yoga helps bring it into daily life.
Last, but not least, go about your day imagining a string going from your heels all the way up your legs, spine and out the top of your head. If someone was to pull the string from above, that is how you should stand. When you are sitting, imagine the string starting at your tailbone and going out the top of your head. Sit upright, as if someone was pulling the string. And don’t forget to open your chest!