Posture actually plays a greater role in a person's overall health than you may initially think. According to LiveStrong.com, having good posture is key to preventing problems such as back pain, soreness and fatigue.
"When the back is straight, the spine is supported and stabilized, but as you slouch or practice other methods of poor posture, your spine no longer has the support it needs to stay balanced, leading to many health problems," said author Chris Sherwood.
Among those many health problems are spinal curvature, subluxations, blood vessel constriction and nerve constriction. Bet you're sitting up a little straighter in that chair now, aren't you? Unfortunately, the risks and side effects of poor posture don't just end there.
As reported by the American Chiropractic Association, low back pain is the single leading cause of disability worldwide. One-half of all working Americans admit to having back pain each year, making it the second most common reason for visits to the doctor's office. And here's the real kicker — it's estimated that Americans spend at least $50 billion each year on back pain. Yep, you can say it... Ouch!
Good news is, we don't have to keep dishing out our hard-earned dough to help correct our hard-working backs. As a matter of fact, all we need to do is (you guessed it), roll out our yoga mats!
SheKnows sat down (and up straight) with yoga guru Alanna Zabel to find out her go-to poses to improve posture. Check out what she recommends below!
"Mountain pose is an ideal pose to establish proper posture. In Iyengar yoga, it is common to hear the instructor say, 'Find tadasana in every posture.' With your tailbone rooting down and your crown and chest lifting upward, this is a wonderful pose to incorporate in every physical action you take."
"Oftentimes tight psoas tendons are the culprit for imbalanced posture as they shorten the front of your hips and overstretch the lower back. As a result, the shoulders will roll forward to compensate."
"I love this pose for both length and strength — which is a great combination. You are elongating the spine, and opening the shoulders and chest while strengthening the entire back."
"I joke while teaching my classes sometimes that Buddhist monks have the best 'six-packs,' because the musculature that develops from sitting with straight posture requires a strong core. If your lower back rounds in this pose, please sit on a block so that your posture is straight."
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"Since every aspect of yoga is about creating balance, it is important to counterpose the back bends with a gentle forward bend, like child's pose. This maintains good range of motion and mobility of your spine and back."
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