8 Yoga Poses That Deliver Better Posture

Hunching over your desk at work all day can lead to a curved spine, but stretching it out with the proper yoga poses can help you straighten up and feel better all around. “Yoga is one of the best workouts for your posture because it focuses on alignment of the skeletal structure so that the muscles and ligaments are being used properly,” says celebrity yoga instructor and author Mandy Ingber. “When your bones are stacked properly, good posture happens effortlessly. It takes daily practice, but your muscles have a memory.” Ahead, the best poses for better posture straight from experts Ingber and Dashama Konah Gordon, founder of Pranashama Yoga Institute and author.

You May Also Like: Does Bad Posture Have Long-Term Effects?

1/8

Pose: Ohana Praying Eagle

How to: Standing with both feel flat, Gordon says to bend one knee and sink your hips down. “Engage your core and cross the other leg in front as you wind it around, and if possible, hook the top leg's foot around the lower legs calf.” Next, straighten your spine and reach both arms out and up toward the sky, shoulders down and back, heart lifted. “With a slight tuck in the tailbone, lengthen your spine and raise the crown of your head toward the sky. Hold for five to 10 breaths and repeat on the other side.”

Benefits: “This pose strengthens your upper back, core, lower back and spine, while helping with balance and aligning your spine,” says Gordon. 

Image/Dashama Konah Gordon

2/8

Pose: Full Wheel

How to: Gordon says to start by laying on your back with your knees bent and your feet hip distance apart. “Place your palms behind your shoulders near your ears,” she explains, instructing us to press down into the floor as you lift your hips toward the sky. “If you are new to this pose, you can start by placing the crown of your head on the floor, then use your shoulders and upper back strength to press yourself up into the wheel pose.” Keep your feet parallel and see if you can walk your feet toward your hands to go deeper while you press your chest away from your legs. “Let your neck completely relax, head hanging toward the floor. Hold for five to 10 breaths and then lower down slowly with control.”

Benefits: This pose opens your chest, upper back, shoulders and spine. “It also strengthens, tones and builds flexibility while counter-balancing sloppy shoulders to create straighter posture.”

Image/Dashama Konah Gordon

3/8

Pose: Tree Pose

How to: Ingber says to start by standing nice and tall, extending out through the crown of your head to elongate your spine. “At the same time, ground down through your feet with weight evenly distributed through your active feet,” Ingber explains, advising to stack your head over your shoulders, hips, and heels. “Shift your weight to your right leg and draw the sole of your left foot to your groin with your left knee hinged open to the left. Press your foot into your inner thigh as you press your inner thigh to your foot. Bring your palms together at your heart in prayer and press the palms together.” At this point, Ingber says to imagine everything pressing together at the midline, which runs through the entire center of your body. “Extend out through your sternum and crown of your head. Press down through the foot of the sanding leg. Breathe and hold for 30 seconds. Switch sides.”

Benefits: “In Tree pose, you must find a connection to your core and the midline of your body,” Ingber explains, adding that core strengthening poses like this one aid in proper posture. “In any balance pose, you are connecting to your core, to opposing forces (gravity and extension), as well as lines of energy.” The result: a longer spine that lets you stand tall without trying.

Image/Mandy Ingber

4/8

Pose: Reverse Namaste Tree

How to: Gordon explains that this pose can be done with or without the tree/leg variation. “If you choose to include it, start balancing on one leg, with the other foot pressing into the inner thigh of the standing leg in tree pose.” From there, with both arms behind your back, start to bring your palms together into prayer position with your fingers facing down (if you have the shoulder and wrist flexibility, rotate the palms so they are facing upward). “While you’re holding this, press your shoulders down and back and press the sides of the praying hands into to the back of your spine. Hold for five to 10 breaths and repeat on the other leg.”

Benefits: “Reverse Namaste Tree opens up the front of the shoulder, wrists and hands and lengthens and straightens the spine,” says Gordon.


5/8

Pose: Hug the World

How to: This pose can be done standing or sitting and with or without any leg variations to accompany it. “It’s so simple but powerful,” says Gordon. “Start with a straight spine and reach both arms out in either direction, like you're going to hug the world. Roll the shoulders back and lift your heart toward the sky.” Keep reaching back with both arms remaining even in both directions while you breath into your heart and raise the crown of your heard toward the sky. “Hold for five to 10 breaths with a smile.”

Benefits: According to Gordon, this pose opens your shoulders, upper back, and creates a strait, elongated and aligned spine.

Image/Dashama Konah Gordon

6/8

Pose: Forearm Plank

How to: “From your hands and knees in table-top position, bring your forearms to the floor," Ingber explains. “Align your elbows directly beneath your shoulders and align your wrists to them while palms, pressing down, are shoulder-width apart (the forearms should look like the number 11).” Next, extend your legs back with toes curled under and your abdominals engaged. “Firm your thighs, gaze straight ahead and be sure that your hips and shoulders are on the same plane.”

Benefits: According to Ingber, this pose will help to align your spine as you practice. “Plus, it will develop abdominal strength so that your core muscles fire up and get engaged all the time.”

Image/Mandy Ingber

7/8

Pose: Lotus + Mudras (meditation)

How to: “Sitting in a comfortable position—easy cross leg position or lotus are both fine—tilt your tailbone back slightly and lengthen your spine, pulling in your lower belly as you lift your heart toward the sky,” Gordon explains. “Roll the shoulders down and back and extend your arms to rest on your knees with hands in jnana mudra with index and thumbs pressing together.” Because this is a meditation pose, try to hold it for five to 10 minutes. “The longer hold is what makes this so powerful,” Gordon says. “Try not to get lazy and slouch into your lower back. Hold the posture!”

Benefits: “This practice builds great posture for when you’re seated and will help for standing posture as well.”

Image/Dashama Konah Gordon

8/8

Pose: Hollowback Straight Leg Wheel

How to: Start by laying on your back with your knees bent and feet hip distance apart. Place your palms behind your shoulders near your ears. “Press down into the floor as you lift your hips toward the sky. If you are new to this pose, you can start by placing the crown of your head on the floor, then using your shoulders and upper back strength, press yourself up into the wheel pose,” advises Gordon. Keep your feet parallel and, if possible, see if you can walk your feet away from your hands while you straighten your knees and legs. “Press into your feet while you press your chest away from your legs. Let your neck completely relax, head hanging toward the floor. Hold for five to 10 breaths and then lower down slowly with control.”

Benefits: “This pose opens your body and offers many of the benefits similar to full wheel pose, but it takes all the pressure out of your lower back, so it’s more comfortable and accessible to more people with tight lower backs.”

Image/Dashama Konah Gordon

0 Comments

From around the web

THANK YOU FOR SUBSCRIBING TO THE

NEWSLETTERS