People with good posture not only look more attractive, but the proper position of your spine also helps your back stay healthy and improves circulation and breathing. Even if you have no serious distortions, your spine often experiences extended loads and needs relaxation after long periods of sitting down.
To help those who care about their posture, we found these four exercises that are certain to reduce tension and strengthen your back muscles.
Sukhasana (easy pose).
- Breast breathing. Sit on a blanket in sukhasana position: cross your legs, keep your back straight and your abs tight, draw your shoulder blades towards each other, drop your shoulders down and back. To ease the position you can sit on a folded blanket with your back against a wall. When you are sure your back is straight, pull your stomach in and draw attention to your chest. While you breathe, only your ribs should move, while the abdomen should remain motionless. With every breath you should feel your chest expand as you inhale and contract as you exhale.
- Full yogic breath. Stay in the sukhasana position and mentally divide the stages of your breathing into three parts: abdomen, ribs and clavicle. As you breathe in, inflate your abdomen, then expand your lower ribs, and finally lift the upper ribs and clavicle. Exhalation is done from the bottom up: pull in your stomach, lower your ribs and finally the clavicle.
Adho Mukha svanasana (’downward-facing dog’).
- Sitting in the sukhasana position or on a chair, slowly rotate your shoulders forward in a circle.
- Spread your arms wide, but don’t put them behind your back. Keep your shoulders down, and draw them forward when exhaling. Do the exercise slowly with your fingers outstretched.
- Adopt the downward-facing dog pose. Place your feet hip-width apart and your hands shoulder-width apart. The main task: while pushing off the floor with your hands, roll your shoulders forward, pull your head down and your tailbone upward and press your heels down.
- From svanasana, move into the plank pose. Do not let your chest and pelvis sag toward the ground, stand firm, with your stomach pulled in, and your wrists directly under your shoulders.
Straightening the spine
- Tadasana. Stand up straight with your legs together and distribute your weight evenly over both feet. Tighten your thighs, draw your tailbone forward, pull in the stomach, and start rolling your shoulders backwards, opening up your chest. In the same position, try breathing using the chest. This pose may cause you to bend at the waist. To avoid it, pull in and tighten your stomach.
- Dandasana. Sit on a blanket with your legs stretched out and pressed towards the floor. You need to form a 90-degree angle between your body and legs. Bring your hands to the side and push off with them; it will help straighten your back and open your chest. If you feel a strong stretch in the back of your legs, you can sit on a pad or use a yoga block.
When you sit on a chair, your knees should sit above your ankles, bent at 90 degrees. Your back should be straight, stomach pulled in, chest opened up, and your shoulder blades squeezed together and down. Do not bend at the waist. It’s hard to keep your posture like this for a long time, but if you remember to sit straight from time to time during the day, you will develop this very useful habit soon enough.