Now that many of us have a more sedentary life style, working in offices, spending time hunched over computers and electronic devices, sitting in cars and so on, our posture tends to suffer. In addition as we age our posture is more likely to deteriorate- we might start to stoop, losing a few inches in height with our shoulders rounding, head falling forward and stomach jutting out. So over time we can find ourselves in a very ageing posture!!
Poor posture is ugly and makes us look old beyond our years.
As well as that, it isn’t helpful for our health. Here are just a few examples: it can cause aches and pains, headaches, back problems, stop us feeling refeshed after a night’s sleep, limit mobility and flexibility and also create less openness in the body and organs making it harder to breathe well. Interestingly a hunched posture can also affect our mood making us feel low and negative. Try it now -sit or stand tall, chest open, shoulders back and away from ears and see if you feel more positive.
Good posture though, isn’t about sitting or standing tall in a tense, rigid manner. It means releasing unnecessary tension-for example ensuring shoulders are relaxed and even and relaxing muscles of the face and jaw . It is also about being in balance- standing or sitting with weight evenly distributed, feet parallel and in good contact with the floor and noticing our sit bones feel even on a chair.
When I see people for 121 yoga one of the first things we tend to do is look at posture and over the weeks start to change unhelpful patterns which in turn reduces aches and pains and helps people feel better.
People can definitely improve their posture once they become aware of what they need to do to be well aligned with minimal tension. They can also help maintain good posture by regular stretching and strengthening which is exactly what you do in yoga.
And on a really positive note it is never too late to improve your posture. One class I teach is to elderly people several of whom are in their 9o’s. We do chair- based yoga with some standing practices. I have noticed over the weeks how everyone has increasingly become aware of their alignment and people have actually started to hold themselves better and look taller.