Best Yoga tips for poise and posture

Many people make the assumption that yoga involves difficult or awkward movements that require a lot of expertise to perform. While the practice of yoga can sometimes be quite complex, there are a lot of basic poses and movements that are simple to learn. Even basic poses and movements can make a real impact on your posture, balance and overall wellbeing. 

The amount of time we spend hunched over a computer, driving a car or performing other activities that require forward bending can cause a lot of tension and back pain and as we grow older, progressively deteriorate our posture. Yoga targets the muscles and joints that directly affect posture, particularly in the shoulders, spine, abdomen and neck. Let’s take a look at a few key positions that are ideal for beginners.

The mountain pose
This is a great starting point for getting the spine in alignment.

  • Stand straight with your big toes touching and heels apart
  • Balance your weight evenly over both feet and push your calves toward the floor to get well grounded
  • Tense your thighs and turn them slightly inward
  • Suck in the tummy, lengthen the spine by pushing the top of the head upwards while pulling the shoulder blades together and down
  • Finally bring your palms together in front of your chest with fingers pointing upwards
  • Hold this position with a few deep breaths.

Standing Forward Bend
This is wonderful for lengthening the spine and releasing tension in the shoulders and neck.

  • Begin in the standing pose mentioned above, but move your feet apart slightly (no wider than your hips)
  • Bend forward from the hips as far down as you can and hold this position.
  • There is no need to lock the knees straight; just keep them relaxed and slightly bent
  • Take a few breaths while holding this position
  • As you move back upwards, inhale slowly as you draw your shoulders back and slowly raise your head
  • Push your chest out to lengthen your spine until your back comes to a flat position parallel with the floor
  • While holding this position, look forward, but without compressing the neck too much
  • Bring your hands to your knees to help hold the flat back position and draw in your naval toward your spine
  • You can then exhale as you drop back down and repeat this process a few times before standing straight.

The cobra pose
This invigorating routine is a great back stretch, strengthens the arms and shoulders and opens the chest for deeper breathing.

  • Lie face down with your palms under your shoulders and elbows tucked close to your body
  • Press your legs and the tops of your feet into the floor
  • Inhale while you press your palms down, gently arching your back until your arms are straight
  • Roll the shoulders back and down, Press your tailbone toward your feet, lengthening your lower back and look slightly upwards. Hold for three or four deep breaths
  • Be careful not to push the chest out to hard so as you don’t harden the lower back. The objective is a nice even curve through the whole spine
  • Release with an exhale as you lower back to the floor

These poses should always feel good while you are doing them, so if you find something painful then review the techniques described to make sure you are doing it correctly.
As always, consult your medical practitioners before any exercise program if you have pre-existing conditions or health issues.