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Yoga to Improve Your Posture

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Updated May 16, 2014

Students often want to know if yoga can make them taller. While yoga is not going to make you grow, it can noticeably improve your posture, making you look taller, thinner, and more confident. Many postural problems are caused by the hours spent each day hunched over a computer terminal at work or driving a car. These yoga poses can help counteract your tendency to slouch as well as increase body awareness, improving your posture.

Mountain Pose - Tadasana

Mountain Pose - Tadasana
© Barry Stone
Though it looks simple enough, when done correctly mountain pose is actually quite complex because it teaches you to sense when your body is in perfect vertical alignment. It takes a lot of practice and correction to be able to do this on your own. At first you may overcompensate for a tendency to slouch by pushing the shoulders too far back and sticking out the chest. This is not the point of the pose: rather it is to find the neutral position and symmetry on either side of your midline.

Standing Forward Bend Variation

© Barry Stone
This variation with the hands interlaced behind the back is a great shoulder opener and hamstring stretch. To get as much openness in the chest as possible, before forward bending join the hands behind your back and scrunch your shoulders up toward your ears. Then let the shoulder blades slide down your back as you draw your arms straight.

Cat - Cow Stretch

© Barry Stone
This series of stretches is great for helping you discover the ideal neutral position of your spine. But moving the spine in flexion and extension, passing through neutral each time, you learned to judge the position more accurately.

Bridge Pose

© Barry Stone
This mild backbend opens the chest and shoulders, two areas that are often constricted in people with poor posture. It will also strengthen the back, giving your spine more support. For a less intense version, you can try supported bridge instead.

Yoga Stretches at Your Desk

© Barry Stone
This series of poses is designed to release the tension in the neck and shoulders that comes from working at a desk all day. Taking a break to do these stretches a few times a day will improve your posture and help prevent repetitive stress injuries.
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