Did you automatically straighten your own spine when you read the title of this post?
If you’re reading this at work, have a look around. Are your colleagues slumped over in their chairs, spines curled inwards? If people are standing, are their heads held up, or are they stooped over, shoulders hunched?
Our lives have become more sedentary and it’s easy to fall into a comfortable slouch. Poor posture has become a byproduct of our love affair with PCs, laptops, tablets and handheld devices, as we hunch over them, eyes down, for hours at a time.
Remember when your mother told you to stop slouching and sit up straight? It seems she knew a thing or two. We’ve become a nation of slumpers and it’s not doing us any good.
Good posture is essential for your health
Yoga instructors, personal trainers, physiotherapists and other health practitioners will tell you how poor posture negatively affects your strength, performance and energy. Your breathing is restricted when you slouch, and less oxygen to the brain means less thinking power. That’s why when you take a break from a task and stand up and stretch, you’ll find renewed energy and clarity when you return to it.
Try this exercise to automatically straighten out, increase blood flow, give your organs room to do their work properly and relieve stress and tension:
Pretend there’s a string attached to the top of your head and someone above is gently tugging on it. Stretch your head and neck upwards, while looking forward, and release your shoulders downwards and back. At first, you may feel a big knot between your shoulder blades. That’s the tension caused by poor posture. The more you carry yourself well, the less stress you put on your spine and shoulders, and the better you’ll feel.
When you sit, keep your pelvis untucked, sitting on your sitz bones (the bony part of your rear end) and let your vertebrae stack on top of each other.
When you take the tension off your spine, your body will thank you.