Best Yoga Poses for Better Posture

It’s easy to let bad posture creep into our daily lives, making bad posture a prevalent issue in the modern day. We are what we repeatedly do, and we all seem to be slouching all day.  We lean over phones, stare at computer screens, and all the other various things that allow our back muscles to weaken and our shoulders to slump forward. Thankfully, yoga can help! 

Good posture relies on:

  • Strong back muscles
  • Strong core
  • Correct alignment throughout the hips, spine, and shoulders
  • Flexibility in your hamstrings and hips 

1. Tree pose

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Why it works:

Tree pose focuses on balance, engagement, and alignment which are all necessities for better posture. 

How to:

From a standing position, bring your right foot to your left ankle, calf, or upper thigh. Bring your hands together in heart center, or above your head for an extra challenge. Find a focus point and try to hold this pose for at least 10 breaths. 

Focus on: 

  • Tucking your pelvis
  • Pulling your shoulders back and down
  • Engaging your core and closing your ribs

 

2. Standing forward fold

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Why it works:

Tight hamstrings pull on your hips and low back, causing inflammation, pain, and subsequently bad posture. This pose stretches your hamstrings which helps to reduce tension and improve flexibility. 

How to:

From a standing position, bring your feet hip distance. Inhale, stand up tall as you roll your shoulders back and down. Exhale, fold forward bringing your peace fingers around your big toes. Inhale, flatten your back and tilt your pelvis forward. Exhale, fold deeper. Do not round your back or slump forward. If you have lower back pain then bend your knees and lengthen your spine even more; this helps bring the stretch into your hamstrings and out of your back. Hold this pose for at least 10 breaths. 

Focus on: 

  • Tilting your pelvis forward to lengthen hamstrings
  • Lengthening your spine

 

Down Dog

3. Downward dog

Why it works:

This pose strengthens the endurance of your back muscles and corrects spinal alignment. It also stretches your hamstrings. 

How to:

From your hands and knees, place your hands under your shoulders and spread your fingers
wide like starfish. Lift your knees off the mat as you reach your tailbone to the sky. Lengthen and flatten your back as you straighten your knees and drop the heels.

Focus on: 

  • Engaging your lats
  • Pulling your shoulders away from your ears
  • Lengthening your spine

 

4. Sphinx Pose

Why it works:

This pose opens the chest and shoulders, while it strengthens and lengthens the spine. 

How to:

Start laying on your belly. Prop yourself up onto your forearms. Bring your hands in line with your elbows, and your elbows should be shoulder distance apart. Inhale, as you draw your chest forward. Exhale, as you pull your shoulders away from your ears. Press the tops of your feet down onto the mat, and feel your body lengthening in opposite directions; with energy reaching through the crown of your head, and through your toes. 

Focus on: 

  • Lengthening out of your low spine
  • Pulling your chest forward 
  • Drawing your shoulders away from your ears

 

5. Butterfly

Butterfly Pose

Why it works:

A lot of the flexibility and strength in your back comes from your hips being in proper alignment. When your hips and abductors are tense, it affects your back too! This pose stretches the leg muscles that may be the root cause of back pain and bad posture.

How to:

Start in a comfortable seated position. Bring the soles of your feet together, and open your feet like a book. Sit up tall with an inhale. On your exhale fold forward, keeping your back flat. All your thighs to open as you fold deeper with every breath. 

Focus on: 

  • Lengthening your spine
  • Pulling your shoulders away from your ears

 

6. Mountain Pose

Mountain Pose

Why it works:

This pose teaches you proper alignment and posture for how you should be standing and walking around on a daily basis. Most of us stand with our hips tilted and shoulder slumped which causes chronic low back pain and bad posture; this pose corrects all of that! 

How to:

Stand with your feet hip distance, reaching your energy up through the crown of your head. Tuck your pelvis, lengthen your spine, and draw your shoulders back and down as you stand up taller with every breath.

Focus on: 

  • Tucking your pelvis
  • Engaging your core and closing your ribs
  • Pulling your shoulders back and down

 

7. Crescent Lunge

Crescent Lunge

Why it works:

This pose promotes good posture through stretching your hips and strengthening your back. It teaches you how to create space within your spine while counter balancing your energy. 

How to:

From Down Dog, step one foot forward, staying on the ball of the back foot. Inhale as you reach up, bringing your palms together. Spend the next few breaths deepening this pose by adding a slight back bend.

Focus on: 

  • Reaching your arms up to create length
  • Engaging your core
  • Pulling your shoulders down and engaging your lats