Featured Series: Making Improvements To Posture

29 May 2018, 5:41pm -

Health Advice

- About Posture
by Baxter
This sequence is designed to help you improve your posture, especially for those who tend to slump forward. Because this is a rather long practice, you should feel free to shorten it by only doing the dynamic versions of poses that offer both options some days and only doing static versions of poses that offer both options other days. You could also just pick three poses to do when you are short on time.

I also encourage you to work up to longer holds of static poses, from 90 seconds to 2 minutes because long holds of static poses can permanently changing both muscle and fascia length, which will really help with improving posture.

1. Dynamic Reclined Arms Overhead Pose, 6 rounds

In this pose your spine is more neutrally aligned just by virtue of you lying on your back. And moving your arms and shoulders up and overhead tends to open you upper back and encourage gentle backbend (extension) action of your upper spine.

Start by coming into Reclined Mountain pose with support under your head. Engage your legs and on an inhalation, swing your arms up and overhead alongside your ears. On an exhalation, swing your arms back down to your sides.

2. Reclined Arms Overhead Pose, 30 seconds to 1-2 minutes

Staying in the pose for a longer hold provides more stretching of your front chest.

To come into the pose, follow the instructions for the previous pose. With your arms alongside your ears, focus on lengthening from your hips to your hands, sensing a small amount of backbend in your spine. In this pose, some people can get their hands to the floor while others cannot. If you can’t bring yours to rest comfortably on the floor, try resting them on a block or folded blanket instead.

If you’re new to the pose, hold for just 30 seconds and gradually work up to 1 to 2 minutes over time. To come out of the pose, on an exhalation swing your arms back down by your sides.

3. Reclined Leg Stretch Pose, versions 1 and 3, 30 seconds to 1-2 minutes
Since tightness at the front and back of the hips could contribute to poor posture, I recommend adding in this pose to stretch your hamstring muscles (backs of your thighs). If you’re new to the pose, hold for just 30 seconds and gradually work up to 1 to 2 minutes over time. See Featured Pose: Reclined Leg Stretch Pose for instructions.

4. Cat-Cow Pose, 6 rounds
This pose helps to release stiffness in your entire spine, including the upper back (thoracic area). See Featured Pose: Cat-Cow Pose for instructions.

5. Dynamic Arms Overhead Pose, 6 rounds
This standing version of reclined pose will continue to stretch front body tightness that might be contributing to poor posture while also strengthening your upper back muscles to help maintain your improving posture.See youtube.com for instructions.

6. Arms Overhead Pose, 30 seconds to 1-2 minutes
This will increase the stretching and strengthening effects of the dynamic version. Gradually work your way from version 1 to 3 to 2 to 4 over time to increase the challenge. If you’re new to the pose, hold for just 30 seconds and gradually work up to 1 to 2 minutes over time. Once you have achieved longer holds in version 1, then work on version 3, etc.See Featured Pose: Arms Overhead Pose for more instructions.

7. Dynamic Warrior 1 Pose, 6 rounds per side
This pose increases the backbend from the last two poses, increasing both the amount of stretching in your upper chest and strengthening in your upper back. See youtube.com for instructions.

8. Warrior 1, 30 seconds to 1-2 minutes
Holding Warrior 1 for longer times will increase the opening effects on your upper chest and spine. Gradually work your way from version 4 to 3 to 2 to 1 over time to increase the challenge. If you’re new to the pose, hold for just 30 seconds and gradually work up to 1 to 2 minutes over time. Once you have achieved longer holds in version 4, then work on version 3, etc.See Featured Pose: Warrior 1 for instructions.

9. Lunge Pose, 30 seconds to 1-2 minutes
Because tightness in the fronts of your hips can contribute to poor posture, this pose stretches the fronts of your hips and thighs and balances out the work of Reclined Leg Stretch Pose.

Gradually work your way from version 3 to 2 to 1 to 4 over time to increase the effects of the pose. As you practice, bring attention to maintaining the neutral alignment of your spine. If you’re new to the pose, hold for just 30 seconds and gradually work up to 1 to 2 minutes over time Once you have achieved longer holds in version 3, then work on version 2, etc.
See Featured Pose: Lunge Pose for instructions.


10. Locust Pose, 15 seconds to 1 minute
This pose is great for strengthening the back muscles around your spine, which can help hold your back more upright. Gradually work your way from version 3 to version 1 over time to increase the challenge. If you are new to the pose, start with 15 second holds and gradually work up to 1 minute. Once you have achieved longer holds in version 3, then work on version 1. See Featured Pose: Locust Pose for instructions.

11. Supported Backbend, 1-2 minutes to 4-5 minutes
This pose is last in the sequence so that you will be very warmed up to stay comfortably in the backbend for longer periods of time, which will allow you to relax completely into your supported position and enable the position and gravity to take full effect in opening your front body. If you are new to the pose, work your way from version 4 to 3 to 1 over time to gradually increase the challenge. And start by holding the pose for 1-2 minutes and gradually work up to 4-5 minutes. Once you have achieved longer holds of version 4, then work on version 3, etc.SeeFeatured Pose: Supported Backbendfor instructions.

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