08 Apr Can I better my posture with Chest Openers?
Can I better my posture with these 6 yoga poses?
The answer is yes…. Any devoted yoga practitioner will tell you that the mind and body are reflections of each other. Let’s start with posture. The physical demands of modern life have a way of drawing the chest in on itself. The most obvious is hours in front of a computer, if we’re hunched over or not sitting in the correct chair, could cause pain between the your shoulder or a feeling of tightness in the upper back. This can create poor posture.
So when we hunched over, we are compressing the lungs, so making it harder for them to expand with deep breaths, also your intercostal muscles become tight which leads to short breathing. This can all be reserved by taking 5 minutes each day to do some breathing exercises to increase flexibility around your ribcage which essentially allows your ribs to stretch out.
The result of a flexible rib cage allows increased blood flow to the heart and the ability to breath deeper, taking in more air at a time.
Expanding your rib cage and improving the flexibility of your lungs ensures more air with each inhale and exhale. Not only do longer, deeper breaths help your practice performance for each asana (pose), but it also aids with decreased anxiety, improved sleep quality, energy levels, and digestion.
I offer you these asana’s (poses) to practice at home everyday for a week and see if you can feel any difference in 7 days…… I’d love to hear how you get on, pls comment below.
Bridge Pose: Step-by-Step Instructions
Lie flat on the floor, and if necessary, place a thickly folded blanket under your shoulders to protect your neck. Bend your knees and set your feet on the floor, heels as close to your bum as possible.
Exhale and, pressing your feet and arms actively into the floor, push your pelvis upward toward the chest, squeezing the buttocks, lift the buttocks off the floor keeping your thighs and feet parallel. Interlase your fingers together and bring the forefingers together pointing down towards your toes.
Lift your buttocks until the thighs are about parallel to the floor. Keep your knees directly over the heels, but push them forward, away from the hips, and lengthen the tailbone toward the backs of the knees. Lift the pelvis toward the navel.
Lift your chin slightly away from the chest and, squeezing the shoulder blades together, press the top of the sternum toward the chin. Broaden the shoulder blades, and try to lift the space between them at the base of the neck (where it’s resting on the blanket) up into the torso.
Stay in the pose anywhere from 30 seconds to 1 minute. Release with an exhalation, rolling the spine slowly down onto the floor.
Once the shoulders are rolled under, be sure not to pull them forcefully away from your ears, which tends to overstretch the neck. Lift the tops of the shoulders slightly toward the ears and push the inner shoulder blades away from the spine.
- Stretches the chest, neck, and spine
- Calms the brain and helps alleviate stress and mild depression
- Stimulates abdominal organs, lungs, and thyroid
- Rejuvenates tired legs
- Improves digestion
- Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause
- Relieves menstrual discomfort when done supported
- Reduces anxiety, fatigue, backache, headache, and insomnia
- Therapeutic for asthma, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, and sinusitis
Cobra Pose: Step-by-Step Instructions
Lie flat on the floor. Stretch your legs back, tops of the feet on the floor. Spread your hands on the floor under your shoulders. Hug the elbows back into your body.
Press the tops of the feet and thighs and the pelvis firmly into the floor.
On an inhalation, begin to straighten the arms to lift the chest off the floor, going only to the height at which you can maintain a connection through your pelvis to your legs. Tuck the tailbone toward the pelvis and lift the pelvis toward the navel. Squeeze the buttocks.
Squeeze the shoulder blades back to each other. Lift through the top of the chest but avoid pushing the front ribs forward.
Hold the pose anywhere from 15 to 30 seconds, breathing easily. Release back to the floor with an exhalation.
Don’t overdo the backbend. To find the height at which you can work comfortably and avoid straining your back.
- Strengthens the spine
- Stretches chest and lungs, shoulders, and abdomen
- Firms the buttocks
- Stimulates abdominal organs
- Helps relieve stress and fatigue
- Opens the heart and lungs
- Soothes sciatica
- Therapeutic for asthma
Balance is always tricky in this pose for beginners. A wall is a useful prop, which you can use in one of two ways. Stand with your back to the wall, one leg’s length away from the wall. Exhale and bend forward into a standing forward bend, then inhale and raise your left leg parallel to the floor and press the left sole against the wall. Start with your toes turned toward the floor. Exhale again and rotate your torso to the left; at the same time, turn the left leg and foot until the inner foot is parallel to the floor. Rest your left hand on the left hip. The pressure of the raised heel against the wall will help you maintain your balance. You can also perform the pose with your back to, and leaning against, the wall.
Camel Pose: Step-by-Step Instructions
Beginners very often aren’t able to touch their hands to their feet without straining their back or neck. First, try to turn your toes under and elevate your heels. If this doesn’t work, the next thing to do is to rest each hand on a block. Position the blocks just outside each heel, and stand them at their highest height (usually about 9 inches). If you’re still having difficulty, get a chair. Kneel for the pose with your back to the chair, with your calves and feet below the seat and the front edge of the seat touching your buttocks. Then lean back and bring your hands to the sides of the seat or high up on the front chair legs.
- Stretches the entire front of the body, the ankles, thighs and groins,
- Abdomen and chest, and throat
- Stretches the deep hip flexors (psoas)
- Strengthens back muscles
- Improves posture
- Stimulates the organs of the abdomen and neck
Modifications and Props
Camel Pose – Ustrasana can be a very difficult pose for the neck, especially if your shoulders are tight. You can use a wall as a prop to protect your neck. Prepare for the pose with your back to a wall, with your toes turned under and your soles as close to the wall as possible. Exhale and lean back, as described in step 3 in the main description above. Press the crown of your head into the wall and, against this pressure, lift the shoulder blades deeper into your back. Keep your hands on your pelvis or swing them back to press your palms against the wall.