Good posture is important for both your physical and mental health. Unfortunately, poor posture has become more and more common as we spend more time hunched over our computers and phones. If you’re struggling with alignment, don’t worry—there are plenty of things you can do to improve your posture and get your body back on track. Here are five of the most effective exercises for improving your body alignment.
1. The Cat-Cow Pose
This pose is a great way to warm up your spine and get things moving in the right direction. Start on all fours, with your wrists directly under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. As you inhale, arch your back and tilt your head up to the ceiling, letting your stomach sink towards the floor. As you exhale, round your back and tuck your chin towards your chest, coming into a “cat” position. Repeat this sequence 10 times.
2. The Cobra Pose
This pose is perfect for lengthening the spine and opening up the chest. Lie on your stomach with your feet hip-width apart and place your palms flat on the floor next to your chest. As you inhale, press down into your palms and lift your head, chest, and upper back off the ground. Keep a slight bend in your elbows so that you don’t put too much pressure on them. Hold this position for five deep breaths before slowly releasing it back down to the ground.
3. The Downward Dog Pose
This classic yoga pose is great for lengthening the spine and strengthening the arms and legs. Start on all fours again, but this time tuck your toes under and lift your hips up and back until your body forms an upside-down “V.” Keep your knees bent as much as you need to to keep them from hyperextending. Press into the ground with both hands and feet, feeling a stretch through your entire body. Hold this position for five deep breaths before releasing back down to all fours.
4. The Warrior III Pose
This pose is perfect for strengthening the legs, core, and upper back while also lengthening the spine. Start in a low lunge position with one leg forward and one leg back, both bent at 90-degree angles with each foot planted firmly on the ground. From here, shift all of your weight onto the front leg as you lift the back leg off the ground behind you (keep it parallel to the ground) and extend both arms out in front of you (parallel to the ground as well). Hold this position for five deep breaths before lowering back down into a low lunge and repeating on the other side.
5. The Child’s Pose
This restorative pose is perfect for releasing tension in the lower back and stretching out the hips after completing a few of the previous exercises. Start sitting on your heels with your big toes touching each other behind you (if this is uncomfortable, sit on a block or blanket). From here, slowly lean forward until your forehead touches the ground (or a block or blanket if that’s more comfortable) in front of you while keeping both sit bones rooted down onto heels behind you—imagine there’s a string pulling them straight back as you lean forward. You can either keep both arms extended straight out in front of you or place them alongside your body with palms facing up; whichever feels more comfortable for you. Hold this position for five deep breaths before releasing by sitting back onto heels behind you again (or slowly coming up to seat if that’s more comfortable).
There are plenty of things you can do to improve poor posture and get aligned—you just have to be willing to put in a little bit of work! These five exercises are some of our favorites for getting aligned; give them a try next time you’re looking to improve your posture or relieve some tension in your body!
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