Thursday, February 9, 2012

Improve Your Posture with Yoga

     Your posture is one way to practice Yoga whether you are on the mat, sitting on the couch, scrubbing the tub, or in any  of life's activities.  Posture has profound effects on our mood, digestive system,  and overall health.   Personally, through practicing Yoga  I've been able to reduce the amount of headaches I experience, strengthen my digestion, and eliminate low back pain.  Sometimes it's the little things in life that have the most profound effects. 

Consider this...we are most likely to injure ourselves whenever we are not being mindful.  When your mind is else where, it's easy to slouch your posture.  Before you know it your mind is going a million miles an hour.  Then you're sitting or standing with really poor posture - contributing to every painful spot in your body.  Take some time to think about how you sit, stand, walk and transition between those things. 

Here are some Yogic tools to utilize throughout your day:

-  Lengthen your spine.  Lift your heart center and sit up tall.  By lengthening your spine you can work to strengthen the muscles of your core to support you.  In time, finding a neutral spinal position will help to reduce back pain, improve digestion, and boost your mood.

Hug your navel into towards your spine and lengthen your tail bone down.  Tune into your core strength all throughout the day.  Core makes up all the muscles that support the heart.  Your core muscles are on the front, back, and sides of your torso.  By using all of the core muscles we bring ourselves into a greater state of balance which can help to alleviate tension in the muscles of your back. 

Head Forward Posture
Head Aligned Over Center of Spine.
The Center of your ear aligns
with the center of your shoulder.
-  Center your head over your spine.  So many people suffer from head forward posture, in which, the head juts forward from the spine.  Head forward posture can lead to pain in the back of the neck which is associated with headaches and migraines.  Another common head misalignment is to subconsciously tilt or hold the head in an angled position which can strain the muscles of your neck.

 Connect with your feet and stand evenly on both legs.  Ground both feet evenly into the earth so that you avoid putting weight more onto one side than the other.  Chronically putting more weight onto one side leg more than the other can lead to discomfort in the knee joint, muscular tightness, or other problems.

Bring mindfulness into the picture.  Often times when we go through the motions of day to day life we are totally oblivious of our bodies.  We all have habit energies of leaning against counters when they are near by, slouching when we sit on the couch, and letting our backs do most of the work when the muscles of are abdomen and legs should carry some of the burden.  Practice being mindful of how you stand, sit, lean, bend-over, etc.  Be mindful of your posture throughout the day and bring yourself as close to a place of balance (as described above) as often as possible!

In Yoga, Mountain pose (Tadasana)  incorporates all of the above and even more techniques to improve your posture.  On your Yoga mat it's easy to be aware of all of these techniques but the real challenge is taking these tools off your mat and out into your day-to-day!  

Keri is an internationally Registered Yoga Teacher, Culinary Nutritionist, and Wellness Coach.  She owns and operates BAYA Wellness, LLC offering Yoga and Nutrition Services.  Keri teachers both privately and publicly around the Greenville area offering on-going classes and special events.  Her path as a nutritionist is all about making healthy living approachable... she teaches the components of healthy cooking, eating, and thinking while also offering specialized services like menu planning.  Healthy living is about the whole pictures of wellness... find your path to living well.

BAYA... Be As You Are!

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