Correct body posture gives us an attractive appearance – we appear to the world as people aware of their worth, self-confident, open-minded, and calm. We move gracefully, our stride is springy and our movements are smooth. The correct body posture plays a major rolls in our body health, it will avoid more side effects like a burned stomach, headache, etc…
When our body posture is incorrect
The correct positioning of the spine makes all its natural curves provide excellent cushioning and the spine can effectively support our body.
This helps to prevent pains and deformities of the spine. It also protects against degeneration of the musculoskeletal system, facilitates breathing, and ensures proper tension of core muscles.
There are several anatomical (both direct and fascial) and functional connections between the vertebrae and paraspinal muscles and the rest of the body muscles.
Any stiffening, tension and degeneration, or a habitual change of position and imbalance of even one of the curves cause a compensatory misalignment of the whole body.
As a consequence, it leads to rapid, static fatigue and pain even in distant parts (hips, knees, and even feet), and overtime to degeneration and serious health problems.
Incorrect, habitual foot positioning while walking or one-sided operation of the limbs during everyday activities and sports, will also be felt by our spine over time.
Incorrect posture is often the result of bad habits, made permanent by prolonged sitting, moving, or standing in a bad posture.
How can yoga help us in our efforts to maintain the correct posture?
Asanas cause isometric muscle tension and stretching, lengthen the spine by active muscle work, increase mobility in the joints, eliminate muscle contractions, and shape the habit of correct posture. The spine is lengthened by activating the muscles, which reduces the load on the intervertebral discs.
Exercises in twisting increase the mobility of the spine by engaging the short muscles of the spine, strengthening the oblique muscles of the abdomen and back, massages the internal organs, which promotes better digestion, and slims the waist, shaping a shapely figure.
Forward bends increase the mobility of the spine (make it more flexible), eliminate muscle tension in the lumbar section, and massage the abdominal organs.
Forward bends with straightened legs eliminate the contractures of the muscles of the back of the thighs (ischio-shin) and the hamstring ligaments.
Backbends improve the mobility of the spine, strengthen the back muscles, and prevent excessive overloading of the intervertebral discs as a result of maintaining a sitting position for a long time. Also, they shape the correct arching of the chest, which promotes its expansion and opening.
Correct body posture in standing, sitting and lying down
Below you will find some advice on the correct posture of the body when standing, sitting, and sleeping.
We will also show you how asanas such as Tadasana, Dandasana, and Savasana can help you develop the habit of correct posture.
Correct body posture in a sitting position
To begin with, the man was not designed to spend most of his time in the absence of exercise.
Unfortunately, our day looks like we get out of the car to sit at the desk, pay others to clean our windows, and deliver lunch to our door.
When we sit our head is put forward, which makes our muscles tired.
I will start with the sitting position because this is where the greatest load affects our spine and this is how most of us spend a large part of the day.
Staying in even the most correct position for a long time will hurt our well-being and even an hour of exercise after work is not able to fully compensate for the harmful effects caused by 8 hours of inactivity.
It is important to leave your desk now and then, change your body position, perform a few simple exercises, stretch your muscles, giving them a moment of respite.
Seated position (behind the desk):
- If you’re working at a computer, the top of the monitor should be SLIGHTLY below the line of sight – your eyesight should fall on the top third of the monitor.
- The chin should be parallel to the ground.
- The screen should be at the distance of an outstretched arm from the face.
- Keep your shoulders relaxed, pointing down (away from the ears) and slightly tucked back (naturally, not like a cold chicken :))
- Forearms should be supported parallel to the ground
- The tailbone should be BEHIND you, not BELOW you.
- Keep your calves perpendicular to the ground.
- Avoid cross-legging! This tip is by far the most difficult for me to follow, I have already lost track of how many times while writing this article I found myself sitting cross-legged.
- Knees should be bent at a 90 – 110 degree angle, slightly below hip level.
- Your feet should rest flat on the floor (you can rest them on a footrest).
- Dandasana or the Stick Pose strengthens the lower back and the adductors of the thighs.
Many people sit on the ball, arguing that it forces our core muscles to work gently, continuously to maintain balance.
However, it does not release us from the obligation to maintain the correct posture – sitting in a tangled pretzel position is unhealthy even on a ball.
However, sitting on the ball for many hours may generate overload and excessive muscle tension and, paradoxically, also cause back pain. Therefore, it is better than the ball does not replace the chair, but only becomes a nice diversion (up to 2 hours).
How much we slouch comes to us when we perform the Mountain Pose – Tadasana during the first yoga session.
We do not think about our attitude daily. Tadasana, although easy, makes us pay attention to all the details.
In this position, the axial pressure on the intervertebral discs decreases in the sitting position. However, it is still large, and staying motionless for a long time, especially in the wrong position, leads to fatigue and pain.
In Tadasana, you need to arrange the arches of the feet correctly – thanks to this, the spine is also better arranged. And in yoga, we work a lot with the feet and their positioning, there are many balance positions, including one leg, that improve the dynamics of the foot arches.
- The back of the head, shoulders, and buttocks should be set in one plane (it is best to stand against the wall and check that all the above-mentioned points adhere to it)
- The ears should be above the center of the shoulders – that is, do not tilt your head forward 🙂
- The chin should not be put forward, so as not to tilt the head back (posture interpreted as an expression of self-righteousness or the so-called “foch”)
- Keep your shoulders at the same level, do not raise them towards your ears – a beautiful long neck looks attractive, gives us charm, and shows self-confidence.
- Shoulders should be pulled back, but not overdo it, so as not to draw back the shoulders.
- The chest should be open and not pushed forward (same attention as above – overdoing is never advisable).
- Pull in your stomach.
- Let your arms hang freely along your body.
- Do not lean the pelvis forward or back (I know, many women think that thanks to such buttocks it looks more “sexy” and has slimmer thighs :)).
- Do not block your knees – over time you can “hyperextend” (ie the knees will look bent the other way) but also do not stand on bent legs.
- Keep your feet slightly apart.
- Move your body weight from one leg to the other now and then
- The weight must be distributed evenly, avoiding excessive stress on the heels (we tend to put stress on the heels when walking)
Savasana, or how to lie down?
Back sleeping is the healthiest choice as it allows your head, neck, and spine to rest in a neutral position. This means that no additional pressure is put on these areas and you are less likely to experience pain.
The theory determines what position during sleep is the best for our spine.
With this in mind, we can try to take it before falling asleep, but during the night everyone takes the most comfortable position for themselves.
Attempts to correct and forcefully adopt the book’s arrangement will end up with restless interrupted sleep and a headache of not sleeping the next day. So it is better to take care of the spine by choosing the right size pillows, rollers, or a regular blanket, and of course a good mattress.
Supine (on the back) position – The most advantageous.
The pillow under the head should not be too big. People with lumbar spine ailments may find relief by placing a small roller, rolled-up blanket, or towel under the knees, which will relieve the lower back.
Side position – Acceptable.
It is best to bend your limbs in all joints when sleeping in this position. Here, too, it’s a good idea to place a small pillow (or folded blanket) between your knees and another under your waist to support your spine.
Position flat on your stomach – Unfortunately, the least favorable.
If you must sleep in this position, place a pillow under your pelvis and ankles to slightly bend your knees. But don’t put it under your head.
As we continue practicing yoga for a long time, we become more aware of our body and naturally begin to choose postures that will improve our health and quality of life.