In yoga, there’s a saying, “you are as young as your back is straight”. That good posture is essential, not just for yoga but for a healthy life, was was one of the first things I learnt when I first started practicing Ashtanga Yoga under the guidance of Yogi Ashwini.
I remembered learning the same thing in school. So as my mind reeled, I got to researching and found a whole lot of scientific research also supporting the same thing. It comes as a surprise and somewhat of a shock, therefore, that most people (including me) struggle so much with good posture!
The reason that bad posture is a problem is because it can lead to some pretty scary health problems. These include spondylitis (cervical and lumbar), scoliosis, muscle pain, fatigue, stress and even depression. There’s enough scary research on Google explaining what each of these terms mean. The reason for these problems? Well if you paid attention in class X biology, you know that the spinal cord controls majority of your voluntary and involuntary movement. So, it’s kind of great if you don’t cause a kink somewhere in the cord, or you’re essentially screwed! It’s that simple.
Initially when I started my yoga practice, I had no idea that I had bad posture. I only realised this when I had to sit for an hour of meditation on the first day with an absolutely straight back, without moving. By the end of the session, my back was on fire, and the next day it was so sore it seemed I had been working out for 24-hours straight! From then on, it took me about 5-6 months of extreme mindfulness and discipline to get comfortable keeping a straight spine for any length of time, without any discomfort.
All was fine up until a year ago, when I started drifting away from my yoga routine. As I reduced my practice of asanas and being mindful about my posture, it was back to that hunched stance that you see so commonly on office-goers. As soon as I realised, I got back on the horse and took certain measures to correct my posture. It’s not a 100% alright, but I’m getting there. And so I thought that I’d share the steps I follow with you guys, in case it’s any help.
Steps I follow to achieve good posture:
- Practicing mindfulness: It’s not easy, but necessary. I did this by setting a reminder on my phone for “check posture” every half an-hour, and also asking my friends and family to correct me if they noticed I wasn’t sitting upright.
- Sleeping on my back: By far the hardest thing. I still fail sometimes and turn to the side when I’m not able to sleep. But sleeping on the back is essential and something that I’ve improved on drastically.
- Sitting on a chair while working: I work from home, so this doesn’t come naturally to me. However, I got a study desk and chair to help with my posture and it’s much better than sitting on the bed and working.
- Positioning my laptop closer to my eye-level: This is easier to achieve for desktop users as screen-height is easily adjustable. But it’s doable for laptop users too. An adjustable desk is the best way to go, but since those are expensive, I actually put a small table on top of my study to achieve the same effect.
- Stretching in breaks: Again, I’ve set a reminder for every two hours or so on my phone to get up from my desk and stretch. It gives both my back and eyes a break.
- Core-strengthening exercises: Another extremely important step, because the reason why we feel the need to hunch or slouch is because our back and core muscles aren’t strong enough to support the spine. Need. To. Work. On. Those.
- Standing the right way: It took me a lot of time to realise this, but I used to stand with all my weight on one foot. Now, I make a conscious effort to stay standing by balancing my weight on the balls of both my feet and keeping my shoulders pulled down.
When do you struggle to maintain good posture? If you have any tips or tricks, do share them with me in the comments or on my social media and help a sister out!
Well that’s all for this time folks! Hope you found it helpful