YOGA CAN FIX YOUR POSTURE
A good posture feels effortless to your body giving you a fit and confident look. It also has an impact on your overall well-being. Poor posture has become predominant among all age groups including children and young adults. Yoga helps improve your posture and gait when practiced regularly.
Posture is the way you hold your body while sitting, standing or performing tasks such as bending, pulling, pushing or reaching. When your posture is good the spine remains aligned. The spine has an S-curvature where there is a forward curve in the neck, a backward curve in the upper back and running down into a forward curve towards the abdomen in the lower back. When these curves are in proper alignment, the spine, shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles are in balance, and body weight is evenly distributed. Thus there is less stress and strain on muscles, joints, and ligaments. This reduces chances of muscle fatigue, back, shoulder and neck pain and stress.
Muscles responsible for your posture
Skeletal muscles continuously make tiny adjustments to hold the back straight, hold the neck and head in place and maintain a good posture. They are made up of two types of muscle fibres namely static (slow twitch) and phasic (fast twitch). Static fibres are found in the deeper muscles. They maintain posture and balance by sensing our position and relaying information to the brain. These burn energy slowly and work for long periods without tiring. Phasic fibres are used for movement which burn energy quickly and hence tire out.
Poor posture causes fatigue because it demands that the phasic fibres maintain the body’s position. Over time, this causes the deeper supporting muscles to waste away from lack of use. Weak, unused muscles tend to tighten and this shortening of muscle length can compress the bones of the spine (vertebrae) and worsen posture.
Signs of a poor posture
Medical fraternity has identified some common signs of poor posture which include slouching in a chair, hunched back, text neck, Donald duck posture and flat back. Slouching on a chair means sitting slumped without proper support for the lower back which puts immense strain on your lower back muscles and soft tissues. This is very common when you sit on a couch while watching television.
Hunched back and text neck are the most common signs of maintaining a poor posture with people spending 60% of their day on the desktop or smartphone. Essentially, your chest caves in causing a hunch and neck sticks out while staring at the screen of the desktop or phone.
Donald duck posture is when your posterior sticks out causing an exaggerated curve on the lower back and you appear to be leaning forward when you are standing.
Standing with a flat back means your pelvis is tucked and your lower back is straight instead of naturally curved while you stood forward
Tips to maintain a good posture
Maintain healthy body weight. Excess weight leads to a bad posture and puts immense strain on the spine.
Exercise regularly to keep your muscles strong for good support
Sleep on a firm and comfortable mattress.
Organise your workstation to reduce stress and strain on the body.
Avoid sitting for long hours. Take a walk and stretch every few hours.
Yoga postures will help realign the spine and train the muscles to maintain the right posture. This is achieved through systematic contraction and stretching of the spine and muscles in order to decompress the spine, lengthen the muscles and strengthen both; thus helping restore an easy and natural posture over a period of time.
The practice of surya namaskars or sun salutations is a good way to work on posture correction. It is best to learn and practice under the guidance of a teacher.