If you are anything like me, you may have noticed that winter is taking it’s toll.
I’ve become seriously aware of how dry my hair and skin can be in this harsh weather. I’ve also noticed that with the temperature drop, maintaining my posture has become quite the challenge, cold weather instinctively makes me want to slouch and round my back as if I am trying to keep all of my warmth inside. With temps dropping and snow falling from the sky, staying inside curled up under blankets or near the fire is too good to pass up. To be honest, sometimes it’s just too cold to step out into the freezing streets to walk to yoga class. The motivation to move and stretch my body after a day of sitting at the computer is, dare I say, sometimes lacking. So I enlisted Ali, a friend, passionate yogi, and Store Manager of the Free People Rockefeller Center store, to share with me her five favorite poses to improve posture and strengthen back muscles during these winter months. I love referring to these moves if I have free moments throughout the day or if I notice that my posture is losing the fight against gravity. Being aware of your body, whether waiting for the subway, sitting in class, or shopping at the farmers market, is half the battle. If we remain aware and notice our posture, we have an opportunity to correct it.
Read on to learn how to do the five poses that will help combat bad pasture:
The Standing Crescent Pose: This pose is great to start and/or end your practice with. It opens the chest and rib cage so the breath can deepen. Be sure to stretch your shoulders away from your ears as you reach up. Keep feet grounded, abs strong with your belly button pulling back to your spine. Reach to the right, center, left, center, and then reach back, keeping abs tight. Return to the center.
Triangle Pose: This pose improves posture by helping with lower back pain and inflammation of the lower spine. Triangle pose strengthens and improves flexibility in the last five vertebrae. The three different poses below open the chest, allowing a deeper breath. Again, remember to keep your shoulders relaxed away from your ears.
Tree Pose: This pose is one of my favorites. Not only does it improve posture, it improves patience and balance. It strengthens the internal oblique muscles (which helps keep the back strong) and also improves thigh, calf, and ankle strength. Tip: push your palms together to find a balanced center. Open hips and pull your belly button to your spine.
Chair Pose: The benefits of chair pose are many if done correctly. It strengthens the core, thighs, calves and ankles, and stretches the shoulders and chest. In addition to improving posture, it helps protect the knee joint by building stability.
Camel Pose: Now, this is more of a challenging pose so you may have to work to get to it. But that’s ok! The camel pose produces maximum compression of the spine — it improves the flexibility of the spine and neck. This pose is also known for relieving back pain and firms the abdomen and slims the waistline. It stretches the neck, chest, and hip flexors.
There are many practices, poses, and stretches that you can do to improve posture. This list just barely scratches the surface