You may not realize it now, but how you carry yourself has an effect on the body and this can get compounded over time. Common body aches such as back, neck and shoulder pain are usually associated with poor posture. Bad posture is especially emphasized when sitting for a prolonged period of time and wreaks havoc on your body. The spine and shoulders round forward, quality of breath is reduced, and excessive pressure on your neck is added. Because of this, the back weakens, the core tightens up and the shoulders and neck tense and hunch forward. If you tend to suffer from these modern pains, buckle up and follow these 6 easy steps that help build good habits to improve your posture and alleviate pain in your body. All you need is your humble yoga strap and you’re ready to go!
Sit in sukhasana (cross legs at the shins). Place strap over your right shoulder as close as you can to the side of your neck. Grab both ends of the strap and pull down. Lean your head over to the left side. Stay here for 5-8 deep breaths. Keeping your head heavy, look down over your left shoulder. Stay for another 5-8 breaths. Repeat on the other side.
TIP: To deepen, visualize sending your breath through tight spots or areas where you feel resistance.
Hook the strap at the base of your head, just in line with the middle of your ears. Reach arms up and pull the strap up to the ceiling. Tuck the chin in slightly to your chest to lengthen the back of your neck.
Grab strap with both hands and lift arms up into a wide V-shape. Keep the strap taut and press your arms back and lower arms behind your hips without bending the elbows.
TIP: To scale back, walk your hands out and widen your arms to lessen the resistance in your shoulders. To deepen the release, Walk your hands in and narrow your arms.
Gomukhasana arms – Place strap on your right shoulder. Reach right arm up, flip palm to face the back, bend the elbow until the right palm is on your upper back and grab the strap. Reach left arm out to the side, flip thumb down, bend at the elbow and bring the back of the hand as much as you can on your mid back and grab the strap. Floss the strap up and down the back about 8-10 times. Repeat on the other side.
Find stillness and see if you can crawl your hands closer to each other. Stay for 5-8 breaths. Take a side bend over to the left. Tip: Prevent the ribs from puffing forward by pressing the ribs tight to your spine. Repeat on the other side.
Place the middle of the strap on your upper back, bring both straps over your shoulders. Cross straps at the back. Pull the ends of the straps down and to the sides. Feel the shoulders roll back and down. Hold for 8-12 breaths.
TIP: Tie the ends of the strap underneath your chest to turn this set up into a brace to support good posture!
Stand tall, bring strap under arches of your feet. Walk hands down the strap and feel the shoulders roll back and down. Hug the ribs in to your spine. Continue lengthening the top of the chest and the crown of the head away from the floor.
Amanda Zabat is one of Urban Ashram Yoga’s resident restorative yoga teachers, helping her students find maximum relaxation. She also teaches FNR and vinyasa classes. Amanda has also released her own activewear brand called Flux Movement Follow them on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/fluxmovementph/