Whether you're in college, working full time, or lazing at home on your phone all day, you're bound to have bad posture if you don't actively pay attention to it. Leaning over books, typing, hunching over the sink to do dishes, lifting things at work, and kneeling down for your kids all day can take a toll on your body.
College is what caused my problems. I have subluxation in my neck from bending over textbooks 12 hours a day for four years. Naturally, your neck curves forward in the middle, but the vertebrae in mine are completely straight. I feel stiff and no matter how hard I try there's never a comfortable way to sleep. I went to the chiropractor on and off for a few years and my doctor gave me a hard foam block to put under my neck 20 minutes a day to stretch it out. This helps a lot while I'm on it, but I want to do more and do things that are manageable on my own time so I'm not chasing an office's nine to five schedule.
I decided yoga might be the key. Actually, I saw a video online that inspired me. It's of an old lady with a hunchback (the natural result for us slouchers) who completely corrects her posture with yoga within a short amount of time. At 22 I don't have anything close to a hunch like hers, but preventative care is everything. Why wait 'til things get seriously bad to start taking care of yourself?
So I've compiled a few yoga poses that are great for correcting posture -- even if you don't have an issue now, you need to do something to keep it that way.
1. Pectoral Stretch
It's not just your back you need to correct. If your chest is tight, you'll find your shoulders and head lean forward to accommodate it. Stretching your chest will help.
2. Upward Facing Dog
This is the basic white girl stretch, but it's actually super helpful for your posture. Lay face down on the floor and place your palms on the floor under your shoulders. Push up until your back is curved as far as it can go and if you can, let your legs lifts off the floor.
3. Whole Upper Body Stretch
Not sure if anything is tight? You'll be reminded with this one. You don't need someone to put pressure on your ribs when you lay on a pillow, block, or whatever you find that works, but it makes the stretch go further.
4. Forward Fold
This is my absolute favorite and it's easy to do.
This pose bends your whole body to curve the opposite way as a fetal position. Laying on your stomach, stretch back and grab your ankles, rounding your tummy. Keep your head high and let yourself rock if you need to.
OTHER TIPS: Lay with your pillow under your upper back when you sleep, letting your neck down to the bed. Be conscious. Think about your posture and keep your shoulders back.