Why slouching might be costing you your life
There’s so much more to good posture than we give credit for.
More often than not we hold ourselves tall, tuck in our bellies and straighten our shoulders to look good in other’s eyes.
The reality, however, is that we need to aim for good posture for ourselves and our health.
This is yet another area where Yoga can help us significantly.
Before we get into that, let’s very quickly look at why good posture is crucial.
Affects the entire body
In very simple terms when we take care of our posture, we are taking care of all our body systems. Each and every organ can perform optimally. The respiratory, circulatory, digestive, excretory and nervous systems are all affected by our posture.
Would you square your shoulders, push your chest out and tuck in your stomach if you knew that these simple tweaks could result in getting more oxygen into your lungs and thereby to all your systems?
Aches and pains
As we age, and poor posture become habitual, then it could result in chronic aches and pain. The neck and shoulder girdle, and the back are areas most affected. The tendency to stoop and hunch forward results in a skewed centre of gravity and this could lead to a lack of balance. Combined with poor muscle strength and tone, it results in an increased tendency to fall among the elderly population.
Affects your mood and mentality
Imagine you are an actor asked to enact a person who is depressed. Quite naturally you would round your shoulders and slouch, your head down, eyes downcast. You would ensure that your body language suggested someone lacking in self-confidence and self-esteem.
On the contrary imagine a confident person. Or imagine you have just received a great compliment. Immediately your shoulders lift and you unconsciously stand taller.
This is how your feelings affect your posture. The opposite is also true. Poor posture can influence the way you feel. The reasons can be physiological. Poor posture results in poor, shallow breathing and poor circulation and poor metabolism and digestion and all these naturally affect how you feel. So next time you are feeling a little low, begin by squaring your shoulders, breathing deep and tightening your core. This might just banish those blues.
And if there are worries and anxieties, even then try standing tall and facing them head on.
As we mentioned above, poor posture has a direct impact on the way we breathe, the way our blood flows through our body, the way our lymphatic system drains toxins etc. So not only does it place us under physical stress, but it translates to mental stress as well. So let’s do ourselves a favour by correcting our posture ASAP.
Yoga can help
As always Yoga can help.
Through a combination of Asanas (physical postures), breath work and meditative practices Yoga routines help condition the whole body-mind-spirit complex.
Through a combination of strengthening exercises and feel-good stretches, we work on all the major and minor muscle groups. Almost every Asana helps strengthen the core muscles. In fact, Yoga routines always combine standing, sitting, prone and supine postures so that every part of the body is addressed. Moreover, many postures are paired with counter postures, so that there is no undue stress and strain on joints, muscles and bones.
Yoga improves body flexibility. The benefit of this is more significant as we age and our bones become more brittle, our muscles more fibrous. By preserving muscle flexibility, we can hope to keep ourselves by and large lithe and injury-free.
Yoga also places enormous emphasis on correct alignment while practicing postures. This prevents us from putting too much pressure on any one particular joint, possibly causing it excessive strain. Correct alignment also ensures one receives the maximum benefit from a pose.
Let Yoga help you. Give it a shot … but under qualified instructors.