How to Improve Your Posture
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How to Improve Your Posture

Child’s pose

This resting pose stretches and lengthens your spine, glutes and hamstrings while releasing tension down your neck and lower back.

  • Sit on your shin bones with knees together, your big toes touching and your heels splayed out to the side.
  • Fold forward at your hips and walk your hands out in front of you.
  • Sink your hips back down towards your feet. If your thighs won’t go all the way down, place a pillow or folded blanket under them for support.
  • Gently place your forehead on the floor or turn your head to one side.
  • Keep your arms extended or rest them along your body.
  • Breathe deeply into the back of your rib cage and waist.
  • Relax in this pose for up to 5 minutes while continuing to breathe deeply.

 

Fold exercise

This standing exercise is a stretch that releases tension in your spine, hamstring and glutes. It also stretches your hips and legs. 

  • Stand with your big toes touching and your heels slightly apart.
  • Bring your hands to your hips and fold forward at your hips.
  • Release your hands towards the floor or place them on a block. Don’t worry if your hands don’t touch the ground — just go as far as you can.
  • Bend your knees slightly, soften your hips joints and allow your spine to lengthen.
  • Tuck your chin into your chest and allow your head to fall heavy to the floor.
  • Remain in this pose for up to 1 minute.

 

Cat-cow

Practising this exercise stretches and massages your spine and also helps relieve tension in your torso and neck while promoting blood circulation.

  • Come onto your hands and knees with your weight balanced evenly between all four points.
  • Inhale to look up, dropping your abdomen down towards the ground as you extend your spine.
  • Exhale and arch your spine towards the ceiling and tuck your chin into your chest.
  • Continue this movement for at least 1 minute.

 

Chest opener

This exercise allows you to open and stretch your chest. It’s useful if you have spent most of the day sitting, which tends to make your chest move inward. Strengthening your chest also helps you to stand up straighter.

  • Stand with your feet about a hip-width apart.
  • Bring your arms behind you and interlace your fingers with your palms pressing together. Grasp a towel if your hands don’t reach each other.
  • Keep your head, neck and spine in one line as you gaze straight ahead.
  • Inhale as you lift your chest towards the ceiling and bring your hands towards the floor.
  • Breathe deeply as you hold this pose for 5 breaths.
  • Release and relax for a few breaths.
  • Repeat at least 10 times.

 

Side plank

You can use a side plank to maintain the neutral alignment of your spine and legs. This energising pose works all the muscles in your sides and glutes. Strengthening and aligning these muscles will help to support your back and will improve your posture.

  • From a high plank position, bring your left hand slightly into the centre.
  • Shift your weight onto your left hand, stack your ankles and lift your hips.
  • Place your right hand on your hip or extend it up towards the ceiling.
  • You can drop your left knee down to the floor for extra support.
  • Engage your abdominals, side body and glutes as you maintain this pose.
  • Align your body in a straight line from the crown of your head to your heels.
  • Look straight ahead or up towards your hand.
  • Hold this pose for up to 30 seconds.
  • Repeat this exercise on the opposite side.

 

Downward facing position 

This exercise is a forward bend position that is used as a resting pose to balance out your body. It helps you to relieve back pain while also strengthening and aligning your back muscles.

  • Lying with your stomach on the floor, press into your hands as you tuck your toes under your feet and lift your heels.
  • Lift your knees and hips to bring your sitting bones up towards the ceiling.
  • Bend your knees slightly and lengthen your spine.
  • Keep your ears in line with your upper arms or tuck your chin all the way into your chest.
  • Press firmly into your hands and keep your heels slightly lifted.
  • Remain in this pose for up to 1 minute.

 

Thoracic spine rotation

This exercise relieves tightness and pain in your back while increasing stability and mobility.

  • Come down on all fours with your knees below your hips and your hands a little bit in front of your shoulders.
  • Bend your right knee and place it behind your right wrist with your right foot angled out to the left.
  • Rest the outside of your right shin on the floor.
  • Slide your left leg back, straighten your knee and rest your thigh on the floor.
  • Make sure your left leg extends straight back (and not to the side).
  • Slowly lower your torso down to rest on your inner right thigh with your arms extended in front of you.
  • Hold this position for up to 1 minute.
  • Slowly release the position by walking your hands back towards your hips and lifting your torso.
  • Repeat this exercise on the left side.


Article by American Spine Center

 

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