Yoga for Core Strength and Posture Improvement

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Eva Norlyk Smith PhD and Terry Smith PhD

Terry Smith and Eva Norlyk Smith Terrance R. Smith, Ph.D., RYT 200 and Eva Norlyk Smith, Ph.D., E-RYT 200, RYT 500 are co-founders of YogaUOnline and creators of the Healthy Back, Healthy Body program and series of therapeutic yoga courses aimed at restoring posture balance, core integrity and facilitate healthy aging. ...
Healthy Back, Healthy Body - Terry and Eva Smith

Whether you are new to yoga for an experienced yoga teacher, improving posture is a key to getting the best results from your yoga practice. Mountain pose, or Tadasana, is considered to be the foundational pose in yoga, precisely because a balanced, proper posture forms the foundation for all yoga poses. Yet many people, particularly when first beginning yoga, struggle to maintain basic proper posture, and as a consequence, alignment in yoga poses suffers.

  • A 2-part series of gentle yoga sequences to improve posture awareness and core strength

  • Gentle yoga stretches release chronic tightness, opening heart, shoulders, and chest

  • Core strengthening yoga exercises improve posture by building strong posture support muscles

  • Especially suited for beginners, or yoga teachers working with new students

Poor posture is one of the most overlooked health issues in today's society. Bad posture lies at the root of much shoulder, neck, and back pain, and it can even be involved in recurring migraines and headaches. The rounded shoulders and forward head posture, which is so common in our computer-age, also compresses the chest cavity and heart area, restricting the breath and lowering your vitality and well-being.

Worse, if poor posture is allowed to progress into the full-fledged hyperkyphotic posture of a dowager's hump, it causes numerous health issues. Studies of elderly in nursing homes with the seriously hunched back of dowager's hump have found that people with advanced hyperkyphosis tend to suffer more health problems and die earlier than their peers.

Fortunately, whether you are new to yoga or a yoga teacher looking for new ways to help students enhance alignment in yoga poses, there is much that can be done over time to improve posture awareness and strength. Studies have shown that yoga in particular can help strengthen the core posture support muscles and stretch and release tight muscles, which otherwise keep you trapped in a bad posture. Even better, as your posture improves, so does the structural health, balance, and vitality of your body.

Of course, the earlier you begin, the better. This 3-part series of exercises from the Yoga for a Healthy Back series is designed to improve posture - with diligent practice it can also help reverse the early stages of kyphosis, or dowager's hump. (Please note: Students with advanced hyperkyphosis should be working with a PT or other health professional when doing exercises to improve posture.)

In this sequence, you'll get three 20 to 30 minute yoga practices with different types of corrective posture sequences, which help improve posture in a holistic and complete way. The corrective posture sequences build on each other to improve posture and strengthen the back. The three download yoga practices include:

Practice 1: Strengthen Abdominals without Painful Crunches - A 30 Minute Gentle Yoga Sequence

This sequence introduces gentle abdominal strengthening to help gently correct bad posture and enable you to build up core strength in a holistic and pleasant way - without crunches!

Practice 2: Core Integration - 30 Minute Gentle Yoga Sequence

This core integration sequence lays the foundation for better posture by building core strength and restoring correct postural alignment. Without a strong foundation of core muscles posture support, permanent improvement of bad posture is less likely to occur.

Practice 3: Heart Opening - 20 Minute Gentle Yoga Sequence

This heart and chest-opening sequence targets rounded shoulders to help gently correct bad posture, including the hunched back and shoulders of early-stage dowager's hump.

For Best Results. Practice one sequence every day or two combined sequences three times a week after receiving the sequence. For best results, alternate the three practices, so that each is practiced at least once a week.