Understanding Posture and Its Impact
Greetings to you all! In this Teesha Talk Tuesday, we will discuss yoga/pose posture and its impact as well as listing a few examples and the natural benefits of having exceptional posture.
Asana, which means 'posture', is the mainstay of Hatha yoga. Yoga posture is the origin practice that provides a great starting point for meditation and spiritual discovery, for many beginners or first-timers. Through asana practice, one will develop a stronger sensitivity to and awareness of one's physical self. It can be practiced by any and everyone, no matter the age, physical background, mental state, etc.; one thing to note is that everyone's yoga journey is different. So, a 21-year-old with a history in sports who's beginning asana practice may have a very different experience compared to that of a 47-year-old mother who has a history of back problems.
Furthermore, just like many things in yoga, posture practice comes with a few guidelines. First, avoid eating heavy before posture practice and avoid drinking anything (including water) during posture practice to avoid onset nausea as some poses will require more movement than others. Secondly, whether you're being taught by an in-person yoga instructor or an online video instructor, be sure to follow their instructions closely and to avoid forcing yourself into a posture. Yoga is fluid and easily guided, one should not fling themselves carelessly or force a posture that doesn't come naturally. Thirdly, breathe evenly and steadily through your nose throughout posture practice. Focus on your breath and try to be "present" within the posture, this will aid the fluidity of each pose. Lastly, trust yourself to explore a posture; observe yourself and your habits, this will help you to improve in the future. This leads me into the impacts of posture practice - improved sleep, balance, flexibility, and more. Spine alignment and consistent asana practice will not only aid your balance and flexibility but your overall strength. It has also been shown to reduce stress and anxiety which in turn improves your sleep quality, and who doesn't love a great night's rest? Exactly.
Listed below are a few posture poses that are worth giving a try if you're beginning your yoga journey from the comfort of your home!
1. Tailor Pose: Begin by sitting down with your legs extended forward, forming a complete 90 degree angle. Bring your legs inward and allow the bottom of both of your feet to come together to form the standard 'Butterfly Pose'. Slowly bring your knees up, keeping your conjoined feet firm on the ground and your back fully upright and aligned. Hold this point for 5-10 minutes, ideal for meditation.
2. Sitting Twist: Sit upright on your mat with your legs extended in front of you and your hands resting on your thighs. Bend your right knee, then cross your right leg over and place your foot next to your left thigh. You should feel as though you’re sitting in a tight half cross-legged position. Bend your left knee and position your left ankle next to your right glute. Your right foot should stay planted on the floor. Square your hips so they remain even. Reach your right arm behind you and place your fingertips on the floor, gently twisting your body to the right. Raise your left arm upward. Hook your left arm around your bent right knee. Take a deep breath and exhale as you twist further to the right. With each exhale, twist your body further. Gently release from the pose and then repeat on the other side.
3. Cobra Pose: Begin by laying on your belly. Come onto your forearms, with your elbows directly under your shoulders and parallel to each other. Stretch your legs straight back, about hip-width apart. Spread your toes wide and press the tops of your feet into your mat. Firm your legs, and roll your inner thighs up, your outer thighs down. Press your tailbone toward your feet, lengthening your lower back. Press down into your forearms to lift your chest up.
As you can imagine, there are many benefits to posture practice, one of the most obvious benefits being the impact on your spine health. As we age, poor posture and 'slouching' can cause us to develop severe neck pain, rounded shoulders, and spinal dysfunction. Maintaining proper posture with asana practice can:
Keep your joints and bones in proper alignment
Prevents muscle fatigue
Decrease stress on spinal ligaments
Minimize the risk of sprain and strain injuries
Promotes good appearance and self-respect
I hope you enjoyed learning about posture practice and its impacts! If you're interested in taking an asana class with us, please book a session in our "Basic Beginner's Class" as it includes the proper poses for this. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please feel free to reach out to us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone at 470-591-0167. We look forward to seeing you in class or hearing from you! Until then, stay safe.