improving postureBy Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

How can we make the public aware of the reasons for improving posture? Yoga teachers have found many opportunities for teaching positions within the corporate sector. In office Yoga training sessions, and corporate fitness centers, the need is based around holistic health, and proper posture plays a major role in maintaining good health.

These days, improper posture is so prevalent that it is eye catching to see someone with proper posture. It is not healthy to have improper posture for a variety of reasons, but fixing it is a bit more difficult than just making a conscious effort to sit up straight.

In the past, a lot of emphasis was put on proper posture; and it would have been considered unrefined to slouch. Nowadays, our culture is largely casual and sedentary, while proper posture is not a topic of concern at all. Surely, the rise of obesity, and the fall of exercise, has contributed to this unhealthy trend of poor posturing. When so many people are at risk because of being overweight, posture seems to be the least of their worries. With trends moving toward the global proliferation of electronic devices, there has never been a time when improving posture has been so important.

In addition, many jobs require hours of sitting. Until recently, workstations, desks, and chairs were designed with little, to no regard, for the structure of the human body. In situations with prolonged sitting in an improperly designed setting, slouching is a natural response. The rounding of the back feels like a relief at first, but it’s temporary. In time, pressure is put on places in the back that were not designed to carry that kind of weight load, resulting in back problems over time.

A physical Yoga practice, which includes posturing, creates many positive changes within the body. One of the many changes that Yoga causes is a healthy back. Most people think about the skeletal structure when they consider the back, but they are missing something important. Bones are not the only part of the body that provides back support; the muscles are of, at least, equal importance. With the practice of Yoga postures (asanas), he muscles work in harmony with the bones; and they actually serve to hold the bones in place, in addition to providing lots of flexible, yet solid support of their own.

In order to cure improper posture, the core muscles should be built up and strengthened. Once this has been done, the posture will improve naturally, with a minimum of conscious effort, because it no longer hurts to sit up straight.

The movements in Hatha Yoga are designed to stretch and strengthen the core muscles, which include not only the muscles in the back, but also the abdominal wall, as well. Strengthening the abs is vital to supporting the back and improving posture.

As the core muscles are engaged, and conditioned, during Yoga training sessions, the spine will be brought into proper alignment, which will automatically create a system for improving posture. Having a firm, strong foundation, in the form of a conditioned and flexible core, makes everything in life, even sitting, much easier.

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