Your body is composed of bones and muscles that work together and in opposition to help you stand, sit and perform other activities. The alignment of these muscles and bones is important. When they are out of alignment, pain and immobility can result. Over time, slouching and a sedentary lifestyle can weaken muscles, causing postural problems. A doctor or chiropractor can examine your body and determine if you are misaligned. She may perform some adjustments, but she may recommend you continuously practice specific exercises to counteract years of poor posture. Yoga postures, core exercises and spinal stretches can gradually help realign your body.
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Begin mountain pose by standing on a mat with your side facing a mirror. Your feet should be together; your toes should be spread. If this position is painful or you have a difficult time balancing, step your feet apart but keep them parallel.
Tighten your front thigh muscles. Lift your pelvis slightly, toward your navel.
Relax your shoulders, pulling them away from your ears. Press your shoulder blades closer together to open your chest.
Hang your arms by your sides, turning your palms to face forward.
Check your posture in the mirror; your ankles, knees, hips and shoulders should all be in a line. You can practice Mountain Pose whenever you are standing to help strengthen your posture and bring awareness to your alignment.
Core Strengthening with a Stability Ball
Sit forward on the ball with a straight back.
Place your hands on the ball beside your hips.
Walk your feet forward slowly and with control until your lower and middle back are on the ball.
Use the same slow control to walk your feet back until you are in an upright position.
Repeat up to five times.
Stretching the Spine
Sit forward on a straight-back chair. Place your feet flat on the floor and facing forward.
Hold your forearms, one on top of the other in front of your chest. Don't grip your hands on your arms.
Hold your hips in a forward-facing position as you exhale and turn your upper body and head to the left. Inhale and return to the center. Exhale and repeat the movement to the right. Continue turning to the left and right up to 10 times on each side.
- Yoga Journal: Mountain Pose
- 101 Ways to Work Out on The Ball; Elizabeth Gillies
- Pilates Body Conditioning; Anne Selby & Alan Herdman