Everyone can benefit from exercises that help maintain a healthy posture, and one way to do that is by practicing a few yoga poses at least three times a week. Women who are small and slight are more prone to Dowager’s Hump, a painful “hunchback” shape in the upper mid-thoracic spine. This is true, too, for women who are very tall and slouch in order to minimize their height. Using gentle yoga poses to create therapeutic traction will reduce neck and low back strain common for mothers and anyone who sits at a desk or in a car for extended periods of time.
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Downward Facing Dog Variation at the Wall
Many women do not have a lot of upper body strength and can benefit from doing a modified downward facing dog pose at the wall that is less strenuous and provides the same spinal traction. Place your palms flat against a wall, shoulder-width distance apart and step your feet back. Press your palms into the wall and step the feet apart hips-width distance. As you extend the hips back, you create traction in the low back. Remain for five to eight breaths. Walk your feet in to exit the pose.
Modified Standing Twist with a Chair at the Wall Prevents Dowager's Hump
Use a modified twist to prevent dowager’s hump by using a chair. Set a straight-backed chair at the wall so the seat faces out from the wall. Facing the chair, place your right foot on the chair seat so the knee is at a 90-degree angle. Lengthen through the crown of the head as you place your palms on the wall, turning the top of the chest to the right, towards the wall. A variation of marichasayana, this provides a safe twist to the upper back. Remain for five to eight breaths and repeat to the other side.
Variation of Locust Pose for Therapeutic Spinal Traction
Do a variation of locust pose (shalambhasana) to keep your upper mid-back flexible to reduce neck tension and pain. Lie on your belly and extend your legs to straight, feet about a foot apart. Bring your hands behind you and interlace them softly. Peel the chest off the floor and draw the chin towards the throat so the neck is long. Draw the shoulders down towards the waist. This is a variation of shalambasana, or backbend. Remain for a few breaths and rest by lying flat, hands under your head.