Most of us are pretty aware that the one pose most of our bodies hold each day is unfortunately not a beneficial yoga posture.
Hunching over our many technological devices to browse, work, and play, we hold our shoulders tight to our ears and stretch our necks forward in order to use our phones, tablets, and laptops. Even desktop computers, without the correct seating and desk height can result in incorrect posture held for up to eight hours a day.
This poor posture results in our other muscles overcompensating to maintain proper blood circulation and even breathing, resulting in a new “comfort zone” for our bodies to adapt to.
What could be worse?
According to Kale Panetti, NPI-Certified Posture Specialist, Fitness Specialist ACSM-CPT, the posture we hold directly communicates to the mind, informing our brain of how to behave and what hormones to release.
This “comfort zone” posture mentioned above activates our sympathetic nervous system, sending the message that our slumped rounded posture is us defending ourselves against external attack.
Our mind receives this message from the body and releases our fight or flight hormone, Cortisol, which increases our stress and anxiety levels, in turn leading to multiple other imbalances in hormone levels.
Investing the time into counteracting poor posture has been proven to effectively reduce tension, stress, anxiety, and achieve better sleep cycles.
Try our top five favorite posture-restoring poses with yoga bolsters:
1. Reclined Bound Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana):
Place a Supportive Round Yoga Bolster lengthwise along your spine, from the bottom of your lumbar spine or tailbone up. With the bottoms of the feet together at a comfortable distance from the body, allow your hips to open wide. This will help reset your spine and target any lower back pain. Breathe deeply, expanding your lungs to their fullest, letting your arms hang heavy as your chest cavity relaxes and blood circulation improves.
Hold for 3-5 minutes.
2. Child’s Pose (Balasana):
One of the best poses to reset and lengthen your spine, Child’s Pose is one to never underestimate. From a tabletop position (knees stacked directly under hips and wrists under shoulders), join both feet together and spread the knees out wide as you sit back on your heels. Reach both arms long out in front of you, bringing your forehead to the ground or mat, stretching the arms even further as you settle into the pose.
With a Supportive Round Bolster, place lengthwise between your inner thighs, aligning with the center of your body. Allow your neck to fall where comfortable, with the option to keep forehead on the bolster if looking to extend this release into the full neck. You can also switch between both sides of the face.
Hold for 5-7 minutes.
3. Extended Puppy Pose (Uttana Shishosana):
Stretch out your spine and shoulders by counteracting the rounded posture held for oh-too-long. Heading back into tabletop position, grab a Supportive Rectangular Yoga Bolster.
With toes curled under, place the bolster in front of you where your chest can rest on it comfortably (you may have to resituate yourself). Walk your hands out in front of you until your chest presses into the flat bolster. Try not to sacrifice your stacked joints like I may have in the photo above; you want your hips to stack directly over your knees (whoops!).
Keep your gaze looking between your hands and find the space to breathe slowly holding this posture.
Hold for 1-3 minutes.
4. Sphinx Pose (Salamba Bhujangasana):
Reducing our stress levels from the day, this pose stimulates our abdominal organs, tuning us into our nervous system(s) and connecting the mind to the body for a confirmed “you can relax now” message sent.
Known as the “infant of backbends,” Sphinx pose strengthens our spine, while also increasing flexibility in the chest, lungs, shoulders, and abdomen.
Using a Supportive Rectangular Bolster, lie on your stomach with your feet relaxed behind you. No use of muscles will be needed to hold this posture. Place your bolster at its widest and flatest in front of you, resting your forearms on top. Make sure to form a 90 degree angle in your elbow creases, stacking your shoulders over your elbows. Rest the gaze and enjoy.
Hold for 3-5 minutes.
5. Fish Pose (Matsyasana):
Said to be the “destroyer of all diseases,” Fish Pose stretches the muscles between the ribs, as well as our hip flexors. Known to stimulate most muscles on the front side of the body, this posture also improves posture.
By strengthening the upper back and neck muscles, Fish pose improves spinal flexibility and reduces body fatigue and anxiety.
Using a Supportive Rectangular Yoga Bolster, turn it on its side for the tallest height. Align the bolster with your spine, allowing your neck and head to fall. Forearms to mat or floor, extend the legs and point the feet together. Allow your chest cavity to open and slowly breathe into the new space.
Hold for 2-4 minutes.
We hope you enjoy our favorite posture-restoring yoga poses. We illustrated each posture above with our Supportive Cotton Yoga Bolsters, which you can find on our website but also feel free to use what you have already or at home to achieve each pose.