Your body posture is important. You might have read quite a few articles on how posture can make an impression on others and instills confidence in yourself and others. But, more than anything else, your body posture and alignment is important for your health – both physical and mental. A messed up posture indicates a problem with your body alignment. But it’s nothing you can’t resolve with a tad bit of willpower and a few healthy habits.
1. Work On Your Posture
We’re sure you’ve heard enough about posture, but that’s because it’s important. A bad posture affects the circulation, chronic fatigue, neck and back pain, and more. The best way to figure out if your posture is awry is to observe how you stand: Stand with the back of your head touching a wall. Place your heels 6 inches from the wall. The small of your back or the neck should be less than 2 inches away from the wall. A larger distance indicates a curved spine and bad standing posture.
Train your body to stay in the neutral spine position, wherein the neck, middle, and lower spine are in alignment. The following exercise can help:
- Lie on your back with the knees bent, feet on the floor, and legs parallel from the heels to the hips. Ease into the pose and relax such that your back sinks into the floor. Take deep breaths that pass through the entire spine and relax it.
- Exhale and push your lower spine into the floor using your abs. Relax.
- With the next deep exhale, push the pelvis away from the floor to get into a pelvic tilt. Relax.
2. Get A Spine Made Of Iron
The spinal cord is the part that gives your body some structure and posture. In its natural form, the spinal cord has an “S” shape for shock absorption and ease of movement. Any damage to the neck, chest, lower back, or pelvis affects your alignment. Factors that ruin the natural shape and strength of the spinal cord include standing or sitting for a long duration, bad posture, stooped shoulders, and working with a computer or looking down at the mobile screen for too long. Here’s what you can do to take care of your spine:
- Get into a regular yoga routine that targets the entire spinal cord and more.
- Specific poses like the upward- and downward-facing dog, the bridge, the cat and cow, and the forward bend can help.
3. Strengthen Your Core
A strong core indicates a strong spine as the two support each other. Every single step you take to improve your posture works on your core as well — this includes all the muscles in the abdomen, back, and the shoulder girdle. To take your game to the next level, practice a few exercises to work on your core:
- Practice abdominal breathing to strengthen the chest and abdomen and stabilize your core.
- Try exercises like the plank, push-ups, lunges, and squats.
4. Know Your Limits
Yes, exercising is all about testing your limits and pushing your body to achieve more than it earlier could. However, in the excitement, you might be pushing your luck too far. Exercise-related injuries to bones and muscles are quite common. This is especially the case with the back and the joints, and a broken back or joint is quite tough to heal. Your body is supposed to move in a specific way; forcing it to do otherwise can be catastrophic and affect the body alignment quite badly.
- When trying out different exercises to strengthen your core or spine, listen to your body.
- Feeling a little strain while trying out a new pose is normal. If you feel pain, stop right there.
- Slowly train your body into the pose you wish to achieve; don’t try it overnight.
5. Find A Balance
Your body is an intricate piece of machinery that should use muscles, joints, and bones appropriately, when needed, in order to maintain the right posture. When you stand straight without bending your knees, you’re letting your muscles to help the bones hold you up. The joints come handy primarily when you need to move. Similarly, for any given job, you only need a set of muscles and bones. However, you might end up exerting stress on unnecessary parts of the body.
You’re most likely overworking your body when working (at the desk or otherwise), when riding a bike, or doing any commonplace actions. Here’s what you do.
- While working (on anything and anywhere), observe your body. Notice which part of the body is facing the maximum stress and find a way to relieve it. Very likely, your back and shoulders will be bearing the brunt of it.
- Train your body to sit/stand/walk in the right posture throughout the day. If you’re aware of your posture, you automatically avoid undue stress and distribute the workload equally. It’s all about communication, and here, between the various parts of your body and your mind.
6. Focus On The Present
Most of the time, you feel disoriented when you’re not able to focus, when you’re distracted from the present. This applies to body alignment, too. To improve your alignment, concentrate on every single body movement. When walking, standing, or doing any kind of activity, focus on where your feet are and what your hands are working on. Feel the earth beneath your feet and try to feel grounded, both physically and mentally. While doing exercises, feel the connection between the earth and any other part of your body that’s touching it.
This might not be easy to do all the time. To improve your focus and concentration, practice meditation.
- Sit cross-legged on the floor or any other way you feel comfortable.
- Turn off any kind of distractions.
- Focus on an object, a mantra you can repeat in your mind, or on nothing.
- Practice every day for at least 5 mins and increase the duration gradually.
7. Rest More Often
This is probably the best ever advice you’ve been given, right? Well, we don’t mean you can laze around throughout the day just because you feel like it. Know when to rest. While your body could have superhuman strength and abilities with enough training, it still needs rest. Without time to recover, your alignment can go for a toss. So, as you work on your body and mind and whatever else that needs your attention, give it a break every now and then.
With an aligned body, you’ll find that you use a lot less energy than you used to on the most mundane things. Work takes less out of you, there’s more strength, and you feel in control, confident, balanced, and in peace.