Yoga for the Back: Improving Posture Can Improve Your Long-term Health

A woman practicing yoga for the back in Bridge Pose

If you’re looking to improve posture, why not make it a fun, pleasant, enjoyable experience? Consider trying corrective posture exercises based on yoga poses and techniques.

Studies have shown that yoga exercises help improve bad posture and even reverse hyperkyphosis, the age-related posture issue also known as dowager’s hump. Even more than that, yoga creates numerous health benefits for body and mind, ensuring that you don’t just improve posture, but also increase well-being, get relief from stress, and even enjoy soime of the many other health benefits yoga offers.

Our posture is an important dimension of health, which doesn’t get the attention it deserves. Your posture influences the alignment of the spine and thereby the overall health of your body. The spine is the central channel of the nervous system, and when your spine is healthy, the pathways of the nervous system are strong and clear, and vital energy flows unimpeded, creating maximum vitality and well-being.

New research is making it clear that posture is an important dimension in staying healthy throughout life.

Benefits of Improving Posture

Feel Better. People with a good posture and healthy, strong back are generally happier, more confident, and have more energy; they may even be less prone to worry, depression, and anxiety.

Prevent Chronic Pain. Keeping your back flexible and correcting posture imbalances can be more effective prevention and treatment for back pain  

Live Longer. People with deteriorated, hunched posture (hyperkyphosis or dowager’s hump) are more prone to fractures and more likely to lose balance and function as they age.  A chronic, hunched posture restricts breathing, creating shortness of breath. In the elderly, this is associated with increased anxiety and depression, and is considered a main factor of general health deterioration in elderly. Older men and women with a forward hunched posture have higher death rates; as much as 44% higher.

Yoga Exercises Improve Posture

Taking steps to improve your posture will not just help you prevent back pain and joint stiffness. As you increase the health of the back by building holistic strength, increasing flexibility, and improving alignment, the health of your entire body will benefit. As vital energy flows more freely, you will experience more energy and vitality and greater well-being.

Research has shown therapeutic yoga exercises improve posture and overall back health and can be tremendously effective. Yoga for posture increases flexibility and strength, and in addition offers relaxation and stress management.

Yoga for Posture: The Healthy Back, Healthy Body Program

It’s important to take steps early to improve posture. Over time, bad posture can develop into the hunched back of hyperkyphosis, or dowager’s hump.

Particularly useful for improving posture are yoga poses that target the muscles and joints most affected by bad posture, including shoulders, spinal erectors, abdominals, and neck. As part of the Healthy Back, Healthy Body program, yoga therapists Terry Smith, Ph.D. and Eva Norlyk Smith, Ph.D. have created a downloadable series of yoga practices, which help restore strength and fluidity to the spine, while opening the heart area and reversing or improving bad posture.

The 3-part series of exercises from the Healthy Back, Healthy Body series is designed to reverse the early stages of hyperkyphosis. The program consists of three 20-min. downloadable yoga practices delivered weekly for three weeks. The sequences include:

  • Week 1. Heart Opening

    A soothing and relaxing heart and chest-opening sequence to improve posture and reverse forward head posture.

  • Week 2. Core Integration

    This core integration sequence of yoga exercises lays the foundation for better posture by building a strong foundation of core posture support and restoring proper posture alignment.

  • Week 3. Back Strengthening for Posture Support

    This sequence of gentle yoga backbends helps improve posture by strengthening the main posture support muscles of the back.

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