Pondering Good Posture

Originally published on YOGANONYMOUS — January 7, 2016 

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I sat in my desk chair—as I do for about six hours every day—slouched over, perusing the Internet...

I came across an article from MTV entitled “16 Times Taylor Swift's Posture Was Nearly Inhuman," and found myself practically picking my chin up off my desk to sit straight up... I hadn't even realized I was so hunched over. 

It's a fairly well agreed upon fact that Taylor Swift is a superhuman, but I too wanted this nearly inhuman posture! I wondered though—on top of how to attain this perfect posture—why exactly is posture so important?

The Wall Street Journal reported on the subject of posture, most specifically about the postural position you assume in your work chair. In the article "How Bad Sitting Posture at Work Leads to Bad Standing Posture All the Time," reporter Jeanne Whalen wrote: “There's growing evidence that good posture contributes to a range of health benefits, from reducing back and joint pain to boosting mood."
Maybe the chiding we all heard growing up to sit and stand up straight actually had a point. As I researched further—and sat up straighter—I found more benefits behind better posture.

Your Posture, Your Muscles, Your Pain

Slouching over, improper alignment, and poor posture can all put an unnecessary strain on your muscles. When your shoulders are rounded and your neck is out of alignment it puts stress on and adds pain to places such as the neck, back, shoulders, and legs. But you might not be feeling this way if your posture was improved. According to Muscle and Fitness: “Good posture entails distributing the force of gravity through our body so no one structure is overstressed.”

When practicing yoga you're often told to imagine an invisible string at the top of your head, pulling you up. Try doing this as you sit at your desk, play on your phone, drive your car, and even when you're out for a walk. You'll feel the difference, and your muscles will breathe a sweet sigh of relief. 


Speaking of... Do you like breathing? Me too. 
As it turns out, when you're hunched over and your posture has gone awry, you're hindering the range of motion of your diaphragm muscle—and ultimately the amount of oxygen your lungs can fill up with. Limited lung capacity is not fun, so sit up straight, breathe deep, and work that diaphragm muscle! 

Sitting to Standing

Often if your posture is poor when you're sitting at your desk, or even in your car, it will carry over into your stride. So keep your shoulders back and head up (see the world at a whole new angle!). Andwatch that tailbone—a common reaction to what feels like good posture is swinging your tailbone out, creating a slope in the lower back, so be sure to tuck that tailbone (slightly) in.  


Ever notice that the people who hold their heads high and walk tall seem like they're exuding confidence and power? Well, they are. Good posture can actually help you with your self-esteem, confidence, and mood. In fact, Time reported on the effects of posture on mood and stress levels, referencing a study conducted on the topic, stating: "A less invasive path to an instant mood lift is to simply sit up straight, according to a new study published in Health Psychology."


Sleeping posture is important too! Sorry, belly dreamers, but rumor has it sleeping on your stomach isn't so great. Sleeping on your back, or on your side with a pillow between your knees, are you better options for less pain and better alignment
So now I shall sit, stand, and sleep with good posture—take that Tay Tay. 
Photo by Jake Laub


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