10 Yoga Poses for Better Posture

Eagle Pose Yoga for Posture
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Modern life is constantly wreaking havoc on our bodies. We may not often think about it, but the world is designed in a way that promotes poor posture. We kink our necks to stare at smartphones, slouch at desks all day, and slump behind the wheel of our car as we commute. Over time, this can cause all kinds of problems like back pain and poor posture. Luckily, when you hit your mat, there are plenty of poses you can do to improve your posture. This article rounds up 10 yoga postures for better posture. Consider adding them to your daily practice and you’ll be standing taller immediately.

The Best Yoga Poses for Better Posture

Mountain Pose

Mountain Pose Yoga for Better Posture
Mountain pose or Tadasana seems like a simple pose, but if you master it you will find improved posture on and off the mat. More than just standing still, this pose helps you to bring your entire body into proper alignment from head to toe.

To enter mountain pose, place your feet hip-width apart on the mat. Ground your feet into the mat and allow a slight bend in the knees. Tuck your tailbone under so your hips are in a neutral position. Pull your shoulder blades back and down while reaching the crown of your head to the sky.

Tree Pose

Tree Pose Yoga for Posture
Tree pose or Vrksasana is another standing pose that helps improve posture and sense of balance. In order to properly balance and stand in the pose, your body requires proper alignment. This helps to stretch your shoulders and counteract the tightness caused by poor posture.

Begin in mountain pose with your weight evenly grounded into your mat. Shift your weight into your left foot and bend your right knee. Reach down and grab your right ankle. Depending on your flexibility, guide your foot to press against your calf or your thigh–make sure it is above or below the knee and not directly on the joint.

Rest your hands on your hips, press them together in prayer pose at your chest, or raise your hands above your head. To help maintain your balance, focus on one unmoving point on the floor or wall in front of you.

To release the pose, lower your right foot and step back into mountain pose. Repeat on the other side.

Cat & Cow Pose

Cat Cow Yoga Pose Better Posture
Cat (Marjaryasana) and cow (Bitilasana) poses are fantastic stretches for your back and shoulders. In addition to warming up the spine and relieving back tension, by stretching your back to the extremes, these poses help you naturally discover a neutral spine. You can carry that feeling into day to day life to improve your posture overall.

Come onto hands and knees on your mat. Follow your breath in and out of each stretch. Inhale and round your back as tall as it will go (imagine a startled cat), dropping your head toward the floor. Exhale and arch your back, pulling your shoulders back and raising your head to look forward. Repeat for several breaths and then rest with a neutral spine.

Standing Forward Fold

Standing Forward Fold Yoga Pose for Improved Posture
Standing forward fold or Uttanasana always feels like a nice break in the middle of a yoga routine, but this pose is actually doing a lot of work for your back. It helps to lengthen your spine and counteract a day of poor standing and sitting posture.

Starting in mountain pose, hinge at the hips to fold forward. Rest your hands on the floor or grab opposite elbows to hang. Keep a slight bend in the knees and with every out breath let yourself fold deeper.

Downward Facing Dog

Downward Dog Yoga Pose for Better Posture
Down dog (aka Adho Mukha Svanasana) is such a fantastic pose, that’s why you see it so frequently in yoga routines. It’s no surprise that this light inversion helps strengthen back muscles and improve your posture.

Start on hands and knees on your mat. Lift your hips and straighten your legs, reaching toward the back of the room. Press your hands into the mat and make sure your spine is straight. Keep your knees bent if you’re less flexible, but reach your heels toward the ground.

Cobra Pose

The classic pose Bhujangasana, named after the cobra, is perfect for strengthening your back and counteracting poor posture. It opens both your chest and your shoulders which helps to treat rounded shoulder posture.

Start lying flat on your stomach. Position your hands under your shoulders and press down as you lift your upper body. Draw your shoulder back, achieving a light backbend. Try to take the weight off your hands, keeping your neck long and your legs active. When you first attempt this pose, do not push yourself too hard–make sure to listen to your body. Over time you will build more strength and flexibility.

To come out of the pose, slowly lower your shoulders down onto the mat. Relax your arms at your side and turn your head to the side to rest on the mat.

Bridge Pose

Bridge Pose Yoga for Good Posture
Bridge pose or Setubandha is a gentle backbend that helps open constricted muscles in the shoulders and chest. I find it always feels good after a long day sitting at the desk, especially if I do a restorative version using a yoga block.

Lie on your back on the mat. Bend your knees, rest your feet on the mat with the heels as close to your sit bones as possible. Rest your arms at your sides. Exhale and press your feet and arms into the floor, raising your tailbone toward the sky. Keep your butt firm as it comes off the floor. Clasp your hands under your pelvis and extend them toward your feet. Once your butt and thighs are parallel to the floor, hold the position for up to a minute.

To come out, unclasp the hands and return them to your sides. Exhale and slowly lower the spine down one vertebra at a time.

If bridge pose is too intense for you, you can use a yoga block, wheel or back bridge for a supported version of this pose.

Bow Pose

Dhanurasana or bow pose is named after the shape of an archer’s bow pulled back before release. It stretches the chest and strengthens the back muscles, which helps you improve your posture off the mat.

This is not a pose that you want to go into cold, so make sure you’ve already warmed up the back before you move into this posture. Start by lying on your stomach on your mat. Bend your knees and reach back to grab the top of the foot from the outside edge. Inhale and lift your legs to help pull the front of your chest off the mat. Lift your head and gaze at the front of the room. Breathe.

To release, bend your knees and slowly lower your chest and thighs back to the floor. Bring the hands forward and create a pillow to rest your head on.

Eagle Pose

Garudasana or eagle pose not only opens your shoulder blades, but it helps build a stronger core to support your spine. Since this is a balancing posture, it helps support natural alignment which improves posture.

If you’ve never done eagle pose before, check out the video for extra guidance. Start by standing in mountain pose. Inhale and lift your right knee into your chest. Wrap your right leg around the left as far as you can comfortably. Inhale your arms up and press the palms together. Exhale, bringing your arms down and wrapping the right hand underneath the left. Inhale, lifting the arms up.

You can stay there, or exhale and bend forward for full eagle. Focus your gaze on an unmoving spot on the floor to find your balance. To come out of the pose, inhale and lift up. Unwrap your leg and bring it to your chest. Exhale, unwrap the arms and return to mountain pose. Repeat on the left side.

Cow Face Pose

Gomukhasana or cow face pose has an interesting name because you really need to look at someone in the pose to see the cow face. Despite the silly name, this pose is fantastic to promote proper posture. It stretches the chest and shoulders, counteracting slouchy shoulders and “tech neck.”

Start by sitting on your mat with your legs stretch out in front of you. Bring your left foot back next to your right hip, bending at the knee. Bring your right foot back to your left hip, resting the knee on top of the other. Bring the feet in close to your hips if possible.

Raise your arms to the sides like an airplane. Bring your left arm down and up your lower back toward the shoulder blades (elbow pointing to the floor). Bring your right arm up and bend it down the back. If you can, hook your fingers or modify with a strap. Extend through the elbows, lifting the crown of your head toward the sky. To come out, unhook the hands and release the arms. Uncross the legs and stretch them out in front of you. Repeat on the other side.

Need more help improving your posture? Check out these posture trackers and wearables.

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10 Yoga Poses for Better Posture

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