Poor posture is one of the leading causes of daily aches, pains, and lack of energy for many people. For those of us who work at a desk and/or in front of a computer all day, we can get used to keeping our bodies in awful positions for extended periods of time.
The spine and shoulders are a good indication of your posture. Sometimes during the day I find myself feeling stress and tension across my back and a stiffness in my neck and shoulders. It is always because I am allowing my spine and shoulders to slump forward rather than keeping them straight and relaxed.
A healthy posture includes a straight head, neck and spine, and shoulders that are slightly drawn back and relaxed, which opens the chest slightly.
When I’m feeling the effects of prolonged poor posture, I like to take a break from what I’m doing and perform a few repetitions of Pashchima Namaskarasana, the reverse prayer pose (pictured above).
Pashchima Namaskarasana opens the chest and rotates the shoulders and is a wonderful way to relieve the built up stress and tension from poor posture. It also helps remind your body how it feels to have your shoulders and spine in the right places.
I used to have extreme difficulty maneuvering my hands into this position – my shoulders were too tight and stiff. Skanda chakra from the Pawanmuktasana Series 1 Hatha yoga set, along with other poses, can help to open your shoulders so you can move deeper into Pashchima Namaskarasana.
For more information on Pashchima Namaskarasana and how to perform it, see Yoga Art and Science’s article here.
Always remember to never cause yourself pain or strain when moving into an asana – only go as far as is comfortable for you. Every day you will notice you are able to move your arms higher and higher with more ease.
Try it out the next time you feel back and shoulder tension and let Pashchima Namaskarasana open you up to a more relaxed and energized body!