Whole Living Daily

Help Your Posture Now! Yoga On and Off the Mat

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I won’t lie… I have a tendency to slouch. If I’m waiting in line somewhere, sitting at my desk, or typing away on my iphone, my posture can go downhill. It’s particularly poor if I’m tired or emotionally under the weather.

Over the last 6 months, I’ve made a conscious effort to refine my posture. And overall, I’ve made progress. One of the most beneficial techniques has been referencing tadasana, or mountain pose, throughout the day.

I was recently reminded of another fabulous technique for improving posture both on and off the mat while reviewing one of my favorite yoga/ yoga therapy books, Yoga as Medicine: The Yogic Prescription for Health and Healing, by Timothy McCall, M.D. (I highly recommend this publication for all yoga practitioners.)

What’s the technique? A yoga strap jacket/harness.

Back
1 of 5

1 Place the center of the strap on the upper back or a little lower (I like starting with it lower).

2 Drape the right side of the strap over the right shoulder, left side over left shoulder.

3 Cross the straps behind the back and hold one end in each hand and make any adjustments so the strap isn’t twisted or too lose.

4 Buckle or tie the strap in front. I sometimes like to tie it just below the ribs.

5 As you can see, rounding in the back is not so easy anymore!


Of course, you don’t want to wear this configuration for an entire yoga practice, but it’s excellent for honing tadasana, balancing poses (such as tree), upright seating postures, and basic breathing exercises.
All you need is a 6 to 10 foot yoga strap or improvise with 2 men’s ties tied together.* If your strap has a buckle, undo it and separate the two parts of the buckle so they’re on either side of the strap.

What to do:
1. Place the center of the strap on the upper back or a little lower.
2. Drape the right side of the strap over the right shoulder, left side over left shoulder. (don’t cross the strap in front of the body)
3. Cross the straps behind the back and hold one end in each hand.
4. Make any adjustments so the strap isn’t twisted or too lose.
5. Gently pull each end of the strap downward. As Dr. McCall says, “If the strap is positioned correctly, you will feel traction on the trapezius muscles in your upper back and your neck”
6. Buckle or tie the strap in front. Connect the strap towards the center or lower portion of the ribs. Do what feels best for you.

I’m writing while wearing my strap jacket. It’s fantastic! I’m sitting on a balance ball, too, which also helps posture.

Good luck!
What helps your posture? Please share.

Sophie Herbert is an alignment focused yoga teacher (and perpetual student), a singer-songwriter, and a visual artist. She has lived, studied, and volunteered extensively in India; teaches yoga in Brooklyn and Manhattan; and recently released her first full-length album, "Take a Clear Look." Please visit her website at SophieHerbert.com.

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