yoga or stretches to correct bad posture?

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Can someone recommend some basic stretches and/or yoga poses to correct posture? My neck leans forward and my shoulders round forward (very badly) from 15 years of working in an office, staring at a computer screen. It has really caused my upper body to round forward badly.

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Ivy Veleno

take a ballet class. they’ll fix that right away =D

Rayna D

Shoulder, neck and spine stretches will help correct that. One simple one you can do during the day tat work is to interlace your hands behind your back and lift your arms up and back behind you. You’ll be able to feel it in your shoulders and chest.
Another great one is cat/cow. Begin on your hands and knees, with your wrists lined up under your shoulders and your knees lined up under your hips. On an inhale, arch your back by dropping your stomach and mid-back down toward the floor as you lift your chest and your sit bones (the two bones at the base of your butt). On an exhale, do the opposite: round the middle of your back up towards the ceiling, round your shoulders, and tuck your chin into your chest. Go back and forth between those two poses repeatedly.
Another great shoulder stretch is to take a tie or strap or something similar, and hold it with your arms wide. You then want to do arm circles, bringing your arms forward and down in front of you, then up over your head and back and down behind you. As you continue to do this, move your hands closer together until you’re getting a good stretch, holding the strap taut but not struggling or twisting to get it over. Do it repeatedly.
Simple things such as shoulder rolls will help too, plus reminding yourself throughout the day to roll your shoulders down and back and keep them there.
There are plenty of other great stretches but they can be hard to describe. Check out poses for shoulders on yoga journal online:
Especially check out Garudasana (eagle) but just the arms, Uttana Shishosana (Extended Puppy Pose), Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose), and Bharadvajasana I (Bharadvaja’s Twist).
Always be careful when doing yoga, move slowly and carefully and stop something immediately if it hurts.


It is very possible to significantly alter your posture by practicing yoga and you may find that improving your posture also leads to other beneficial side effects such as better sleep, more confidence, and more energy. This is a highly worthwhile undertaking, good for you for starting it.
It is going to take more than a few simple stretches to correct bad posture. In order to create significant changes in your body, you are going to have to make a commitment to this change. You will need to learn new ways to align your body and then do this alignment periodically all day as you remember. I know this seems like a lot of work, but it is so worth it. If you know there is something you can do to become a better version of yourself, you owe it to yourself to make this commitment.
I recommend taking an alignment-based yoga class (Iyengar or Anusara) at least twice a week.
OR even better, do a private yoga class with an alignment based teacher once a week, once a month, whatever you can afford. This could be in addition to classes or in addition to a video.
A video should not substitute for an in-person teacher as you need the individual feedback to make sure you are doing your exercises correctly. For a video, I recommend “Yoga to the Rescue” with Desiree Rumbaugh. Even if a class is not possible for you right now for whatever reason, order this video, it will be extremely helpful.
As far as a few stretches to get you started, do each of these for 1-3 minutes while breathing deeply and slowly through your nose.
Stand with your back to the wall. Press your shoulders and the back of your head into the wall. Be sure that you are not pressing your neck into the wall, there should be a slight curve away from the wall with your neck. This should feel really good. If you have the room, you can also slide your arms up and down along the wall–reaching your arms up as you inhale and down as you exhale. Another variation, in this same position reach your arms overhead — interlace your fingers and turn your palms face up.
Turn to face the wall and reach your arms up the wall. With your arms straight press just your fingertips into the wall (the palms of your hands domed away from the wall). As you press your fingertips down, your arms will engage and the outsides of your shoulders will lift away from the wall. Keep this action and soften your chest and forehead towards the wall.
Walk your hands down the wall and your feet away from the wall until your body is at 90 degrees. Hands press flat into the wall, shoulders and hips right inline with your hands, and feet right under your hips. As you press your hands into the wall, lift your outer shoulders up towards the ceiling and at the same time soften your heart towards the ground. Make sure to keep your head in line with your spine and not let it drop since your neck already slopes forward, you don’t want to encourage that.
Lay flat on your back, bend your knees and place your feet flat on the ground, approximately under your knees. Hug your arms in by your sides as tightly as you can and then bend your elbows so that your fingertips point towards the ceiling. Press into your upper arms and the back of your head into the ground as you arch your upper back away from the ground. Your low back will come up too, but not your hips.
All four of these exercises will feel really good. Because they use the resistance of the wall and the ground for feedback and stability, they will be more effective for you than poses where you are not stabilized in this way.
As a side note, unlike the person above, I do not recommend the pose Garudasana for your condition because it will exacerbate the already excessive rounding of your thoracic spine.
Good luck!


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