A good posture is the first step to get rid of many small health issues.
What exactly is this "good posture"? A good posture or an ideal posture is one that you acquire when you walk with a book kept on your head. Try it and see what happens to your body when you are trying to balance the book on your head and walking. This is what happens -
1) You do not slouch.
2) Your back is straight.
3) Your head is held high and does not wobble.
4) Your chin is pointed forward.
5) Your shoulders are relaxed ( they should be if they are not).
6) You walk in a straight line and with easy confident and deliberate steps.
This is a good posture , a healthy posture while standing up and walking. Similarly, imagine yourself sitting down, all of the above points should be in place except for the 6th point, while sitting in an ideal posture.
The benefits of maintaining a good posture-
1) Strain on the nerves, muscles and ligaments is reduced.
2) The risk of spinal curvature and spondylitis is reduced.
3) Body is relaxed.
4) The stress on the alignment of bones and joints is reduced.
5) Helps in preventing the abnormal wearing out of joints.
6) Aids proper blood circulation throughout the body.
7) Helps in getting better sleep.
8) Reduces the risk of headaches of all kind.
9) Prevents back pain.
10) Last but not the least, helps to maintain a good appearance.
Tips to acquire and maintain a good posture for relief in back pain and other related problems.
1) The first step is awareness- In the above given points you have read the characteristics of a healthy posture. Pay attention to your body and check out if your posture checks out on all the 6 points. If not, try to correct which ever point is lacking on your own. If that is not possible, then check out the following steps.
2) Walking consciously - As mentioned above, walk as if an object is kept of your head and you have the responsibility of not letting it fall. Wear comfortable shoes if you are practicing out of home and if you are inside your home, you may practice bare foot. Better still, place a medium sized book on your head and walk at least 200 steps, including equal number of turns to the left and right. With 20 days of practice in this manner you will notice that your walk is become straighter, you body is feeling lighter and more relaed and the pain in your back is reducing. If you were facing more problems like insomnia, cervical pains and pain in other joints, that shall also reduce.
3) Heel to hip position - Spread a yoga mat or a carpet on the floor and lie down with your back flat on the floor. Now bend your knees towards the ceiling and bring your heels towards your hips as much as you can, the target is to touch the heels to the hips, arms by your side. But do not over stretch in the first attempt. Now try to push your back into the floor as much as you can. Give 5 pushes , then relax your arms. Do this exercise 3 times. Then just relax, and lie down.
4) Isometric exercise - These exercises strengthen the bones, joints and muscles. The key point of isometric exercise is that there is very little movement and more focus on holding a posture for as long as possible. This brings balance and strength in the core muscles and relieves back pain. A few of the positions one can practice are -
(A) Wall pushing - Place your palms flat on the wall and stand upright at your arm's length. Bend your elbows breath out through your mouth and push yourself towards the wall. Hold this position for as long as possible, start with 5 seconds. Now take a breath in through your nose and push your self back to the starting position. Stay in this position for the same amount of time as you did in last position. Repeat 5 -10 times.
(B) Chair pose - stand with your back straight. If you want you can touch your back to a wall to maintain this posture. Bring your arms up in front of you like we do while taking an oath, but do it with both arms. Now take a deep breath, and exhale through your mouth while bending your knees and lowering your body to a position like sitting in a chair. Balance this posture for 5 seconds. Inhale and get up straight. Relax for 5 seconds, repeat 5 times.
(C) Planks - One of the most famous and most practiced isometric eercise. Lie on your stomach, chin on the floor, palms at shoulder level, and toes on the floor for balance. Take a breath in and push yourself up with your hands, make sure your back is not arched but is straight like a wooden plank. Ask someone to watch your posture. Stay in this pose for a few seconds, as long as you can hold. If your body trembles in the beginning, it is normal. Slowly lower yourself down and ehale. Rela for a few seconds. Repeat 3-5 times.
5) Yoga - Yoga is the best way to correct an unhealthy posture. A few of the best yoga poses for good posture are -
(A) Taadasan - Stand with your feet about 2 inches apart. Relax your shoulders. Bring up your arms straight and clasp them at their maximum height. Now breath in and simultaneously stretch your arms further up and stand up on your toes. Imagine as if some body is pulling you up. Hold your pose and breath for a few seconds. Slowly exhale, bring down your arms and heels. Repeat 3 times.
(B) Tiryak taadasan - Stand with your feet apart, the gap should be approximately as much as your shoulders. Clasp your arms up straight. Breath in , now bend side ways to the right while exhaling. Inhale and come back to starting position. Exhale and bend towards the left side. Inhale and come back to original position. This completes 1 round. Do 2 more rounds of this asana.
(C) Surya namaskar - Surranamaskar is a series of 11 asanas, all of which have been known to relieve back pain and help in correcting the posture. Surya namaskar can be learnt from a yoga teacher and videos are also available on the internet. Practicing surya namaskar not only gives relief in back pain, but also corrects digestive disorders, helps in speeding up the metabolism, burns fat and generates strength from within and does much more good to the body.
So correcting your posture is not all that hard, and comes with a lot of benefits in addition to getting rid of the back pain. Practice all or few of the above given tips and enjoy a healthy and happy body