Yoga is a wonderful way to strengthen and stretch the shoulders, chest, back, and abdominals (the areas affected by sitting all day). Practicing these yoga poses will help you stand taller, live with an open heart, and help to relieve any discomfort that comes with bad posture from sitting.
As you increase the health of the back by building holistic strength, increasing flexibility, and improving alignment, the health of your entire body will benefit.
Mountain Pose (Tadasana): With your feet hip width apart and a bend in your knees, ground your feet into the mat, place your hips in a neutral position, and tuck your tailbone under just slightly. Slide your shoulder blades down your back and reach the crown of your head toward the sky.
Cat Cow Pose (Chakravakasana): This is excellent for discovering the ideal, natural curves of your spine. By moving the spine from flexion (cat) into extension (cow), passing through the middle each time, you learned to judge the neutral position more accurately. Let the movements originate from your tailbone and ripple up your spine so that your head is the last thing to move.
Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana): Come to lie on your back with the knees bent and the soles of your feet flat on the floor. Have a yoga block handy. You should be able to barely touch the backs of your heels with your fingertips when the arms are lying on the floor. The feet should be parallel and stay that way through the duration of the pose. Press down into the soles of the feet as you lift the hips off the floor. Slide your yoga block under your back directly under the sacrum. Let your sacrum rest on the block. Let the arms rest alongside the body. This should be a comfortable resting position. You may wish to stay here several minutes. To come out, press down into your feet and lift the hips again. Remove the block and gently lower your back to the floor.
Downward-Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana): From hands and knees, straighten your legs and lift your hips, reaching them to the back of the room. Press your hands into the ground and allow your neck to relax so your spine can grow long. Reach your heels toward the earth to open the back of the legs. Tip: As you breathe deeply, draw your navel toward your spine and feel your whole body grow long.
Bow Pose (Dhanurasana): Strengthen your back even more with bow pose. From your stomach, reach your hands back to grasp your ankles. As you inhale, draw your thighs and upper body off the floor. On each inhale, lift your heels higher, bringing your front body further off the floor.
Regularly incorporate in your practice any or all these yoga poses to improve your posture, avoid a life of chronic back pain, and feel more confident, lighter, and stronger in your practice and in your everyday life.