When I was growing up my mom constantly reminded me to stand up straight. I’m a tall girl and most girls that are taller than their peers growing up do tend to slump down to fit in with everyone else, so she had a point. Posture is important. When you stand up straight you not only look confident and self-assured you also look slimmer. As I grew up I was thankful for her constant prodding. I had excellent posture. I received compliments on a weekly basis from total strangers about my posture. It helped we seem confident at times when I was not. It gave me a look of authority, as if I was in control.
The other day in class I came out of Camel Pose, Ustrasana, and felt that wonderful heart racing nauseous feeling. The teacher on the podium reminded us that the feeling we have after Camel is normal as we are opening up the front side of the body, but this pose, like so many others in the Bikram Series, helps improve our posture over time.
For some reason it made me think of all of the students I have seen over the past year and a half that have started to stand up straighter, shoulders pulled back, having that look of confidence that we all strive for. The yoga had changed the look of these students drastically. They might have more defined muscles or have lost some weight, but the way they walked through the world had actually changed.
If you practice regularly this benefit will come to you. The poses in Bikram Yoga that help improve your posture include:
- Half Moon Pose (Arda-Chandrasana)
- Balancing Stick (Tuladandasana)
- Triangle (Trikanasana)
- Tree Pose (Tadasana)
- Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
- Locust Pose (Salabhasana)
- Full Locust Pose (Poorna-Salabhasana)
- Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)
- Camel Pose (Ustrasana)
- Rabbit Pose (Sasangasana)
Remember, this is a spine intensive series. As you strengthen the back muscles and the opposing abdominal muscles you cannot help but stand up a little straighter.
But improving your posture does more for you than you might think. When you slump, shoulders pulled forward you are leading with your brain, it precedes any other part of your body and the mind takes over each situation. You are trying to protect yourself. You are on the defense. When you pull the shoulders back and no longer slump into the hips you are starting to move through your life leading with your heart, chest forward. Every interaction you have with others will be changed. The decisions you make will involve that softer side of you that includes compassion and love. And in this softness you will find your strength, you will find the best version of your Self.