Improving our posture can benefit us on so many levels. Body, mind, energy and emotions all improve. And Yoga can support us in creating and even enhance these benefits. Yoga, when done with body awareness, alignment and understanding anatomy and physiology, not only improves posture, it improves our whole sense of wellbeing and living.
It’s obvious that improving our posture improves how we feel.
A healthy posture gives us resilience in our spine, the ability to breathe fully, move freely and experience wellbeing.
Posture improvement affects
- Flow of nerve communication
- Health of organs
- Digestive processes
- Musculoskeletal health
- Stress resiliency
- Hormonal balance
- Feelings of wellbeing, wellness and energy
How bad posture affects our body
We all shrink as we age, but some of us not so old, are already shrinking due to bad posture. Now shrinking isn’t important to some of us, but it does have detrimental physiological effects.
One of the most important is that decreased height causes the vertebral discs to lose moisture and dry out. When our discs are plump and juicy, they keep our spine flexible and absorb any shock.
When discs dry out they become flat and thin, being less supple they are prone to injury and degeneration leading to chronic back pain, neck pain, headaches. This is the perfect setting for other issues related to spinal degeneration, think neck, shoulders, arms, hips and legs. As soft tissue weakens it’s less resistant to gravity and life’s push and pulls.
But have you ever stopped wander to what degree that spills over to, or how it affects every part of our, body, mind and self?
Well let’s only look at what benefits posture improvement has on our physical body.
The many benefits of posture improvement
When the trunk is well supported by strong core muscles, joints and ligaments, and the limbs work in congruency with each other and in conjunction with the core, all our vital organs are fully supported. This allows our organs to work in harmony with each other so that each is well nourished by healthy blood, oxygen and nutrient supplies.
Just think about the kidneys, adrenals, heart, lungs, and liver.
Healthy kidneys holds our sense of strength through clearing toxins and keeping us vitalised. Our adrenals fill our sense of ability through regulating our activity and resting times. They give us the courage to act when invited and the calm to know when we need to retreat.
When our heart is fully supported we have a good blood supply, circulation and sense of respond-ability. The lungs when totally supported can open fully to breathe deep and enliven our entire bodily system with breathe, oxygen and spaciousness. All the muscles around these organs are massaged and nurtured, which trckles down to all connected organs and tissues.
Our liver performs more than 3000 functions. 500 of those are essential tasks to keep us healthy. Giving our liver a wide range of movement through diverse exercise and bodily movement, our liver is more than happy to serve all it’s purposes. The liver directs all the metabolism and detoxification.
Primary tasks of the liver are:
- Bile production and excretion
- Excretion of bilirubin, cholesterol, hormones, and drugs
- Metabolism of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates
- Enzyme activation
- Storage of glycogen, vitamins, and minerals
- Synthesis of plasma proteins, such as albumin, and clotting factors
- Blood detoxification and purification
Not only that but the surrounding tissues, joints and nerves, are also endowed with this generous supply of life giving properties. Every single cell and system of our body is affected by our posture. Each cell’s ability to regulate and maintain internal balance is affected, for better or for worse.
Movement, breath and Yoga for posture
Wide ranging bodily movement that caters to moving all the body parts in all directions creates for support of surrounding tissues and organs through healthy posture, and the nourishment from good circulation a a healthy heart. Allowing our muscles, bones, nerves and joints to get the right kind of movement and freedom which leads to general wellbeing and maintenance.
Any of these affect not just our physical sense of wellbeing but also our mood, energy levels and place in the world. When our hormonal and nervous system function well, we have strong immunity, we have a clear mind, our rhythms of sleep and wakefulness are in harmony too.
According to researchers John Lennon and Norman Shealy in their article in American Journal of Pain Management:
“posture affects every physiological function from breathing to hormonal production. Spinal pain, headache, mood, blood pressure, pulse, and lung capacity are among the functions most easily influenced by posture.
The most significant influences of posture are upon respiration, oxygenation, and sympathetic function. Ultimately, it appears that homeostasis and autonomic regulation are intimately connected with posture. The corollary of these observations is that many symptoms, including pain, may be moderated or eliminated by improved posture.”
When we have a upright and harmonious stance in body, in relation to our world, we have a healthy stance in life.
Its really that simple and powerful.
Improve posture and improve your entire physiology.
So what is posture improvement?
Its an upright spine held, supported and lithe with all ligaments, tendons, fascia, and other connective tissue, working as one. Not just a straight back, but one who honours its natural curves. And a mind who can inhabit through awareness our embodied experience.
It’s a body whose many systems; nervous, endocrine, immune, digestive, circulatory, respiratory, muscular and connective, function as a whole. It communicates and integrates all experiences. It can express itself with as much ease as the spine is supple and juicy.
In yoga we say, We are only as healthy as our spine.
And our spine is only as healthy as we allow it to move in all its many directions; sideways, backward, forward, twisted or extended. That’s why yoga is so powerful, it moves the spine in all it’s potential positions, postures and the combined possibilities of these.
Just like our bodies and minds, our lives can only be as whole as its range of movement and freedom, so our posture leads to health of body, mind and soul, through every cell and system.
Let’s reclaim our wellbeing!
Namaste, and much love to You, your cells and your Soul,