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How to Backbend Your Way Out of a Slouch

By Sandy Schroeder

Since most of us are usually hunched forward over computers, cell phones, or a favorite movie, we may need to know how to reverse the process. One way may be bending back as opposed to slumping forward.

WellAndGood,com suggests using yoga backbends to counteract our rounded postures.

If you know you slouch a lot, yoga backbends may feel good and work to help you reverse a damaging posture that pulls the head forwards, narrows the front of the chest and really closes off the body.

In contrast, yoga backbends extend the spine in an effective reverse stretch. Backbends draw the shoulder blades together and forward to help you stand up straight and breathe better. They create a natural curve in the spine, keep the shoulders flexible and improve the extension of the hips.

You can experience the effect when you are sitting by reaching upward with your arms, moving your hips forward and looking up. Contrast that with the usual head forward bent posture that many of us assume as we work.

If the yoga backbend stretches are challenging, you can use yoga blocks to provide support and make them workable. As always, check with your doctor before beginning new exercises.

Here are some of the spine stretching yoga backbends to try.

Cow pose - Start on hands and knees with wrists under shoulders and knees under hips. Breathe in as you let your belly drop down and pull the chest through the arms. Lift the tailbone up, look up and take five deep breaths.

Bridge with support - Lie on the mat with a block underneath the pelvis with feet flat on the mat and knees bent. This pose opens up the back. Hold for five minutes as you breathe in and out.

Camel pose - Kneel on the mat with knees and feet hip width apart. Put your hands on the back of the pelvis. Hug elbows in and pull the tailbone down. Breathe in, move hips forward and lift chest up as you look upward. Breathe in and out five times.

Support the Effort

If these poses work, you could support the effort with an ongoing effort to catch yourself slumping or slouching.

  • Check out your office chair to see that it encourages good posture
  • Establish workstations at home to avoid working on the floor, couch or bed
  • Make a habit of keeping your cell phone at eye level
  • Do a head check keeping the head centered over the spine
  • Take hourly breaks to move around and to check posture

Putting it all together could help you slouch less and breathe better.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Zionsville, Ind.

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