I love to observe how people's postures change from the beginning to the end of a yoga class. In my Gentle Yoga class earlier this week almost every person told me they were feeling stress and tightness in their shoulders and back, and it inspired to propose a little experiment.
I asked the class if they might be willing to let me take Before and After photos so they could see the changes I see. They all agreed, so I grabbed my phone and took a snapshot of each person in their best standing posture.
Then I led them through a practice designed to release tension and improve flexibility in the back, shoulders, and neck.
At the end of our practice I took an After photo of each person and promised them I'd send them their Before and After shots so they could see the difference. And wow, it was amazing!
Chelsea was one of the people in class that day, and she agreed to let me share her photos and story with you.
Chelsea is a young woman who is in her last semester of a degree in Graphic Design. Understandably, she spends a lot of hours on her computer, and because of that she has chronic tension in her mid and upper back, shoulders, and neck.
In Cheslea's "Before" photos you'll see that she is standing with a rounded upper back. If you look at the red line from her jaw to her shoulder to her hip to her knee, it kind of zig zags back-forward-back.
In analyzing her photos, I told her that her long hours at the computer cause her head to move forward toward the screen and her shoulders to round. Sitting in his posture causes her belly to relax, so over time her core muscles weaken.
Generally, whatever happens in one part of the spine affects the other parts of the spine. In Chelsea's case, her upper body posture is causing her to over-flex a little bit in her low back and that is causing her pelvis to tilt and shift forward.
In Chelsea's "After" photo she still has a bit of rounding in her upper back, but overall her alignment looks a whole lot better!
So what does all this mean in terms of Chelsea's yoga practice? We're going to focus on relaxing the muscles in her back and neck, strengthening her core, and improving flexibility in her hips and legs.
With continued yoga practice, Chelsea's posture will improve significantly. She will gain better body awareness and improve her sitting posture when she works at the computer. We expect that these actions will help reduce her back pain and the added bonus is that her great new posture will help improve her breathing.
It really is incredible how much posture can improve within a one hour practice!
So now, I'd love to hear from you! In the comments below, please let me know... Do you have any questions or comments about this post or about your own posture? Would you like me to take your Before and After photos and provide analysis?
I look forward to hearing from you! Stand tall and breathe well! :)
Lots of love, Zelinda