Wellbeing tip

The secret to looking younger, slimmer, boosting your energy and increasing your wellbeing? - look to your posture!
Life is not geared up to good posture. We sit at our desks,  or in our cars arms forward, shortening our chest muscles, creating poor alignment in our spine,  weakening our core muscles and tightening our hamstrings.  But we can fight back!  Try these four yoga poses to improve your posture and feel great.

Tadasana (Mountain Pose) for overall good posture and good alignment in your spine.  You can even practice this one in the supermarket queue. 

Stand with your feet together, outside edges of your feet parallel.  For most of us this means separating the heels.  Lift up through your instep, lift your kneecaps and tuck your tailbone under.  Gently engage your abdominals. The lower half of your body will feel solid, grounded.  From there lengthen your spine, roll your shoulders up to your ears then back and down, opening up your chest. Bring your chin level with the ground and let your arms relax by your sides, your fingers curling towards your palm.  If it feels alright for you, close your eyes and see if you can become completely still, perfectly balanced on your feet.

Camel variation - this will open your chest so enhancing your breathing and boosting energy, and correct any shoulder rounding. 

Stand in Tadasana and place your hands on the small of your back,  squeeze your elbows together and lift your chest towards the ceiling.  To come out tuck your chin and slide your hands down your thighs as a counter pose.

Plank- this will strengthen your core muscles that support your spine, preventing rounding in the lower back.  It also strengthens your shoulders.  

Come onto all fours and stretch your right leg back tucking your toes.  Lower the right hip slightly.  Without moving the right leg bring the left leg in line.  Keep the back of the neck long and shoulders away fron the ears.  Your bottom should not stick up or dip down.  Use your core muscles to hold your position.   When you are ready to come out drop your knees, bring your bottom back onto your heels and stretch your arms forward. 

Heron - this will stretch your hamstrings.  Tight hamstrings are the cause of up to 90% back pain. 

Sit on a folded blanket or yoga block if you have one, with your legs outstretched and fold your left leg back so that your left foot is by your left hip.  If this does not feel right for your knee or your hips are not level, sit cross-legged right leg in front of right.  Bend your right leg so that you can place a strap, or dressing gown tie, around the ball of your right foot. Hold your strap with two hands. Inhale then stretch your right leg up and pressing into the belt to straighten the back of your leg (hello hamstrings!). Lean back slightly. If you cannot straighten your leg, you may need to lower your leg a little until you can. Lift your chest.  Hold for a few breaths then lower.
These four poses will take up just a few minutes of your day and make all the difference to your wellbeing.
Be well, be happy 
Janet x

Article Copyright © 2014 40plusandalliswell

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