During quarantine, many of us have found ourselves curled up on the couch binging Netflix more often than normal or crouched over a computer working from home. We live in a society where we are constantly looking at our phones, driving, and sitting. Besides our daily physical habits, emotions also play an enormous role in our spinal health. Our posture becomes compromised when we navigate emotional stress or endure “fight or flight” responses. When we feel scared or threatened it is in our nature to curl into a protective posture and shield ourselves from the world. When we are not physically and emotionally aligned, harmful changes can present in our bodies.
Poor posture can negatively effect lung function, digestion, and blood circulation. It may also constrict nerves, cause headache, teeth grinding, fatigue, chronic pain, and sexual dysfunction. A significant amount of people have pursued physical therapy for issues rooting from incorrect posture.
A strong and aligned backbone is correlated with higher quality of life.
Take some time to check in with yourself and your daily habits:
How much time do you spend driving or sitting?
Are you monitoring your screen time?
Do you have proper office ergonomics?
How is your emotional well-being?
After that, try benefiting from using tools and yoga as described below.
Lumbar Support Cushion
One thing that has greatly benefited my life lately is a lumbar support cushion. A lumbar support cushion is placed behind your back while sitting to maintain the S-like curve of your spine. I have been using it when working on my computer and also while driving. When I first began using a lumbar support cushion in my car, I was sitting so much taller that I immediately had to adjust my rear view mirror. When working on my computer, the spinal support cushion prevents me from rounding my shoulders and projecting my head toward the screen.
Use Yoga to Improve Posture and Alignment
Besides using a spinal support cushion, yoga and strength training are incredibly beneficial for improving posture. A few yoga poses that I recommend practicing include cat/cow, cow-face, sphinx, cobra, and locust pose. Incorporating spinal twists into your yoga practice is a great way to increase spinal mobility. Try interlacing your fingers behind your back and straightening your arms to keep the integrity of your posture during any seated, standing, or forward folding poses. Lastly, a great way to practice safe alignment and posture is by activating the bandhas, or energy locks in the body. As always, do not push through a pose if you experience discomfort.
I hope this blog post has encouraged you to reflect on your daily habits and how they may impact your life and physical structure down the road. Invest in your body, whether that be by buying a spinal support cushion, a yoga or gym membership, a massage, booking the doctor’s appointment that you have been putting off, or taking a mental health day. Build a healthy foundation. After all, your body is the only home you will ever truly own.