Before reading any further, I want you to notice your posture.
If you’re thinking ‘really?’ then yes, really.
I’ll help: Are you hunching? Are your shoulders close to your ears? Are you tilting forward more than necessary? Maybe tilting backwards?
To return to a correct posture, plant your feet onto the floor with your weight evenly distributed and roll your shoulders back while simultaneously lowering your shoulders away from your ears. If needed, lean backwards or forward so that your upper body is directly above your hips – don’t arch your spine or tilt sideways either, just keep the spine and body neutral.
You’ve now improved your posture. Although it seems like a snooze worthy topic, it’s actually shocking how important posture is. A brief run-through:
The Side Effects of Bad Posture
- Incorrect posture can create misalignments within your joints. In the long term, this can cause fatigue as your muscles will use more energy to compensate for the misalignment.
- Incorrect posture can cause or contribute to tension headaches due to muscular tension created within the back of the neck. Back pain can also arise from muscular tension
- Incorrect posture can affect digestion and improper digestion can lead to acid reflux and constipation
- Incorrect posture can compress the lungs (especially if hunching forward) which in turn, can cause a decrease in oxygen intake
- Incorrect posture can lead to injuries, especially when exercising.
Yoga Poses To Improve Your Posture
As a Yoga Alliance certified teacher, I will always highlight returning to a correct posture during my classes. Why? Physically, to reverse the side effects listed above. Metaphysically, because yogic text states that the spine is the spiritual centre of the body and that kundalini activation starts at the base of the spine.
So, here are five of my favourite yoga poses to perform to maintain a healthy spine:
At The Desk
Ardha Chandrasana (Standing Crescent Moon Pose): The reason I recommend this posture is because below your rib and above your pelvis is a muscle known as the Q.L muscle. When weak, it contributes to bad posture and thus, back pain. By stretching and strengthening the Q.L through Standing Crescent Moon Pose, you can alleviate back pain. Note that I’m referring to the Bikram version of Ardha Chandrasana.
On The Mat
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Dog): Personally, Downward Dog cracks my cervical spine every time I need a relief. While this may not happen to you, benefits include: opening the hamstring, back, chest, & shoulder, strengthening the nerves and muscles in the limbs and back, and stimulating circulation.
Vyaghrasana (Tiger Pose): Everyone is familiar with Cat-Cow Pose but there’s a less popular pose that’s even more effective. Tiger Pose requires bending alternately in both directions which loosen the legs, hips, and back while simultaneously toning the spinal nerves. It’s ideal for anyone with sciatica as it relaxes the sciatic nerves as well.
Sarpasana (Snake Pose): In the textbook provided to me by the school I went to, it literally states that Snake Pose helps to correct the posture. In particular, it can rectify rounded shoulders. By performing this posture 2-3 a week, the back muscles will really strengthen, too.
Balasana (Child’s Pose): When you wake up in the morning or before you attempt to sleep, perform Child’s Pose. There’s a reason why it’s a go-to resting pose and that reason is because it regulates the functioning of the adrenal glands. In terms of posture, it releases pressure along the vertebral column as it can separate the individual vertebrae from each other.
Social media has fashion moving faster than ever! And that’s not a good thing.
You’ve probably seen the term ‘fast fashion’ plastered all over social media, but what is it exactly? Fast fashion can be described as inexpensive, mass produced clothing designed to meet the latest trends.
With Instagram and Pinterest taking over magazines and catalogs as the place to find #outfitinspo, clothing brands are constantly having to keep up with the fast-changing trends churned out by these sites. Have you ever noticed how everything the Kardashians wear is already available to wear just a few days after they press post – at only a fraction of the price?!
These high speeds, and low prices, have caused a huge problem with pollution, waste and human rights abuses. As the issues become more pressing, many consumers, and brands, have become more conscious about their fashion choices – keeping an eye out for sustainable, as well as ethical, alternatives that benefit the planet, people and animals.
One of these brands is Love, Light, Lemons – a local charity initiative with the intention to curate sustainable products while continuously uplifting the lives of communities in need. Founded in 2017 by writer and yoga instructor, Raisa Gabrielli, they’ve offered the public sustainable products, from candles to now activewear, that benefit different charities each year.
Why should you choose their activewear? Well, for starters, its made from 100% organic cotton (GOTS certified) and sewn by refugees under UNHCR. Not to mention, their designs are super cute, just like the animals at their current beneficiary, The Strays of Shah Alam.
The brand aims to raise awareness on the impact of fast fashion, as well as the unfair treatment of refugees in Malaysia by providing a sustainable and ethically made alternative to consumers. Those who purchases these pieces will be supporting the production of 100% organic cotton over modified cotton (which has led to environmental degradation, and even deaths within Indian farming communities), and avoid wearing clothing made with plastic.
When it comes to reducing the negative impact of fast fashion, we all have the power and ability to make responsible choices. Play your part by supporting fair brands who strive to make a positive impact. This can help influence the industry to become more sustainable and ethical!