15 Minutes to Better Posture

The Routine

The five easy exercises that follow—from Calgary, Alberta, yoga instructor Susi Hately (functionalsynergy.com)—can release tension, build muscle, and give you energy and an instantly taller, slimmer-looking physique. Repeat the circuit twice. To maintain the benefits you’ll gain by doing these moves regularly, establish good posture at your desk: Sit with your back against your chair and feet flat on the floor. When you look at a computer screen, your eyes should be level with the center of it. If they aren’t, raise or lower the monitor.

Move 1: Shoulder Rolls

Stand or sit in a comfortable position. As you inhale, raise your shoulders and shoulder blades to your ears. On the exhale, pull your shoulder blades down and together. Repeat 5 to 10 times.

Move 2: Chest Release

Raise your arms to just below shoulder height with palms facing forward. Exhale as you slowly rotate both hands at the wrists so your fingers point slightly behind you. Take three to five breaths.

Move 3: Pyramid

Step your left foot back so it rests fully on the floor. Square your hips. With your legs straight, clasp your forearms behind your back, exhale, and lean forward from your hips (don’t round your spine). Take three to five breaths and rise. Switch sides.

Move 4: Chair Pose

Stand and raise your arms in front to shoulder height. Contract your arm muscles. Exhale as you bend your knees (no more than 90 degrees) and keep them over your toes. Take two breaths; stand. Repeat three times.

Move 5: Standing Side Bend

Touch your left hand to the side of your head. Ground both feet and guide your head to the right until you feel a stretch along the left side of your body and shoulder. Take three to five breaths. Switch sides.

Proper Form

There’s no need to balance a book on your head to check your posture. Bottom line: Your back should have an elongated S shape when viewed from the side. Follow these tips to ensure you’re in alignment.

Neck: Hold your head high and straight without tilting it forward or to the side. Your ears should be in line with the middle of your shoulders.

Shoulders: Pull your shoulder blades back and down to lift your breastbone.

Abdomen: Tuck your abdomen in, but be careful not to tilt your pelvis forward or backward.

Knees: Keep your knees slightly bent and shoulder-width apart.

By Sharon Tanenbaum

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