Did you know that adding certain posture correction exercises to your routine, which focus on strength and release, can work wonders on your posture over time? The following exercises and breathwork (breathing exercises) will not only promote better posture, but help you feel physically stronger. Here are the 6 posture exercises to improve hunched shoulders and achieve natural alignment.
POSTURE EXERCISE 1: BREATHWORK TO HELP EASE NECK AND SHOULDER ACHE
‘When we are stressed or during strenuous exercise we breathe heavily into our chests,’ Niki explains. ‘In turn, this can create tension in the body – particularly in the neck and shoulders.
‘Take some time each day to practice diaphragmatic (belly) breathing and give your body a chance to relax and recover.’
Niki also advises starting and finishing any stretch or exercise routine with some short breathwork.
- Find a comfortable place to lay flat. Place a pillow under your knees, one hand on your belly and one hand on your chest.
- With your eyes closed, start to inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Give yourself a moment to get used to this.
- Once you have settled, start to focus on drawing your breath into your belly. You should feel your hand that is on your belly rise and the hand that is on your chest should barely move.
- Start to slow your breathing down and extend your exhale. The aim is to have a slightly longer exhale than inhale. This should feel comfortable and relaxing, not stressful, so take each step in your own time.
- In as little as 2-3 minutes your body can already start to benefit from its parasympathetic nervous system being activated. This encourages and promotes healing and relaxation. You can use this breathing tool in short intervals anytime you feel stressed or anxious, or as a daily practice for 15-20 minutes at a time.
POSTURE EXERCISE 2: RELEASE TENSION IN THE MID (THORACIC) BACK
‘I would again suggest some breathwork as suggested above to start with but, this time, done in the child’s pose position,’ Niki continues. ‘The child’s pose position is a gentle way to ease breath into the posterior thorax, opening up a lot of the tension we may hold there.