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improving posture

justwannabe2010-07-05 08:06:34 +0000 #1
since starting yoga there have been several things that have helped me out and life has definitely improved. I used to have an abnormally high heart rate and that has lowered dramatically, for instance I would check it while being in a store and it would be around 90+ and the last two times I checked, it was 78 and 75 and this is after only 3+ months of practice of at least 4 times a week. I have also become more calm and relaxed in most things I do. Yoga has taught me to become more aware of myself and one of those things is my bad posture. My question is, would it be beneficial for me to do exercises on top of the yoga practice, so I may speed up correcting my posture? things like pull ups, push ups, and sit ups, would those help or should I just allow the yoga to take its time?

thanks

Seeker
InnerAthlete2010-07-05 08:13:36 +0000 #2
Well you would be making some considerable assumptions with those "other exercises". The first assumption would be that you could "speed up" correcting spinal alignments. Usually these misalignments have taken years to develop. Decades even. And to presume that we'd speed them I think would be eroneous at best. You've acquired them over time and over time they shall be rectified (assuming the proper work).

The second assumption is that the "exercises" you mention, or the ones you ultimately select, would be contributing to proper alignment(s). Remember that old saying, "you're either part of the solution or your part of the problem"? Well improper training can be detrimental (as can improper asana etcetera). If, for example, a student is colapsed in the chest and the reason for that colapse is overly tight muscles of the chest then training those muscles harder would wrench the condition further out of alignment.

So while it's certainly okay to do as you like relative to other exercises, you want to use care (without being a neurotic mess when you'r doing them because you're so concerned about what's "right").

Of the three actions you mention it is only pullups that might have real value outside of yoga practice. The other actions you easily receive in a balanced asana practice. Pulling on the other hand is more challenging to find in an asana practice. Even then though, most folks doing those pullups are so convulsive in the action that they're getting very little bang for their buck and who knows what they're doing to themselves as their biomechanics are poor.

Does this give you some direction with which to make your own choice?
justwannabe2010-07-05 08:20:10 +0000 #3
somehow I get the feeling that you do not recommend I get one of those machines that stimulate the muscles while I sit on the couch drinking beer and eating potato chips, would that be a correct assumption?

seriously though, Thank you for your response. with push ups I was focusing on helping the back but I should know better, they use the chest a lot and tightening those muscles, like you said, would only compound my problem.

It does seem that pull ups may be beneficial as in lengthening the spine,kind of stretching it straight? if I do those I will make sure I do focus on form and not a certain number. Thanks again for your time

seeker
InnerAthlete2010-07-05 09:23:14 +0000 #4
You can get some length in the spine by hanging from the arms, as monkeys do on occasion in trees. But the pullup isn't necessary for that. And, while hanging, the breath has to move deeply and you must release the spine consciously.

That action would actually be better while inverted (hanging) or partially inverted because the spine is compressed from bearing the body weight through gravity in daaily life. Upside down works the opposite action allowing space between the vertebrae.

Yes, couch, tv, and chips I would not recommend.

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