As an elementary school teacher I have the opportunity to teach children critical life skills and good habits. Hopefully my lessons will stay with them as they grow older and continue to advance in their world. One such lesson is good posture. “Sit up straight. Get straight A’s,” is something you will catch me saying throughout the day when I see children slouching. Believe it or not; posture affects penmanship, memory retention, alertness, attention span, confidence, and productiveness. I see it everyday.
A lot of my job involves observing children’s behavior, social skills, manners, and of course academics. I can attest to the fact that those students who are sitting upright are more attentive, interested, and willing to learn. Those are the kids I’m excited about because I can already feel their energy and enthusiasm as I’m instructing a lesson. Catching children sitting upright and ready to work, study, and learn is what makes my job fulfilling.
According to a new study, “sitting up straight in your chair isn’t just good for your posture – it also gives you more confidence in your own thoughts.”
You see, a lot of the details that go into a classroom setting are designed to help students stay attentive and focused. The seating arrangement, the kind of desk to use per age group, the type of chairs, the group tables are all thought out before the students even begin the school year. The goal is always to come up with a plan that grants more focus and less distractions. The lighting of the classroom also has to be on point to gain the most productivity. Natural lightning is desired in all rooms but of course the fluorescent lighting is often utilized, too.
So, if these details were important while we were in school, why wouldn’t they continue to be important as adults? Why would we stop paying attention to the way we sit when we are working? Or why doesn’t it matter to us where we are sitting when we have a deadline? Or what kind of lighting is in the room? All those years of school are supposed to shape us into better learners, effective decision makers, and attentive listeners.
I know that for most of us elementary school is just a distant memory, maybe even insignificant to the life led after your K-5 years. However, how and where you sit can affect your productivity levels more than you think. Even as a *gasp* grown-up.
If you are a creative, a writer of any sort, online coach, blogger, web designer, internet guru, online teacher, course creator, by day or by night, or both, and you are looking for ways to become more productive, find an area that’s just for you to sit and work. An area that is isolated from the surrounding noise or gathering places. Create a working environment like the classroom environment you were used to growing up. Maybe even add motivational quotes, posters, or a vision board around your working area to keep you going. Add the right lighting. Buy the proper chair so you can sit up straight, focused on creating without having to worry about your spine curving the wrong way.
These little details matter more than you think. And this is one of the reasons why….
Each of us have spines with some level of natural curvature. In fact, human spinal columns curve beginning at the head (cervical curvature), under the shoulders (thoracic curvature), over the haunches (lamber curvature), and at the bottom of the spine (pelvic curvature). All four of these spinal curves help to keep us balanced and allow us to walk, jump, and move with ease. But, there are instances when these natural curvatures become too extreme and create more harm than good.
Kyphosis (also known as hyper-kyphosis) involves an excessive outward curve of the spine, causing the back to hunch and the shoulders to round. Lordosis involves an excessive inward curve of the spine, creating an hollowed back or what’s sometimes referred to as a swayback. Scoliosis involves an abnormal curve of the spine, like the shape of the letter S. There are many factors which can cause these conditions, like Vitamin D deficiency and Polio, but they can also derive from bad posture.
Our lifestyles can also trigger an excessive curve, either by the misuse of our body’s capacities or because almost everything we do as humans causes us to hunch forward. Consider all the activities you did today. Did you drive to and from work? Read a book? Type out a proposal or a paper for school? Did you prepare meals for your family? Read and answer what felt like thousands emails?! All these tasks, which we tend to day in and day out, require our focus to be directed forward and down. Leaving us perpetually hunched over. Add to that our growing inclination towards inactivity, particularly for those on a career path that begins and ends at a desk. This is a recipe for spinal disaster!
How to make your posture look like a million bucks? Practice yoga and sit up straight. Try these 14 basic yoga poses to improve your posture and productivity level.
14 Yoga Poses to improve posture
- Begin your practice in a comfortable sitting position and with a prayer or an intention for your practice.
- You can practice pranayama (breathing exercises), meditation, and/or “om” chanting.
- Work on these various Asanas (poses). They are in no particular order, here you can get creative and flow however you feel.
- Final relaxation occurs with a savasana/corpse pose.
- Conclude with a prayer or with thoughts which focus on expressing gratitude.
- Focus your mind on your breath.
- Do not strain or force any of the asanas (poses)
- Listen to your body. Your body will let you know if something is too much.
- Read the disclaimer HERE.
- All poses below improve posture
- Try holding each pose for 30 seconds – 1 minute