Is poor posture making you sick? -

Poor posture could be making you sick

Wellness expert Peggy Hall says that how you stand can affect not only your health -- but your happiness as well! Poor posture has been implicated in everything from neck and back pain, headaches, digestive issues and even depression. She shares a simple fix to get you feeling better fast.

"As a yoga instructor, I have to restrain myself from going up to complete strangers and pulling their shoulders back," says Peggy. "I literally cringe when I see people slouching, slumping and hunching, because I know what a strain that puts on the body and the mind!"

Peggy says that when you're slumped forward, you're not only straining the muscles in the back and neck, but you're constricting the flow of oxygen to your lungs. When you don't get enough oxygen, you're setting the stage for headaches and fatigue. And when you're collapsed in your midsection, your internal organs can't function as well as they should. That means you're increasing your chances of having problems with your digestion and elimination.

Here's Peggy's simple fix:

  • Stand with your toes pointing straight ahead, never pointing to the sides. That throws your back out of alignment.
  • Reach your arms up toward the ceiling and lift your heels at the same time, so you're balancing on the balls of your feet. "This may cause you to dance around a bit to find your balance, but that just means you're strengthening the muscles in your ankles, legs and midsection," Peggy explains.
  • Lower your arms and very slowly lower your heels, striving to stay as tall as you can.

"And don't forget to breathe," Peggy says. "This technique helps you to lengthen your torso as you reach your ribs away from your hip bones."

Peggy says to keep your chin parallel to the ground and the back of the head over your upper back.

"The added benefit of standing in perfect alignment is that you're strengthening your core muscles of the abs and back, without doing one sit-up," says Peggy. "The position also help you to feel more energetic, more optimistic and more productive, in part because your lungs can open and fill, bringing oxygen to the entire body."

Peggy advises to maintain this position even when you're sitting; shoulders stay down and back lined up over hips. Chin stays parallel to the floor, never jutting up.

"Yoga is one of the very best ways to work on your perfect posture," says Peggy.

Try out her free yoga stretches at

Copyright 2012 America Now. All rights reserved.

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