Good Posture – The Key to Looking Good and Feeling Good

Good Posture – The Key to Looking Good and Feeling Good

Poor posture could damage kids. Yes, that’s right. This is very well be the statement that sends chills down a parent’s spine!

A horrifying US statistics found that most of teenage spines were deformed and the main culprit has been identified as none other than the unfortunate choice of a sedentary lifestyle dated back to the years during growth spurts. Most children are found to have bad sitting postures – head sinking heavily on the shoulders, and shoulders slumped forward causing the ribs to press into their lungs.

Our very own lifestyle contributes heavily to poor posture – the long hours spent in front of the computers, the marathon TV programmes that glued us to the couch, the comfort of the soft couch that sinks in with weight, etc. All these are partners in crime when it comes to poor posture. Good posture, primarily during growth and development stages, keeps our bones and joints in correct alignment and healthy formation. Thus prevents abnormal musculoskeletal wear and tear. It’s a great way of keeping our spine from becoming fixed with an abnormal bone growth which subsequently needs a lot of effort (not to mention, agony!) to reverse.

Collective and prolonged poor posturing puts a lot of strain in our bodies. The natural curves of the spine are compromised and in turn demand a lot of work by the muscles that surround it to ‘hold up’ the inefficient posture and to facilitate movements. Internal organs are compressed and not allowed the space they should have to function optimally. These strains are not normal for our bodies. The answer to putting the least amount of strain on our bodies is to adopt a good posture.

What do we need to do to give our children the gift of good posture? (By the way, nagging is NOT a gift!)


Allow our babies time to develop the usage of their bodies naturally. Babies develop neck control and lower back strength progressively – they turn and lift their head, roll over, sit up, get on all fours, crawl, and subsequently walk. Each stage is important for muscle coordination and development. If we pamper our babies with the constant use of bouncers or walkers which could unknowingly inhibit the use of muscles, some muscle groups may not develop as strongly as they should.


This is the red-alert stage as poor posture usually begins here and later turns into an irreversible pattern. At this stage, poor postures are evident but being young, their posture hasn’t yet caused them any damaging problems. Let’s look at one of the major contributor to poor posture – children’s school bags. Let’s face it. Heavy school bags have always been an issue so let’s make the best out of it! Be sure to check that the bag is not too heavy. Ideally, it should not weigh more than 10% of your child’s body weight. Be sure to have your child using both straps (padded straps preferred) with each strap distributing the school bag’s weight equally on both shoulders, and the bag should not hang below your child’s waist.

Tips on packing their bags:

Heavy objects should be packed first and placed on the inside (closer to the spine and pelvis) in order to take the weight off their shoulder region and to prevent the back from arching.


Teens slouch for various reasons, whether it’s laziness or because of embarrassment as their bodies change. It’s also undeniable that teens may spent long hours in front of computers and as a result, their posture may tend to be more hunched over. A hunched posture inhibits proper breathing which in turn reduces vitality, and puts strain on internal organs. If an extended sitting posture is necessary, then do so with a new awareness – stop every 45 minutes for a quick stretch (set a timer if you have to!)

Simple asanas for good postures:

Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)


  1. Lie down on your stomach and rest your forehead on the floor.
  2. Place your palms by the sides of your shoulders and your legs are together with ankles stretched.
  3. Breathe in and slowly lift your chest and head up.
  4. Press your hands down evenly with elbows slightly bended and placed close to the sides of your body.
  5. Relax your facial muscles and do natural breathing, up to the count of 3 while holding this position.
  6. Breath out while your lower your chest and head down to the floor again.

Repeat 3 times.

Option: The child can pretend to be a cobra by making a ‘hissing’ sound while he/she lifts his/her chest and head up.

Marjari Asana (Cat Pose)


  1. Come onto your fours. Line up your wrists under shoulders and knees under your hips.
  2. Assume natural breathing up to the count of 3 while holding this position.
  3. Breathe in while you arch your back down by dropping your stomach down toward the floor as you lift your chest and head up.
  4. Breathe out while you do the reverse – arch your back up so that it forms a hump as you lower your head down.
  5. Assume natural breathing up to the count of 3 while holding this position.

Repeat 3 times and relax with Shashankasana (Moon Pose)

This article was featured in YogaMail Oct-Dec 2012 issue.

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