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Better Posture Means Better Health, Studies Say (Tada!sana)

in Thanks for the tip, YD News

Bad postureHey tadasana slackers, listen up! Better posture can help make you happier and keep you healthier, studies show. Here’s some news that may have you thinking twice about slumping in your mountain pose. Maybe you already know?

We have this yoga teacher who spends what seems like an eternity in class helping students stand in their best version of tadasana. You know how some people make it their life’s mission to climb Mount Everest? It’s like she’s made it her mission to turn us all into Everests. Sure it’s just standing there, but what we do in our tadasana could have a much deeper impact on the peaks and valleys of our every day lives. It’s safe to say a lot of us tend to lose the altitude once we leave yoga class, resembling more of a medium meh hill than a tall mountain, but here’s why we probably shouldn’t.

BKS Iyengar in Tadasana

We don’t need to lecture you about posture. We’ve already done it (Posture Matters: Stand Up For Yourself!) But this Daily Mail UK article was a healthy reminder that standing up straight isn’t just some annoying thing your parents told you should do because they’re old and just want to ruin your teenaged life. No, good posture will help you with real life things from good moods to good movements (in the bathroom, sorry Elaine Benes prodigies) to good sex.

Poor posture, however can cause problems like triggering blood pressure highs and lows, due to neck muscle pressure or damage, neuroscientists at the University of Leeds found in a 2007 study.

…when cells in the neck muscles sense the neck is moving, they send a signal to that area of the brain.

The theory is that this helps ensure adequate blood supply when we change posture, for example from sitting to standing.

But if the neck muscle cells become damaged or pressured through stooping and slumping, this could trigger problems with blood pressure, suggests Professor Jim Deuchars, the scientist who led the study.

Ladies, you might want to listen up for this part. Poor posture is partly to blame for bladder problems and can be the culprit for weak pelvic floor muscles.

Studies by physiotherapist Ruth Sapsford, at the University of Queensland, have shown that women with stress incontinence and who’ve suffered from a prolapse (when the pelvic organs drop out of position) have less curve in their lower spine than women without these conditions.

‘If you’re sitting in a slumped, C-shaped posture, there’s more weight bearing down on your bladder and pelvic floor muscles, which will weaken them over time and make you more likely to leak,’ explains Sammy Margo, of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy.

Besides better potty encounters, what else can you enjoy with stronger and healthier pelvic floor muscles? O, you know this one. Orgasms! We bet that got you all sitting up a little straighter. (more on pelvic floor stuff here)

Another study done last year at San Francisco State University found that slouchy students reported feeling more depressed and drained and that better posture helped boost mood and attitude – not a shocker, but a cheerful tidbit nonetheless.

Study leader Erik Peper, a professor of health education at the university, said sitting up straight sends a perky message to the brain: 

‘We tend to think the brain and body relationship goes one way. In fact, the passages go both ways.

‘When you choose to put your body in a different mode, it’s harder to drop into depression.’

So was this study done before or after the alcohol binging and energy drink pounding? Oh, those darned college kids. We digress.

A separate, but similar study found that students at Colorado College that had the best sitting posture felt more confident and actually scored significantly higher on tests. The difference here is that it only rang true with male students “possibly because men tend to determine how they feel according to internal cues, while women think more about how they look to others — for them an upright posture made them feel pressured and self-conscious,” which is just a sad and unfortunate reflection of society and something we will get into much more on our new site (coming soon).

What’s even more is that sitting and standing up straight can help prevent issues with heartburn, asthma, chronic fatigue, tense muscles, headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, bloaty belly and cranky-itis.

Tada! sana. Be the mountain.




5 comments… add one
  • Hal

    A Therapeutic Yoga teacher who took time to get me to stand correctly in Tadasana began my recovery process from serious spine injuries and pain. I understand the importance of correct posture especially but not limited to Asana practice. It ALL begins with correct Tadasana!

    • Hal

      Just wanted to add my gratitude to Therapeutic Yoga Teachers like Cathy Lilly who are diligent enough and skilled enough to teach the importance of foundation poses like Tadasana.

  • How exactly does having stronger & healthier pelvic floor muscles contribute to women’s orgasms? Anyone with more details on this?

  • Kay,
    Thanks for this insightful piece. I think most people who go through divorce expect to jump back within a set period of time. However, the truth is that most individuals deal with the pain and heartache much longer after the divorce is over. I think giving yourself a timeline that is open-ended is the way to go when it comes to divorce.

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