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Health & Fitness

A yoga stretch for better posture

Many yoga poses help improve posture if practiced on a regular basis. This move stretches the muscles in the front of the body, which usually are tighter than the muscles in the back of the body. An imbalance in muscular flexibility may contribute to hunched backs and slouched shoulders. If you're not familiar with this exercise, stick with the bent-leg variation to give your body time to adjust safely.

-- Karen Voight

Step 1 Sit on the floor with your knees bent, hip-width apart, feet flat. Place your palms behind you, close to your hips, fingers pointing forward. Inhale and lift your hips until your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Press firmly into your hands and feet and continue to lift your torso as high as possible. Point your tailbone toward the backs of your knees. If your neck is sensitive, be sure to keep your chin down and look forward. Hold and breathe deeply for three to five breaths.

Step 2 Once you're comfortable with the bent-leg version, try the straight-leg variation. Begin by sitting on the floor with your legs slightly extended in front of you, hip-width apart, feet flat. Place your palms behind you, close to your hips, fingers pointing forward. On an inhale, lift your hips until your body forms a straight diagonal line from your shoulders to your feet. Straighten your legs as much as possible with your feet flat on the floor. Draw in your abdominals and slightly tuck your tailbone in toward your body. If your neck is sensitive, be sure to keep your chin down and look forward. Hold and breathe deeply for three to five breaths.

Karen Voight can be reached at kvoightla@aol.com.

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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