One Simple Exercise to Improve Posture and Relieve Back Pain


As the human race moves more and more towards jobs that involve sitting and staring at computer screens for long periods of time, back pain and problems with posture have been on the rise.  Proper posture is important and three big reasons why include:

  • Without proper posture, you are at greater risk for back pain, slipped discs, tightness in the chest region, and weak blood circulation.
  • Practicing correct posture will greatly decrease back, shoulder, and neck pain.
  • It has been shown that proper posture helps reduce stress hormones, and improve digestion, breathing, mental clarity, and overall image.

Fortunately, we have been studying and creating new ways to help improve and correct our posture.  This posture in particular comes from yoga; it’s simple and effective, making it one of the best exercises you can do to help your back muscles.  It is called “lying back extension”, or in yoga, “locust pose.”

Remember when practicing this pose that you should only be extending your body to limits that are within a margin of comfort.  If this pose is too intense or seems like you might hurt yourself doing it, then trying a modified version might be beneficial.

Five steps:

  • With your legs hip-width apart, extend them straight behind you and press your weight evenly across the tops of both feet
  • Lie face down on your stomach with your forehead touching the floor
  • Start to lift your head up, followed by the rest of your upper body, as high as you can comfortably
  • Inhale and raise your head to look straight forward.  Upon exhaling, lift your chest and arms, with your arms along the side of your body with your palms facing down.  Lift your upper spine and reach your arms back toward your feet
  • Keeping your upper body fully extended upward from the previous steps, use your thigh muscles to lift your legs up toward the ceiling, with your weight resting on your lower ribs, belly, and pelvis

You can hold this pose for anywhere from 10 seconds to one minute depending on your ability.  It’s recommended to repeat this pose five to ten times per session.  As with any yoga pose, the focus should be on where you currently are, not where you think you should be, meaning that you should start off gradually and work up to increased hold times and repetitions.  This pose will strengthen your back, core, and leg muscles, all of which help improve your posture.