Take a quick look at this person looking at his phone….maybe you notice his rounded shoulders and his head hanging forward. Some people might just call this poor posture, but this has actually been named Forward Head Syndrome or Forward Head Posture.
To have proper alignment, your head should sit up straight, in line with your hips – Like this woman –>
According to the Laser Spine Institute, you have forward head posture if your head and neck reach out past your shoulders. For each inch your head is past your shoulders, it feels 10 pounds heavier to your neck muscles, causing strained neck muscles, nerve pain, back problems, and jaw problems. This also affects your ability to breathe deeply and easily.
Hunching over your phone or computer, driving hunched over, and leaning over to do dishes are all activities that can contribute to forward head posture.
With that being said, notice how you are sitting as you read this article.
Are YOUR shoulders hunched over?
Is YOUR head tilting forward?
Is YOUR breath shallow?
If the answers to these questions is yes, then please read on!
If not, then please try the modification at the end of this article. You might be surprised what you feel!
So, the sooner that you begin taking action to reverse the effects of forward head posture, the better. The good news is that this is QUICK and EASY! Set some different alarms throughout your day to remind yourself to get up and practice this pose with awareness.
Mountain Pose (aka Tadasana in Sanskrit)
You can see in the picture how the mountain base connects to the earth and the rest of the mountain seems to reach up towards the sky.
Energetically, mountain pose aims to connect you to the earth and to the sky. This pose can help you feel centered and and give you a chance to connect to your body as well.
To Practice Mountain Pose:
Stand with your feet hips distance apart. (If you’re not quite sure what this looks like, make fists with your hands, and they should both fit between your feet.) Make sure that your middle toes are pointing forward.
Try lifting your toes off the ground and feeling the 4 corners of your feet touching the floor. The 4 corners are right under your big toes, right under your pinky toes, and on both sides of your heel.
Maybe sway a little side to side and front to back to find where your body is centered. This will feel like an even distribution of weight on all 4 corners. Once you find your center, come to stillness.
Start to work your way up your body from your feet and see if you can engage your muscles just enough to feel them tighten a little bit.
(It’s important that you only engage a LITTLE bit! Please don’t clench your whole body where it becomes painful!)
- Calf Muscles
- Gently pull your belly button back towards your spine
- Relax your shoulders and let your shoulder blades come closer together on your back.
- Keep your chin parallel with the ground and imagine a string attached to the crown of your head, pulling your body up straight & tall.
Soften your face – maybe allowing your eyes to close, feeling your forehead relax, and let your jaw hang loose. If you feel any other tension, see if you can release it on an exhale.
Stay here for 5 full breaths, focusing on how your body feels and how your breath is moving through your body.
When you are finished, give your whole body a little shake!
Mountain Pose Modification
Another way to try Mountain Pose is to use a wall. Stand with your back body against the wall and notice what parts of you naturally touch the wall. Then, move through all the same steps listed above and feel the difference as you begin to straighten up.
So now that you can assess your own level of forward head posture, see if you can improve your posture by practicing Mountain Pose (Tadasana) several times a day.
Let me know in the comments what your experience was like trying this pose and I’d love to hear about your progress!