How to Improve Posture at Work: Take a Meditation Break!

January 08, 2019

Woman meditating at her desk
Renée Bacher

There are many ways to improve posture. If you find sitting, standing and walking tall a challenge, beginning a meditation practice can create an awareness around your posture that you can carry with you throughout the day. The benefits of meditation can go far beyond just the way you hold yourself. Read on to learn how to improve posture.

Ways To Get Your "Om" On

According to Healthline, there are primarily six popular types of meditation. These include:

  1. Mindfulness Meditation: Rooted in Buddhism, you observe thoughts as they move through your mind.
  2. Spiritual Meditation: Reflects on silence as a way to connect with a higher power.
  3. Focused Meditation: Concentration that invokes any of the five senses, like focusing on the breath coming in and out of your body. Continually bring your thoughts back to it each time you find yourself distracted.
  4. Movement Meditation: Involves gentle motion, such as walking in silence, easy yoga or raking your yard.
  5. Mantra Meditation: A practice that uses a sound like "om" that is repeated quietly or out loud to clear the mind.
  6. Transcendental Meditation: A popular practice widely studied by scientists where a guide gives you your own personal mantra to use throughout your life.

How Does Meditation Work?

The goal of all these forms of meditation is to create awareness of the present moment. How can a primarily mental exercise have a physical impact on your body?

Creating present moment awareness can include placing your attention on sitting or standing tall with your shoulders back and respecting the natural curve of your spine. It can involve taking direction during a guided meditation, during which you may be asked to imagine your spine growing into the ground beneath your sit bones and coming out the top of your head, tugging you upright so your breath can circulate unimpeded in your body. Sitting like this is good posture at its best.

One study showed short term meditation training can improve attention and self-control. In other words, rather than continuing to sit, stand and walk around with poor posture, one of the benefits of meditation may be to help you maintain your attention on the goal of learning how to improve posture and give you the self-control to sit upright when you may otherwise slump without even thinking about it. Other studies show that meditation can help alleviate anxiety, depression and even help a person to re-frame and lessen their perception of pain. All of these things can affect good posture.

What's the Simplest Way To Start?

Try finding a quiet place in your home and set a timer for just five minutes. Sit on the sofa with your back straight, lower back supported by a small pillow, shoulders back, feet resting gently on the floor, neck elongated and chin parallel to the floor. Close your eyes, or soften your gaze, and stare straight ahead while you focus on the way the breath feels coming in and out of your nose. Is it cold or warm? Is it dry or moist? Where does the breath expand your body as you feel it moving through?

Every time you feel your mind wander, bring it back to the breath. When the timer goes off, you're finished. See if you can expand your meditation practice to 25 minutes per sitting over time.

You can also meditate this at your standing desk, taking five minutes to place your legs hip width apart, feet forward and parallel to each other, shoulders back, neck elongated and chin parallel to the floor and do the same.

How Long Can Meditation Take To Improve My Posture?

Results can vary widely when it comes to the benefits of meditation and learning how to improve posture. The short-term meditation study mentioned above improved attention and self-control in just five days. Another study found that doing mindfulness meditation for just 25 minutes a day for three days in a row can lower stress. And those who aren't quite so stressed may be more free to stand up straight without the weight of the world on their shoulders.

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