Contributor: Certified yoga instructor Patti Kopasakis, PT, DPT, SCS, RYT-200
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Proper posture is an important element of daily health that often is overlooked. Since many of us spend time sitting at a desk, driving, or even looking at our phones throughout the day, it’s important to reverse the prolonged forward postures that we constantly hold. These yoga poses help to address mobility of the mid-back region, as well as develop strength in the abdominals and upper back muscles, which are essential for maintaining proper posture.
Try these poses, holding each for two to three breaths. On the one-sided poses, be sure to repeat on the other side!
Note: Poses should be entered into and moved out of slowly to protect muscles and joints. If you are having specific pain that has been ongoing for longer than two weeks or you have a specific injury, it is always best to consult a qualified health care provider, such as a physical therapist, who can develop a plan specific to your needs.
Extended Mountain Pose
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
- Pull your shoulder blades together and down toward your back pockets, keeping your palms facing forward.
- Pull belly muscles and low ribs inward and drop your tailbone toward the ground.
- Lift your arms straight up overhead and tilt your head back to look at your hands.
Crescent Lunge with W Arms
- From a standing position, place one leg behind you and bend your other leg. Make sure the knee on the bent leg lines up with your ankle.
- Keep your belly muscles pulled in, and keep your heel lifted and knee straight on the back leg.
- Lift your arms to a 90 degree angle, pulling your shoulder blades together and positioning your elbows slightly behind your body to open the chest.
- Option: For easier balancing, place your back knee on the mat.
- Lower down onto your hands and knees.
- Stack your wrists under your shoulders with fingers spread wide and stack your knees under your hips.
- Inhale and drop your belly button toward the mat as you look up.
- Exhale and press your hands into the mat, rounding your upper back and drawing your belly button inward.
- Begin by lying down, with knees bent and heels toward your buttock.
- Press your heels into the mat and keep buttocks and belly muscles engaged as you lift your hips. If you feel pain in your lower back, lower your hips.
- Pull shoulder blades together under your upper back and clasp hands.
- Start by putting one leg behind, with your foot at a 45-degree angle and bending the other knee.
- Keep your front knee stacked over your ankle and gently push your knee outward.
- Keeping the top of your shoulders relaxed, clasp hands behind your back by first bringing your palms together, then straightening your elbows.