By Sage Rountree
Good posture is a lifelong project. We are born with the ability to stand beautifully (of course, our back curves haven’t fully formed), then lose it somewhere along the way. As Mama said, though, you should stand up straight so people will take you seriously. And standing straight will help you stay efficient in your sports of choice, too, preventing the late-race hunching that’s all too common.
Locust pose will help strengthen the muscles of your back so you can exhibit exemplary posture. It will also help stabilize your shoulders, so you can better generate force as you swim and keep your chest open as you bike and run. Add it to your existing core routine a few times each week.
From your belly, reach both your arms and your legs backward. Imagine someone’s lightly pulling on your toes and fingers. Your shoulder blades should slide low down your back, your chest should lift a little, and your neck should be relaxed.
Practice first lifting on inhale and lowering on exhale, then holding for a number of breaths. Don’t be surprised to find this is much harder than it looks. Rest and repeat for three to five sets of three to ten breaths each. And stand up straight!
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Sage Rountree, PhD, is Runner’s World’s expert on yoga for athletes and is the author of numerous books and articles on yoga and triathlon training. A USAT-certified coach, she is co-owner of the Carrboro Yoga Company (mycyco.com), which will hold a yoga teacher training beginning September 2011. Find her class, clinic, and workshop schedule, as well as many yoga and training resources, at sagerountree.com.