Do you feel an ache in your neck or back? Do you have a sharp pain between your shoulder blades? You may have bad posture, and the medicine cabinet isn’t the first place you should turn. Slouching can throw the whole body off its alignment because it forces the shoulders to move forward and can lead to back and even jaw pains. If the mechanics in your spine aren’t lining up correctly, it can push on your rib cage and place unnecessary pressure on your heart, lungs, and gastrointestinal system.

Sitting leaned over at your desk all day, lounging on a comfy couch, or craning your neck downward to look down into the light of your cell phone can curve the spine. Overworking a certain muscle group at the gym can also put your body off-kilter and into chronic pain. Yoga is an ancient practice that has been seen in many ways as a holistic approach to healing the body. Many of the strains and pulls throughout the musculature can be counteracted with daily yoga moves to stretch and correct the body.

1. Child’s Pose: Balasana

Stand on your knees with your arms overhead and palms facing each other. On the exhale slowly bend your body forward and bring your tailbone to your heels. Stretch your arms out in front of the mat and lower your forehead to the floor. Inhale and feel your spine pull into its rightful position.

2. Mountain Pose: Tadasana 

Stand tall with feet flat on the mat and arms hanging down on each side. Be aware of your tailbone and feel it tuck as you roll your shoulders back. When you lower your shoulder blades, you should feel your chest move forward and open, allowing you to reach full lung capacity. Bring your chin backward so your ears are even with the tops of your shoulders. This is the ultimate alignment pose. Set it straight and breathe.

3. Bridge Pose: Setu Bandha Sarvangasana

Lie flat on your back with your arms along the sides of your body, palms facing down. On the inhale, bend your knees and slowly lift your pelvis upward. Your shoulder blades should be placed firmly on the mat and keep your body at a 90-degree angle with the tops of your knees as the peak. Make sure your heels are shoulder length apart, and try to hold your ankles. Breathe. When you release the pose, imagine each vertebrate slowly lying down onto the mat one-by-one until each one aligns. It strengthens the muscles between your blades and around your spine, while allowing your breath to drag out steadily.

4. Standing Forward Bend: Uttanasana 

Stand straight with your feet flat on the ground. Slowly bend on the exhale, and let your torso fold over the front of your thighs and hang there. Grab each elbow with an opposite hand and hover folded arms above your head. Your spine will lengthen. Release your arms, lift your head, and flatten your back on an inhale. Exhale and fold back down.

5. Cobra Pose: Bhujangasana

Lie flat down on your chest and begin to slowly breathe. Keep palms flat on the mat shoulder width apart right above your head and slowly push your chest upward on the inhale. As you strengthen your arms, lift your neck and drive your face into the air. Try and feel your shoulders pull away from your ears while your pelvis and toes lay flat on the mat. This this an ideal pose for strengthening the spine and opening up the chest.

6. Hero Pose: Virasana

Sit on your heels with your knees bent. Sit up straight and let the top of your head reach tall. Pull your chest up toward the sky on the inhale, and as you release the air from your lungs feel your spine stand straight and erect. Rest your forearms on the tops of your thighs without arm flexing. If you have problems with your knees, this may not be the pose for you.

7. Locust Pose: Salabhasana

Lie flat down on your chest with arms straight in front of you in a superman pose. Lift your legs and arms off the mat while keeping your pelvis in place. Picture an imaginary line for your head, arms, and feet to align along. Extend the tips of your fingers forward and your toes outstretched in the opposite direction. A soft and gradual pull along your spine should help with strengthening the muscles surrounding each vertebrate.

8. Sphinx Pose: Salamba Bhujangasana

Lie flat on your stomach with your tailbone tucked beneath and lengthen toward your heels. Place your forearms flat, and lift your shoulders up. Make sure your spine is aligned with your neck, while your face stares straight ahead. Picture how the Egyptian sphinx is posed in its statuesque perfection. This pose is designed to stretch and lengthen the spine but also opens up the chest, lungs, shoulders, and abdomen. It relieves stress and eases the mind during the breathing hold.