Clavicle up!

Want to know one simple tip to improve your posture right away? Lift your clavicle! We turned to celebrity yoga instructor Kirschen Katz for some advice

Yoga is great for your health and wellbeing…and for your posture. But in our busy dayto-day lives it can be all too easy to forget all the great things we picked up in our class the night before, especially when we’re stressed in the office or standing in line at the grocery store. So are there any great, simple tips that we can hold with us that will allow us to carry ourselves better during the day?

Kirschen Katz is one of Hollywood’s best-known yoga instructors who knows a thing or two about good posture. Seeing images of some of the movie world’s top stars strolling about with a yoga mat under their arm is now a familiar sight - and the chances are they’ve just come from a Kirschen Katz class. Her current celebrity client list includes the likes of Reese Witherspoon, Michelle Williams, Laura Dern; past clients include top A-listers like Julia Roberts and Isla Fisher. We asked her for some quick posture tips to help the nation stand taller.

“Great posture helps us breathe deeply and efficiently, which can extend our life span,” she tells OM. “Having our bones and joints in proper alignment allows the breath to travel effortlessly and fill our entire diaphragm, which draws us into a deeper state of relaxation. Also, excellent posture decreases wear and tear on our joints.”

There are plenty of other good reasons to think about your posture too. Great posture keeps our muscles from fatiguing and can positively affect our vitality and motivation, she adds. Having great posture helps build our self-esteem.

So, what’s the simplest trick for remembering to prioritise posture when you’re out and about, at work or shopping, or ferrying the kids around town?

“I often use daily mantras for myself and clients to inspire and motivate us, and my ‘great posture’ mantra is: Clavicle up! First of all, you must know where your clavicle is: it’s your collarbone. And by lifting it just slightly, you create a more neutral spine.  You’ll notice your shoulders naturally drop down, softening your trapezius. And an added benefit: it lengthens your neck and slightly drops your chin (excellent for your  Instagram photos!).”

Another way to prioritise posture, she adds, is simply becoming more conscious of how other people stand (static posture) and move (dynamic posture).

It’s a simple tip that’s subtly different from some of the other classic posture tips, like adopting army posture, to ‘stand tall’, with ‘shoulders back’.

“To me, ‘shoulders back’ is not a natural position and it doesn’t create a neutral spine; it does however, increase additional tension. It’s simply unsustainable. ‘Stand
tall’ is what my mother would yell at me as a little girl! It’s a good start, but add ‘clavicle up’, please!”

As well as being a long-time yoga instructor to the big stars, it’s a topic Katz knows all too well from her own background.

“I have naturally rounded shoulders (kyphosis) so I’ve had a lifetime training them to behave,” she adds.

But there’s another simple ingredient too that we all should aim to work toward: self-esteem.

“For me, when I see excellent posture, the person attached to this beautiful sight usually has tremendous self-esteem. This has always made an impression on me
and that is why I’m a stickler for proper posture for myself and clients. And most importantly, the better my posture has become, the deeper I breathe.”


Find out more about Kirschen Katz at: or find her on instagram: @KirschenYoga


Photo credit: Kirschen Katz

Om Magazine

First published in November 2009, OM Yoga magazine has become the most popular yoga title in the UK. Available from all major supermarkets, independents and newsstands across the UK. Also available on all digital platforms.