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Straighten Up!

Whether the goal is to sweat, sit still, or get kneaded like a loaf of bread, a better-spine session is around the corner.

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Students practice sling-work with Alison West at Yoga Union.  

Private Alexander Technique with Joan Arnold
Especially popular among actors and singers, this technique is based on the premise that once neck strain is relieved, the head can balance lightly over the spine, improving overall posture. Arnold, who’s been teaching for 26 years, starts by gently pulling arms and legs to loosen joint tension, while the student lies on a worktable, before guiding them through slow, isolated movements (like bending over to pick up a pen). $135 per session. (1 Union Sq. W., at 14th St., No. 708; 917-699-0239.)

Alignment and Posture with Alison West at Yoga Union
It’s a misconception that all yoga classes are good for your posture. West is trained in Iyengar yoga, which prioritizes correct posture with the aid of ropes, straps, and blocks. She has hawk’s eyes on each student and focuses on the standing poses. Classes are meant for somewhat-experienced yogis. $24 per session. (37 W. 28th St., nr. Broadway; 212-510-7404.)

Get Back in Shape with Marjorie Jaffe
In Jaffe’s patented Muscle Memory class, she acts out a series of ten questions meant to train the body into better posture. (“Is the back of your head in the same line as your upper back?” “Are your knees locked?”) Class starts on the floor with back and chest stretches and ends with standing free weights. Popular with the 50- and 60-year-old set. $20 per session. (105 W. 55th St., nr. Sixth Ave.; 212-245-9131.)

Basics Class at the Feldenkrais Institute
The Feldenkrais Method is similar to the Alexander Technique, in that it involves gentle hands-on private sessions. But to complement these sessions, there are also group Feldenkrais classes that take place entirely on the floor. And while Alexander teaches conscious correction of bad habits, Feldenkrais attempts to instill subconscious correction through slow and steady repetition of minute movements. $25 per session.(134 W. 26th St., nr. Sixth Ave.; 212-727-1014.)

Rolfing NYC with Beth Franzese
Franzese says that clients leave feeling taller than when they came in (one nickname for the technique is “instant yoga”). Rolfees subject their bodies to 60 minutes of deep-tissue kneading, much more harsh than a massage, focused on alleviating tightness and muscle strain that might be knocking the spine off kilter. $180 per session. (280 Madison Ave., at 40th St.; 212-213-0820.)

Movement Invention Lab at Gallim Dance with Andrea Miller
This monthly class improves balance and posture fluidly, rather than through isolated movements. Gallim director Miller keeps no mirrors in her studio as a rule, to encourage sensitivity to the way the body feels instead of how it looks. She uses neck rolls to activate weaker oblique, back, and stomach muscles. $17 per session. (520 Clinton Ave., nr. Fulton St., Ft. Greene; 718-622-2165.)

Perfect Posture Pilates
In contrast to feel-the-burn Pilates, these private sessions are slow-paced and take place mostly on the Cadillac: that all-in-one machine with bands, bars, and springs for assisted stretching and strength training. In addition to bridges and leg lifts, instructor Varvara Kalinin nudges seated students into safer neck-and-shoulder alignment. $85 per session. (34-19 29th St., Astoria; 310-413-2293.)

Get Up N Get Fit Personal Training
Thomas Johnson is certified by the National Posture Institute, which specializes in correcting posture for gym rats. Before his clients earn the privilege to bench press or lift, they must perfect the motion of lifting an imaginary bar or dumbbell with tall, safe posture. $100 per session. (22 W. 19th St., nr. Fifth Ave.; 347-292-9158.)

Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization (DNS) Session
Despite the clinical-sounding name, DNS is for anyone seeking posture improvement. It’s based on the premise that humans establish ideal posture as babies, while learning to stand and walk. Therapists assist patients one-on-one on the mat, urging them into infantlike positions to reactivate their early instincts. $250 per session, some insurance accepted. (130 W. 42nd St., nr. Sixth Ave.; 866-311-5889; nydnrehab.com.)

Beginner Horton Technique at Ailey Extension
This 90-minute class, set to live drums, is the brainchild of the late Lester Horton, Alvin Ailey’s mentor. Horton was all about the straight back, which students master through the lateral hinge—the move that takes a dancer gracefully from standing to kneeling with the back ramrod straight and tilted backward. $19 per session. (405 W. 55th St., nr. Columbus Ave.; 212-405-9500.)

Awaken at Revolution in Motion
Eight students, tops, lie on physio-balls and grip rubber bells filled with water. As the body shifts on the ball and arms move to keep up with the weight of the bells, the nervous system kicks into high gear—prepping the body to internalize correct technique. Meanwhile, a slant board encourages stable feet, hollowed abs, and a lifted torso—keys to standing up taller. $25 per session. (29 W. 36th St., nr. Fifth Ave., No. 10; 212-564-0500.)


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