There is no better way to start off my blog then with a series on yoga for spine health. I say this because my own journey into yoga started with back troubles. Even today I maintain an equilibrium with an unspecific but much speculated on back issue because of yoga. Many Americans suffer from spine problems likely because an increase in office or service oriented jobs. Regardless of your nationality or occupation if you have problems with your back or you just want a few poses to strengthen your spine these three poses can really help.
Start in mountain pose, standing w/ feet shoulder width apart and your toes pointed forward. Tuck your pelvis under slightly and roll your shoulders up and back head up. Reach your arms into the air bend back breathing in deep. Fold forward breathing out and bending your knees. Let your hands rest lightly on the floor and your chest rest on your thighs. Hold this pose for 3 -5 breaths then come back up. Repeat 3 -5 times.
This pose will help you to wake up your spine and release tension in the lower lumbar region. Let your head hang and draw circles in the air with your nose to release the upper cervical spine.
Start seated on the floor with your back straight and your knees bent with your feet flat on the ground. Grab the backs of your knees and roll back until you feel the flat of your back engage the floor. This might already be challenging, if so this is your pose. If you want more, lift your feet off the ground, legs still bent and if you still want more release your knees bringing your arms to the sides with your hands palm up. Hold this for 3 -5 breaths. Repeat 3 times.
This pose will strengthen the abs and back muscles helping to support your spine.
Cat & Cow
Come to all fours on the ground with your legs bent. Make sure your back is flat and your pelvis is tucked under with your neck at neutral. Now release your spine down letting your belly arch to the floor and bring your head up looking at the ceiling. Slowly bring the spine back to neutral then up arching the back to the ceiling and your head down looking to the floor. Each movement is a breath in and then the next a breath out. Continue this at least 3 times.
This pose will help release your spine, lubricate between the vertebrae and increase flexibility throughout. It’s really great right after you wake up and can be done as many times as is comfortable for you. If you have a compressed disk skip cow and just go from neutral to cat.
Also, be sure to check out the Youtube video I made on this series.
Stay tuned for more poses to help your spine health as we get into back bends and twists.
*Remember to listen to your body, if you feel a sharp pain pull back on the pose or stop it all together. You should feel a deep stretch or discomfort in a pose but never persisting pain. If the next day you have pain not associated with muscle building (i.e. your lower back aches after doing back bends) refrain from doing those poses. If in doubt don’t do it and consult your doctor.