Basic Yoga for a Stronger Spine

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Yoga instructor, Salimah Kassim-Lakha, shares simple moves for strengthening your spine. Your spine protects your spinal cord, supports your body weight, pivots your head and attaches muscle to bone. The curves in your spine allow for shock absorption, balance and flexibility. Lower back pain is one of the most common health complaints among adults. The best way to avoid problems is to do preventive exercises.

This series of exercises works from the base of the spine to the top. All 26 vertebrae receive stimulation and the muscles are stretched out. Having a strong, flexible spine is the key to strong nerves, mental clarity and keeping your movements fluid.

In yoga, the alignment of the spine helps energy flow through the body.

Sufi Grinds - Rotate the Pelvis

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Sit in easy pose. Place the hands on the knees. Deeply roll the pelvis around in a grinding motion. 

This exercise starts opening up the energy in the lower spine an aids in digestion.

Spinal Flex

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Sit in easy pose and grab the ankles. Inhale, flex the spine forward, keeping the shoulders relaxed and the head straight. Exhale and relax the spine back. Continue rhythmically with deep breaths for 15 seconds. 

This exercise stimulates and stretches the lower spine.

Spinal Twists

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Sit on the heels, place the hands on the shoulders, fingers in front and thumbs in back.  Inhale, twist to the left, and exhale, twist to the right. Twist your head to each side as well. 
 
This exercise increases the rotation of the spine and opens the heart centre.

Shoulder Shrugs

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Sit on the heels or in easy pose, shrug both shoulders up with the inhale and down with the exhale. 

This exercise loosens up the tension in the shoulders.

Neck Rolls

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Roll the neck slowly in one direction and then in the other. 

Cat and Cow

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On hands and knees - inhale, look up, drop the belly down. Exhale and roll the spine up like a cat and look toward the knees. 

Tree Pose 

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Standing position - feet slightly apart - lift the foot up and place against the ankle, shin or upper thigh. Palms together at the chest and then lift above head for greater challenge.  Switch sides.

Archer Pose

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Stand with your left foot pointing to the left and the right foot pointing forward. Extend your left arm out and position your right arm as if you are holding a bow. Hold the position.

 

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