Studies have proven that back pain which is the by-product of a weak spine, is known to be the leading cause around the world affecting people across all age groups ranging from children to the elderly. It is important to take care of your spinal health and make it a vital part of your fitness regime.
In the 21st century, especially post-pandemic, the work from home culture has us glued to our workstation for more than ever and most of us are leading a sedentary lifestyle without even realizing it! Stress, tension, work pressure, one or more of these words definitely feature in an average person’s description of his everyday life. And these are good enough reasons for anybody to face various health challenges that are related to the spine.
So here are a few yoga poses you can practice to maintain a healthy spine!
Spinal health is an important component of overall health. Healthier the spine, the healthier the entire physiological systems. Maintaining natural curvature and the suppleness of the spine should be part of your everyday exercise routine, and yoga asanas do this very effectively.
There are 5 spinal movements which we need to practice in every yoga asana class to take care of the spine and today in this video i am going to show you two asanas for each spine movement, let's get started.
The first spinal movement is lengthening of the spine, we will do Uthkatasana. For that, be in the center of the mat, feet slightly apart for the comfort of your back, rolling shoulders back and down, from here bending from the hip, as you inhale; bending your knees reach your arms up. First thing make sure you're not crossing your toes with your knees, move your knees back. Once you're here, start to extend arms to the ceiling to give you that good length, not shrugging your shoulders, you can stay little forward, focus on the lengthening of the spine not focusing on the back bend. Tuck your navel gently in, to create that more length in your spine look forward for a long neck. Once you're here- inhale coming up, as you exhale release your hands.
Now we will look at one of the popular asanas, also very effective to work on lengthening of the spine,Adho Mukha Svanasana also called Parvatasana, downward facing dog or mountain. For that get to the front of the mat, place your palms down, step back one leg at a time, palm separated shoulder width apart, feet separated hip width apart. Once you're here to know how far to step back simply move your shoulders forward check your plank, lift your hips up and walk your feet slightly forward, feet separated hip width apart. Here important things, palms firm, feet firm, once you're here, as you inhale, move your hips back, abdomen moving towards your thighs, keep pressing your heels down, lift your hip up, do not try to over exaggerate the arch in the upper back which is very common because we are flexible at the upper back. Try to keep your navel in, create the length rather than the more moment in the chest. If you're comfortable here, you can press your heels down, lift your toes up, keep lifting your hip, long neck looking at the back between your legs. If this is challenging to press your heels down, feel free to bend knees and lift your heels up but work on that lengthening of the spine. Even with the back conditions you can choose this variation. Once you hold here for few breaths, breathe in and breathe out, you can simply step forward one leg at a time and come up. So that was Adho mukha svanasana also called Parvatasana. And always start with lengthening of the spine movement among the all the other spinal movements.
The next movement is forward bend. Forward bend of the spine also involves the hip movement, hip bending to the front creates a forward bend of the spine. We will look at Pada Hastasana, for that get to the center of the mat, feet separated hip width apart, hands on the hip, first inhale, create that good length as i said exhale moving the spine forward by bending at the hip, once you're here, we are going to work on creating the length of the spine. Also first extend hands to the front, give as length as possible, for that you are not transferring the weight onto the hands, you are going to move your hips back, but hands forward to create that opposite length. Once you're here, maintain that length, you have two options, if you're comfortable bending all the way forward; gripping your big toe with the three finger grips, index finger, thumb and middle finger, and you inhale lengthen the spine, as you exhale, bend your elbows to the side, bending from the hip, bending forward. Look at the back between your legs. This is one option, if this is challenging, you can also grip on to the ankles, firm grip, four fingers and the thumb- inhale; head up, chest up. As you exhale; grip onto the ankles, bend forward, look at the back. Now you create a forward bend of the spine, but make sure you bend from the hip rather than bending too much from the spine. That means abdomen comes close to the thighs, chest to the knees, crown of the head reaching down looking at the back, once you're here for few breaths, inhale; head up, chest up, lengthen again, exhale with the knees bent, hands on the hip, come up with control back to standing position. That was Pada Hastasana, you have seen right- to create a forward bend of the spine, you need bend at the hip.
Now we will look at another posture Janu Sirsasana, for that we will have to sit down on the floor, first start with sitting on the floor with the legs stretched out to the front, now gripping onto the right ankle, draw the heel all the way to the perineum, knee drop to the side completely, toe slightly tugged under the thigh and knee slightly angled, so that your hip and chest facing forward, left leg is in the center, once you're here; bending from the hip, again, inhale- lengthen, as you exhale-bend forward, reach for the foot, holding on to the foot from sides, if that's too challenging, you have an option of holding the ankle, once you're here- again bending, before bending; lengthening of the spine, inhale; lengthen the spine, as you exhale; bend from the hip, that means stomach to the thigh, chest to the knee, chin to the shin, look forward. If you are comfortable, bringing your chin to the shin, stay there for a few breaths. You are gripping the foot to create that good length to bend forward, once you're here, for few breaths; inhale, first lengthen release the length of the spine. Exhale, stay here, and inhale, come back to the centre. We'll do on the other side, straightening your right leg now, fold the left leg, heel all the way close to the perineum, toes tugged under the thigh, knee slightly angled, hip and chest to the front, inhale; lengthen the spine, exhale; bending from the hip gripping onto the foot, inhale; lengthen head up, chest up, exhale; bend your elbows to move forward before you bend forward, then elbows off the floor to give you that space to move forward, once you're here for few breaths, inhale; head up, chest up, lengthen, exhale; stay there and come up. Inhale and exhale, you can let go of the legs, relax for few breaths, feet relaxed, hands at the back.
The next final moment is a lateral bend. So we will start from the same position, so fold the right leg, open the knee out for Parivritta Janu Sirsasana. So open the knee, you're facing the side of the mat, and keep your left leg active. So you have two options again here, you are able to bend to the left side gripping onto the foot well and good to open the chest, if that's too challenging you can simply hold on to the knee, open the chest to the side to create that small twist before you bend, inhale; extend your right arm to the ceiling, bend exactly lateral way- not bending forward or back, exhale; bending towards your left side, left leg is active and that gripping the right knee is very firm, open the chest, look up. Once you're here for few breaths, inhale; come back to center, exhale; down, here try not to go too much low in order to create that deep bend rather create a more good lateral bend. We will change onto the other side. Fold your left leg, extend the right leg out, keep your hip and heel in one line and opening the knee gripping onto the knee or the foot, this way even if you have the foot grip, open the chest inhale; extend the arm, exhale; and over here in order to go down, we tend to bend forward, avoid that, make sure you're in line with the foot and the leg. Open the chest, after few breaths- inhale; come back to center, exhale; release your hands, now you can straighten your legs out, feet apart, hands away relax for few breaths.
Now we will do another lateral bend posture, which is Trikonasana, for that you'll have to come to a standing position. For Trikonasana separate your feet slightly wider than hip width apart, not too wide, like medium and hands on the hip, toes pointing forward, check heels in one line. Once you are here, extend your left arm to the ceiling, give a good length, Inhale. As you exhale; use that right hand grip on the hip, to move the hip to the side so that you can bend to the right side and that right elbow pointing down and open the chest, left hand moving away to give a good lateral bend and active legs, not bending, legs straight, inhale here, exhale; not bending forward to go down more make sure you're exactly in the side bend, that means your upper body and legs in the one single line. After you finish few breaths, inhale; come back to center, exhale; hand on the hip. We'll do on the other side. Inhale; extend the arm to the ceiling, as you exhale; bend to the side, you can also bend the elbow to create that deeper bend, you don't have to straighten and then give that deeper stretch, bend the elbow, keep it very soft and work on opening up your rib cage more to bend to the side, look up and using that left hand to move the hip to the side for a better lateral bend. Once you're here for few breaths, inhale; come back to center exhale; release your hands get your feet closer. That was the third spinal moment in this five spinal bends, make sure you include these five spinal movements, whenever you practice any yoga asanas along with these five spinal movements, avoid improper postures while sitting, driving to make sure good spinal health, take care of your spine, spine will take care of your health.
Keep practicing, see you around, thank you.
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